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Ann Arbor organizations among partners for new Michigan caregiving initiative

‘We All Care’ initiative coming in January

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

ANN ARBOR – Members of the Ann Arbor community, including heads of nonprofits and businesses, are joining forces to support a first-of-its-kind caregiving initiative in Michigan.

Launching in January, the “We All Care” campaign will offer a series of workshops to help participating organizations understand the role that caregiving plays in the workplace, in their employees’ lives as well as within the broader community.

The initiative is supported by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Elderly Needs Fund.

The cohort of participating organizations and businesses includes:

  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • Southeastern Michigan Senior Regional Collaborative
  • Temple Beth Emeth
  • Zingerman’s
  • Newyago County
  • Hospice of Michigan

The group will work with the California-based nonprofit Atlas of Caregiving on the initiative, which will offer workshops titled “Mapping Ourselves: Personal Science to Strengthen Communities.”

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According to a press release:

“(The workshops) will provide participants with tools to visualize the support that takes place across relationships and environments in their lives. The sessions employ scientific methods to make visible the behaviors and connections that often go unspoken and unseen, helping participants better understand and value their own care ecosystems, their interconnectedness, and how they each contribute to community wellbeing.”

Program officer for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Tim Niyonsenga, praised the diverse makeup of organizations working together on the initiative.

“The real power of this project comes in its potential to reframe the conversation around caregiving, statewide,” Niyonsenga said in a statement. “Bringing together such a diverse group of organizations to demonstrate how many of us are caregivers and how we are all connected - that can be our first step on the path toward systemwide change in Michigan.”

A longtime leader on workforce-related issues, co-founder of Zingerman’s, Ari Weinzweig, said the initiative aligns with his company’s mission.

“The work of Atlas is very well aligned with what we do here at Zingerman’s to help create a positive, highly interconnected, and supportive organizational community that helps everyone here to do better,” Weinzweig said in a statement. “The tools give everyone who learns it ways to test, track, and measure how well they’re doing in creating those positive communities.”

Organizers hope “We All Care” will lead to statewide changes in policy and practice.

“I think we have a myopic understanding of care,” said Rabbi Josh Whinston of Ann Arbor’s Temple Beth Emeth in a statement. “Once we begin to see our web of care, I think it could change the way we function as a community. Maybe it can lead to greater happiness? Greater satisfaction? I am just fascinated by the idea.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.