Data That We Track, August 2018



Communities We Serve


August’s jobless numbers finally brought summer seasonality into full view. Only one county had its jobless rate rise, one stayed the same (both in Wisconsin), and every other county saw a lowering of their jobless rate. Also the table has the updated 2016 median household incomes for all the counties. This shows that there is a great deal of variation urban to rural and even rural to rural. I hope that in sharing this it helps you to examine and inquire as to the nature of the variation. It also reflects a need for variation in approaches in regions and communities of Michigan.


View the Latest Data Sheet (Adobe PDF File).


How Northern Initiatives Fared


We are on a path of some significant changes.  We are altering our software environment in lending and at the same time rewriting our loan policy.  These are continuing process improvements that we have been developing since we hired the Community Reinvestment Fund to analyze our processes through their Jump Start Program.  The changes that we are embarking upon will evolve into the first quarter of 2019, and in the end, we will have made improvements that provide more and better information to our customers and systems that are providing more efficiency and transparency across our staff.


Monthly Musings from President, Dennis West


What most people don’t know about me is that I preach about eight times a year at our church. Last weekend It was my wife’s turn as she preached at the First Presbyterian Church reflecting on that communities’ commitment to sheltering the homeless of Marquette through this summer.


Both churches have their preaching done in connection with the Lectionary, and lately we have been using the Gospel of Mark. Mark is fascinating as it is the only Gospel that details, day by day, the last week of Jesus’ life and the prior journey to Jerusalem. Since it is the only Gospel that shares the Christ story in this way, it would also reveal the stumbling’s of Disciples and instruction that Jesus meant to leave for them.


Last Sunday, part of the lesson was Jesus’ teaching, “but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?” Of course the peril in citing scripture is that I believe it is to be interpreted and that interpretation has everything to do with where each of us may be on a faith journey, that said, here is how I would think about it.


My interpretation takes us back to looking deeply into our various communities. Communities with little or no local ownership in my view are without salt. The lack of people building ownership on unique ideas and practices leaves a sterile landscape. Conversely, those communities where there are locally owned businesses, are differentiated. They have the capacity to attract community members and those from the outside looking to have a unique experience, through differentiated ideas brought through local ownership. Those communities that are growing their own, have a salt, a distinct flavor, and they are seeing people find opportunity, and spread that opportunity as models for new enterprises and building a base of local employees.


As we go around the State and hold our 25th Anniversary celebrations, it is a thrill to see the great variety and quality of businesses that we have helped to support, and the seasoning that they have on the local quality of life.





Support Northern Initiatives


Northern Initiatives wishes to thank our funders, investors and donors for their continued support. Northern Initiatives provides money and know how to start-ups and growing businesses. We invite you to join us to help more businesses start and grow. Please consider giving a donation today.



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