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Relationship Building with Policymakers

Relationship Building with Policymakers 

Building relationships and engaging in conversations with our elected officials about opportunities for philanthropy and government to work in partnership for thriving, equitable communities across Michigan is critical to supporting our collective advocacy efforts. We do this through year-round touchpoints with our policymakers, including in-person connections like Foundations on the Hill and CMF’s Foundations in Lansing series of events. 

Foundations on the Hill 

Every year, CMF members and our staff continue our storied tradition of engaging in Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) in Washington, D.C. FOTH, hosted by United Philanthropy Forum in partnership with Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations, is our sector's opportunity to speak with a unified voice before members of Congress. During FOTH, we educate Michigan's delegation about the importance of philanthropy, inform them of the work that foundations are leading in and with the community in their districts, and advocate on behalf of issues impacting the sector and the communities we serve.  

“FOTH is an important opportunity to continue to expand the idea of ‘we the people’ and build mutual respect across differences in order to advance the common good. At the end of the day, we are all in this together.”
- Angela Graham, director of Southwest Michigan Strategies at The Fetzer Institute  

Foundations in Lansing 

In 2022, CMF created Foundations in Lansing (FIL), a series of events to connect CMF members with our policymakers in the Michigan Legislature. Initially beginning as virtual connections, in 2023 CMF hosted its first-ever in-person FIL series.  

The FIL events, focused on education, small businesses, housing and health, and were developed for CMF members and based on our community of philanthropy’s strong engagement in the national event, Foundations on the Hill. 

Through the FIL conversations with CMF members, policymakers were able to gain a deeper understanding of Michigan philanthropy's policies, programs and partnerships that address structural and systemic barriers to economic opportunity and ensure economic prosperity is accessible to all Michiganders. 

“Individuals often assume legislators have an understanding of all the needs of their constituents... when in reality, they cannot possibly know and understand all. This is why it is so important for all of us to interact with our legislators and their staff to help them understand issues of particular importance to us and the groups we represent.”
-Ann LeWalk, director of Development at the Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan 

Stay tuned to our Events Calendar for upcoming opportunities to connect with our policymakers and your peers in the policy and advocacy space!