Many Mackinac Center donors I’ve met are engineers by training, and most engineers think about projects and philanthropic investments similarly. One example is a Mackinac donor, Harold, who told me, “Before I invest in 20 of something, I want to build one of something and make sure it works.” Another example is Dick, who says, “I think about things in terms of solving giant problems. I want my investment to solve a giant problem.”
Two Mackinac Center leaders, Joe Lehman and the late Joe Overton, worked as engineers, so the Center has a history of thinking about solving giant, long-term, systematic problems. We start by building a proof of concept. Most donors will invest in a proof of concept but want to see its results before making substantially larger gifts.
The latest proof of concept donors tested with us was a combination of strategies we deployed in summer 2017 to reform the state’s school pension system. The key to the test was to stay on the offense, use several strategies and work with allies. Mackinac Center donors invested in strategies to get the right message to the right people at the right time. The proof of concept proved to be successful.
What do engineers do when the proof of concept works? They invest. That is what several donors did next. In fall 2017, several donors made what were, by far, their largest commitments so that the Mackinac Center can be on permanent offense for other policy priorities.
We had to be relentless to achieve pension reform, only succeeding on our third attempt. Thanks to the investments that you and others have made, we will be on offense, seeking to gain more ground for school choice and defending it when it is threatened. We’ll also continue to lower barriers for entry into the workforce for Michigan citizens. Our priorities on occupational licensure and criminal justice reform are part of that effort. Of course, all Michigan citizens still deserve their promised tax cut, as well.
We have also convened a coalition of partner organizations to light up the exits for government union members who will have a new right after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Mark Janus, expected this June. People around the country are depending on the Mackinac Center to help them execute the proof of concept developed with opt-out campaigns after Michigan’s right-to-work law went into effect in 2013.
Will you open a conversation with us about joining the effort to be on permanent offense for sound policy in Michigan and worker freedom across the USA? Call us at 989-631-0900 to learn more.