Learning Communities

CMF’s Learning Communities are opportunities for members to come together to learn, explore or test ideas around a specific topic or project.  

Learning communities can be short-term or long-term, depending on the needs of the members or duration of the project. Interested in joining a CMF learning community? Looking to form a new learning community? Contact Andrea Judd-Shurmur, Director, Learning Services.

Each Learning Community also has an associated Online Community that CMF members can join and communicate with colleagues.



  • Purpose

    The purpose of the Council of Michigan Foundations' Scholarship Learning Community is to provide the opportunity for CMF members who grant academic scholarships to individuals to come together to learn from experts and each other about effective strategies for granting scholarships. This group discusses legal issues related to scholarship programs, ways to increase the effectiveness of the application process, how to increase the impact scholarships make on their communities, and many other relevant topics. This learning community is open to all CMF members working in this area.

  • Meetings

    The Scholarship Learning Community meets in-person once per year, typically in August. During this meeting the most relevant topics and challenges which attendees faced over the last year are discussed.

    There is also a Scholarship Listserv available to CMF Members where learning community members may stay in touch over the year to ask questions and seek advice or share resources.

Join online community


  • Purpose

    CMF members who currently have, or are interested in developing, an LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) Fund at their foundation are invited to participate in the LGBTQ Funders Learning Community. Participants can learn from experts and each other about effective strategies for launching or growing LGBTQ Funds, current trends in the LGBTQ community, how to effectively build local LGBTQ philanthropy, what it takes to establish a strong LGBTQ Fund and more.

  • Meetings

    There will be an annual meeting held in the fall.

Join online community


The Great Lakes Funder Collaboration (Collaboration) is comprised of more than 50 funders that annually grant more than $50 million to advance work on Great Lakes issues in the United States and Canada. Member funders work to improve their individual effectiveness and to identify ways they can work together to protect and improve the quality of the Great Lakes and its communities.

  • Purpose

    The purpose of the Collaboration is bring together funders across the United States and Canada interested in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. These funders are faced with many challenges and opportunities both in understanding and addressing this critical and complex system and the role they play, individually and collectively, in protecting and restoring it.

    Funders interested in joining are enthusiastically encouraged to complete this membership application. If you have questions about the Collaboration, please contact Jon Beard, [email protected].

  • Meetings

    The Collaboration meets annually. Additionally, the Collaboration periodically holds webinars and conference calls on topics of interest for funders. There are quarterly work group calls on water infrastructure, nutrient pollution and legacy pollutants/emerging contaminants.



    The meeting will take place the afternoons of Monday, October 25 and Tuesday, October 26. 

    The meeting will deepen funder learning and provide opportunities to discuss timely issues impacting the Great Lakes, particularly the challenges of supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) led organizations and youth activists, climate issues in the Great Lakes, and the importance of social and racial justice in our collective work.  We hope this meeting will provide some timely insights while providing space for funders to connect and discuss issues in their work.  

    Please reach out to Jon Beard, for more details: [email protected].

    Funders interested in joining are enthusiastically encouraged to complete this membership application. If you have questions about the Collaboration, please contact Jon Beard, [email protected].


  • Purpose

    The Civic Engagement Learning Community focuses on fair and equitable redistricting, as well as on amplifying community voice, improving civic infrastructure and strengthening democratic institutions.

  • Meetings

    Dates and details for future meetings of the Civic Engagement Learning Community will be made available in the CMF events calendar.