Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison

Michigan’s non-partisan Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) identifies and brokers innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the State and grantmakers. 

Created in 2003 at the suggestion of Michigan philanthropic leaders, the OFL currently operates with the support of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and is located in the Governor's administrative offices. This cabinet level position helps to identify and broker innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the State and foundations to encourage programs or policy reforms that would improve the lives of all Michigan residents. The creation of this nonpartisan position marked the State's first formal partnership with the foundation community.

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Quick Facts

  • The Michigan OFL is the first cabinet-level position in the nation designed to help identify and broker innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the State and foundations 
  • The OFL was initiated and is funded by members of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF)
  • Karen Aldridge-Eason, a program director from the C. S. Mott Foundation, is on loan to the State and serves as the Foundation Liaison where she works with the governor, state legislators, government leaders, federal officials, foundations and the business community to help bring about positive, effective change 
  • Since its inception in 2003, the OFL has brokered more than $100 million in foundation investments in initiatives to increase Michigan's economic competitiveness through reforms in K-16 education, economic and workforce development, health, early childhood and land use

Governance

The Office of Foundation Liaison is governed by an Advisory Committee which includes representatives from its funding foundations, the CMF president and CEO and a senior representative from the Governor's staff.  The Advisory Committee sets the OFL's responsibilities, objectives and helps guide its work. Priority issue areas for the OFL are aligned with both foundation and State government priorities and include early childhood development, education (K-16) and economic/workforce development.

OFL In Action

View Childcare Subsidy Case Study
View Double Up Food Bucks Case Study
View Flint Mental Health Case Study
View Flint School Breakfast Case Study
View Flint Senior Water Access Case Study
View Great Start Case Study
View Michigan Benefit Access Initiative Case Study

OFL Advisory Committee

  • David Egner, chair – Ralph C. Wilson Foundation
  • Mark Burton – Office of the Governor
  • Kyle Caldwell – Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Melanca Clark – Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • Neal Hegarty – C.S. Mott Foundation
  • Kate Levin Markel – McGregor Fund
  • Wendy Lewis Jackson – Kresge Foundation
  • David McGhee – Skillman Foundation
  • Donna Murray-Brown – Michigan Nonprofit Association
  • Faye Nelson – W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Julie Ridenour – Steelcase Foundation
  • Cindy Rowell – Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • Diana Sieger – Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Additional Supporting Funders

Along with the funders represented on the OFL Advisory Committee, the following foundations are either past of present funders of the OFL:

  • Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Battle Creek Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Greater Flint
  • Community Foundation for Muskegon County
  • Community Foundation for St. Clair County
  • Fremont Area Community Foundation
  • Frey Foundation
  • JEHT Foundation (now closed)

Staff

Karen Aldridge-Eason
Foundation Liaison
(517) 241-1689
kaldridge-eason@michiganfoundations.org

Stephen Arellano
Foundation Coordinator
(517) 335-4545
sarellano@michiganfoundations.org

Michelle Danaj
Office Assistant
(517) 241-5882
mdanaj@michiganfoundations.org