News Briefs 8-19

The Josephine Brown Women’s Missionary Society of Trinity A.M.E. Church will be observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Sunday, October 25, 2009.  The theme is” Women – Rites of Passage from One Generation to the Next” to be held in the multi-purpose room at Trinity A.M.E. Church 3500 W. Holmes Road Lansing MI 48911 from 1:15 pm. to 3:15 pm.  The event sponsored by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Mid-Michigan Affiliate will highlight their new program Circle of Promise geared specifically towards African-American women to inform them about breast cancer issues.  The program will include a short play using Trinity’s Young Peoples Division and remarks from Dr. Patricia Rodgers, Mandy Powers and Anita Turner.  The program is open to the public and will be facilitated by Rosa Moss- Hargrove, Chair and April Clark, President.

Get your benefit
verification before the chill sets in

By Vonda VanTil,
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

It’s that time of year again – when Michigan residents start to feel the chill in the air. It’s also the time of year when many states, including Michigan, begin to offer energy assistance to those who have low income and resources. The energy assistance program may help with the cost of heating your home during the winter. But to get it, in most cases, you’ll need to provide proof of your income. If you get Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you can get proof of the amount of your benefit quickly and easily by going online. Just visit

There are a number of reasons you may need written verification of your benefit amount, besides energy assistance programs. Perhaps you’re ready to make a major purchase and you’re trying to get a loan from a bank or financial institution or maybe you’re applying for state benefits or moving into a new apartment or home.

Whatever your reason, Social Security makes it easy for you to get the written verification you need at Just look in the left column under “What you can do online,” expand the “If you get benefits” section, and select the “Request a Proof of Income letter” link.

From the time that you complete the online request, it will take about 10 days for you to receive the proof of income letter in the mail. If you need one sooner, you’ll want to call us at 1-800-772-1213.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. 

MSU’s new Michigan Export Growth Program helping companies go global

EAST LANSING, MI — Companies wishing to go global but needing the knowledge to make the dream a reality can avail themselves of pro bono services through the new Michigan Export Growth Program at Michigan State University.
The Michigan Export Growth Program, an initiative of the International Business Center in MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business, is the first of its kind supported by the Ford Motor Co. Foundation and is a first for the business college.
With a $50,000 seed grant from the Ford College Community Challenge, the IBC is providing professional consulting services at no cost to Greater Lansing area companies that want to see their product lines or business expand to international markets.
“Local economies suffering from the effects of globalization are essentially the ones which have tried to resist the implications of globalization and have tried to keep their ‘old ways’ instead of seeing it as an opportunity to expand their horizons and their reach,” said Tomas Hult, acting associate dean for global initiatives and director of the IBC.
 MSU has a long history of partnering with businesses and organizations, including the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to promote global commerce and trade in mid-Michigan and beyond.
The IBC pro bono teams have been working with a number of companies, including food producers and health providers, and with the Capital Regional International Airport in Lansing. Their expertise is broad enough to cover all economic sectors but deep enough to be very valuable, he said.
Hult, a professor of international business, said the companies are matched with student teams led by the center’s staff and faculty who have expertise in a particular trade or industry. The team engages with their company officials to understand the landscape of the company’s exporting infrastructure (or lack thereof) and the product or products to be exported.

The outcome of each project is a set of deliverables customized to the needs of each company with the goal being to provide a practical plan for implementation.
A basic form is available on the Web for companies to provide relevant background information such as any previous or current international experience the company has or what type of research assistance would be helpful. The form can be found at
The MSU teams will guide company officials through the globalization maze and discuss expectations for expansion, emerging markets, product viability, financial considerations, time frames, government rules and regulations, and the projected target customers.
Nine staff members, 31 students and faculty are available on an as-need basis with some staff and students on a stand-by basis to initiate projects with company representatives when they walk in the door.
“We have the capacity to work with five firms at the same time,” Hult said. “Our goal is to help 50 firms or about 25 firms per semester to the end of May 2010. After that we will be able to assist approximately 25 firms per year.”
For more information on the Michigan Export Growth Program, the IBC and other Eli Broad College of Business programs, visit the Web at
Source: Press releases