Dear Michigan Saves partners,
In my letter to you in the 2020 annual report, I spoke of the resilience we saw in the face of racial inequity and the global pandemic. That same resilience helped propel us through an incredibly successful 2021. Our lenders stepped up to provide more accessible financing and contractors were busier than ever, helping 5,736 homeowners and 122 commercial property owners experience greater comfort and efficiency.
As I try to think of a word to describe how Michigan Saves approached 2021, “hopeful” comes to mind. At the start of the year, we were all so hopeful to return to some sort of normalcy—for a vaccine that worked and the reopening of the restaurants and businesses we all love.
We were also hopeful as we thoughtfully considered how we can use the systems we’ve built over the last 11 years to help our contractors remediate lead hazards in homes, which still deeply affect many in Michigan. In the fiscal year 2021 budget, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included $2 million for a lead fund loan loss reserve. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began their search for a lead fund administrator in May 2021 and selected Michigan Saves to guide the process. We started lead fund development on October 1, 2021, and it’s slated to launch during the second quarter of 2022. We’re excited to add the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund to our current programming and help residents safely remove lead from their homes.
Beyond the new lead program, we’re still growing in electrification. We believe the future is electric, and more Michiganders are hearing about electrification opportunities every day, so we created a residential electrification infographic to help assist homeowners who want to learn more about electrifying their home. This work is important to Michigan Saves and the State, as it relates to Michigan’s climate goals and state-level work to identify pathways to carbon neutrality by 2050 per the U.S. Climate Alliance. In addition to the infographic, Mac McCabe, one of our contractor account managers, worked extensively with support from the City of Ann Arbor to create an electrification badging program to make sure our authorized contractors are up to speed on all things electrification.
We’re also continuing our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts because we understand our preferred future is not possible without addressing the systems that perpetuate racism and prevent some populations from accessing benefits like the ones offered by Michigan Saves. We’ve continued to work with social change agent Yodit Mesfin Johnson, president and CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, and developed our change team purpose, ways of being, and our vision for the future. I encourage you to read them if you haven’t already.
Importantly, one of our key accomplishments in 2021 was to secure funding from the Kresge Foundation to expand access to financing in the City of Detroit for homeowners who can’t access traditional financing and for commercial property owners that need long-term affordable loans to effectively deploy electrification or solar and storage projects. This funding is expected to be available during the second quarter of 2022.
I believe our 2021 annual report is a direct reflection of our continued resilience and hopefulness as a team and an organization committed to advancing clean energy solutions for all.
On behalf of the Michigan Saves team, I thank you all for your continued support, especially during such unprecedented times.