Steelcase Foundation partners with national think tank Capita to host policy roundtable discussion on epidemic of loneliness

The Steelcase Foundation hosted a policy roundtable discussion in Lansing on May 15 with Capita, a leading national think tank with a global focus. The goal of the roundtable was to engage in a discussion with stakeholders and community-based organizations about the epidemic of loneliness in families which has been seen across America and its implications here in Michigan. 

Capita has teamed up with Harvard University to engage in the collection, study and dissemination of data related to loneliness in families and its causes. The goal of the study is to determine what factors are driving loneliness and what the economic reasons are behind the continued increase we have seen in society. It is expected that the data will be released later this summer. 

Together with like-minded groups and organizations, Steelcase Foundation hopes to utilize the data to further the strategic work we are doing with a shift from strategic intervention towards the felt difference for families. One such effort along that shift is our Investment in Families Initiative. As we embark upon a 10-year partnership with mothers, we are energized to see the spotlight on the issue of family’s mental wellbeing so it can get the attention it deserves. It is the Foundation’s hope that continued focus on these issues will ultimately help guide the work we do to uplift families in Michigan every day.

The roundtable was well-attended and included a variety of participants, covering a diverse group of state and local government and community organizations from around Michigan and within the public policy space. Attendees included:

  • Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential
  • Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
  • Michigan Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Hope Network
  • Mental Health Association of Michigan
  • Family Promise of West Michigan
  • Launch Michigan
  • LifeWays Michigan
  • First Steps Kent
  • Corewell Health
  • Kent County

Over the course of the hour and a half conversation, the discussion touched on work-life synergy, the cost of childcare, trust in others, neighborhood connectedness, the tightness of work and school schedules and several other potential loneliness drivers in Michigan.

While the work to address loneliness in Michigan families is just beginning, we are hopeful that the roundtable was the first of many conversations to come together, collaborate, and find a path forward to support families from a more coordinated and informed approach than ever before.