Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison

Michigan’s nonpartisan Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) identifies and brokers innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the executive branch of state government and philanthropy. 

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. The Foundation Liaison is a cabinet level position and helps to identify and broker innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the executive branch of state government and foundations to encourage programs or policy reforms that would improve the lives of all Michigan children, families and 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 executive branch of state government and foundations.

  • The OFL was initiated and is supported by members of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) and the state.

  • Karen Aldridge-Eason, a loaned executive from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, serves as the Foundation Liaison where she works with the governor, executive branch of state government, government leaders, federal officials, foundations and the nonprofit community to help bring about positive, effective change. 

  • Since its inception in 2003, the OFL has brokered investments in initiatives to increase Michigan's economic competitiveness through reforms in early childhood education, K-12 education, college and career readiness, health and well-being and workforce development, with an emphasis on equity and safety net issues.

Governance

The Office of Foundation Liaison is governed by an advisory committee which includes representatives from its funding foundations, the CMF president and CEO, Michigan Nonprofit Association's president and CEO and a senior representative from the Governor's staff. The Foundation Liaison Advisory Committee sets the OFL's responsibilities and objectives and helps guide its work. Priority issue areas for the OFL are aligned with both foundation and state government priorities and these currently include early childhood education, K-12 education, college and career readiness, health and well-being and workforce development, with an emphasis on equity and safety net issues.

OFL Advisory Committee

  • Faye Alexander Nelson – W.K. Kellogg Foundation (co-chair)
  • Diana Sieger – Grand Rapids Community Foundation (co-chair)
  • Kyle Caldwell – Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Melanca Clark – Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • David Egner – Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • Neal Hegarty, (chair) – Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Kate Levin Markel – McGregor Fund
  • Wendy Lewis Jackson – The Kresge Foundation
  • David McGhee – The Skillman Foundation
  • Kelley Kuhn – Michigan Nonprofit Association
  • Marc Rehmann – Executive Office of the Governor
  • Virginia Romano – Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation
  • Cindy Rowell – Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation

Additional Supporting Funders

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

  • Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Ballmer Group
  • Battle Creek Community Foundation
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Greater Flint
  • Community Foundation for Muskegon County
  • Community Foundation for St. Clair County
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Ford Foundation
  • Fremont Area Community Foundation
  • Frey Foundation
  • Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • JEHT Foundation
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • McGregor Fund
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • Steelcase Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Skillman Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Staff

Karen Aldridge-Eason
Foundation Liaison, Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison
[email protected]

Dana Linnane
Director of Research and Planning, Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison
[email protected]

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
View Attendance Matters Case Study
View MI Bridges Case Study
View Sustainability Through Transitions Case Study
View COVID-19 Case Study

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