Nearly $1 million earmarked for education policy research

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announced today that it is the recipient of a nearly one million dollar grant from the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation. At a recent meeting of its board of trustees, the Midland-based charitable foundation awarded the Mackinac Center $967,500 for education policy programs over the next three years.

The Mackinac Center, headquartered in Midland, is a private, nonprofit educational and research institute with a staff of 30 full- and part-time employees. Its annual budget of $3 million is raised entirely through contributions from foundations, individuals and businesses. In its 16-year history, the Center has made education reform a top priority and has produced dozens of studies and commentaries on ideas for improving the quality of education in Michigan.

"We are grateful to the trustees of the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation for their generous support over the years. We share with the foundation the strong desire to strengthen Michigan’s educational system so that parents and children can enjoy an array of good options and teachers can thrive in a positive, rewarding environment."

Among the Center’s programs that the grant will support are a quarterly journal, Michigan Education Report, which is received by 135,000 individuals statewide; and an extensive schedule of research covering such timely issues as school governance, choice initiatives, performance measures, textbook quality, teacher training, and charter school operations.

"The Mackinac Center provides solid research and thought-provoking ideas that enrich the discussion about education reform. We are pleased to assist in its efforts," said Margaret Ann Riecker, president of the Foundation.

The Dow Foundation grant will be augmented by an additional, anonymous gift of $322,500 from another foundation, based on its pledge to match gifts for the Mackinac Center's education policy research on a 1-for-3 basis. That brings the total of new contributions from these two sources to nearly $1.3 million over the next three years.