Here's the latest from The CivCity Initiative!
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Welcome to the CivCity Update! You'll find news on the May 3 election, our partnership with UM's Ginsberg Center, the new issue of CivCity EXTRA – and more!

Vote on May 3!

On Tuesday, May 3, voters in Washtenaw County  – that means you! – will vote on a proposal to fund support services for students with special needs.

(Gratuitous cute dog photo – Jane Russell at The Peaceable Kingdom doing her civic duty....and yes, giving her a treat helped!)

If approved, it would increase the tax for special education by 1.5 mills annually for 10 years. The funds are administered by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Click here to read the ballot proposal. More information is also on the WISD website.

Need an absentee ballot? Download an application or see the Ann Arbor clerk's website for more info.

Don't disappoint Jane Russell – vote on May 3!

Issue 2 of CivCity EXTRA!

We're grateful to Washtenaw Literacy and Eastern Michigan University Professor Zuzana Tomas for partnering to produce the CivCity EXTRA newsletter. It's geared toward adults with low literacy levels, and provides relevant local news & information about the community.

For the Spring 2016 issue, EMU graduate students Grace Pang and David Christensen researched and wrote the articles, tackling complex topics – including the Flint water crisis and the 1,4 dioxane plume in Ann Arbor. They also created teaching aids for tutors to accompany the articles. The issue was designed by Rhonda Foxworth.

Click here to download the Spring 2016 issue of CivCity EXTRA

Essay in The Ann Magazine

The April 2016 issue of The Ann featured 7 essays that responded to Gov. Rick Snyder's handling of the Flint water crisis. Mary Morgan, CivCity's founder, wrote about the broader context of civic engagement.

Here's an excerpt:

"Pay attention, and not just when you're pissed off. Start at the local level, where you have the most influence. If we develop a habit of civic engagement, then we have a much better shot at ensuring a crisis like we're seeing in Flint never happens again."

Read all the essays in The Ann's April issue.

How Can You Help CivCity?

Contribute to CivCity today with a one-time or monthly online donation. It's tax deductible! 
Or you can send a check to:
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

CivCity also accepts stock donations through our broker, the local office of Wells Fargo Advisors. Contact Mary Morgan at for details.

And Two Final Shout-Outs

Thanks to Joe Ohren for leading our April 16 workshop on Navigating Local Government, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. We had a great group and a lively, thoughtful discussion!

We'll be offering more workshops like this in the future. Interested? Email Mary Morgan at

We also hosted a Center for Michigan Community Conversation on March 31, moderated by Dwayne Barnes. Thanks to everyone who attended and gave their thoughts on how to restore public trust in state government.

Bonus points if you're still reading! How about sharing this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues to add a little civic sauce to their day? We'd appreciate it!
The University of Michigan's Ginsberg Center has launched a Community Leader-in-Residence program, and I'm thrilled to be the first one in that new role. Over the next year I'll be working with students, faculty and staff to strengthen ties between UM and our community. If you've got ideas on how to help that work, let me know!

On Sunday morning, May 8, please join me, Ginsberg Center director Mary Jo Calllan, editors of the Michigan Daily and regulars at the Washtenaw Dairy to talk about the future of local news. Nick Tobier organized this gathering as a Jane's Walk, one of many community-building events worldwide on that weekend to honor Jane Jacobs. Hope to see you then!

– Mary Morgan, CivCity Founder & Executive Director


Support CivCity

CivCity is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit focused on increasing awareness of how local government works and motivating residents to get involved in civic life. Please support our work by sending donations to: 
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

You can also donate online by clicking this link – it's easy!

You'll get our heartfelt thanks written by hand (let's hear it for old school!) on a notecard featuring local public art or civic infrastructure. How cool is that?

This image is a detail from the mosaics at the Fourth & Washington parking structure.
CivCity Board of Directors
Devon Akmon
Paul Courant
Mary Morgan
Ingrid Sheldon
Linh Song

Special thanks for generous support from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation, the Buhr Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, and the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon!

CivCity Online

Find more information – including CivCity's five-year strategic plan – on our website at
Be sure to join CivCity on Facebook, where we regularly post items of community interest.
On Twitter, you can follow us at @A2CivCity and get details about local public meetings and other civic-related info. 


Copyright ©2015 The CivCity Initiative, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
118 S. Main St. Ann Arbor MI 48104

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