COVID-19 Working Group

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Michigan Philanthropy COVID-19 Working Group

The COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed new challenges and exposed existing inequities in Michigan and around the nation—in many cases exacerbating established problems that have historically affected underrepresented populations, especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), those living in low-income parts of Michigan (including urban, rural and suburban communities), low-wage workers, people with disabilities and people without documentation. 

The Michigan Philanthropy COVID-19 Working Group is an ad hoc committee of CMF, working in alignment with the Government Relations Public Policy Committee, composed of 25 foundation leaders and partners collaborating to help connect, strengthen and mobilize the Michigan community of philanthropy in advancing a collective responses to the short- and long-term challenges of the pandemic.  

Policy Domains

The Working Group developed the Building an Equitable Future Together policy framework, which serves as a timely, focused and strategic platform to advance the interests and priorities of Michigan philanthropy in the face of multiple crises that Michiganders are facing. The framework is anchored by three policy domains: public health, education and economic prosperity. In alignment with those domains are action-oriented principles to help guide practices and policies now and in the future as we continue to center our work in equity.

View THE COMPLETE Policy Framework

Statewide Equity Fund (SEF) Strategic Support Pilot

Through the guidance and recommendation of the Working Group and with support of CMF’s Board of Trustees, in July 2021 we launched the Statewide Equity Fund Strategic Support Pilot to serve as a collaborative vehicle for Michigan philanthropy to catalyze opportunities that advance impactful strategies to address systemic challenges laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. With leadership from co-chairs Melanca Clark, CMF trustee and president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and Diana Sieger, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, this fund empowers CMF members to strategically pool resources toward systems change efforts with an equity-centered approach, utilizing a co-investment model focused on the policy domains of public health, education and economic prosperity within CMF’s Building an Equitable Future Together policy framework.

Initially we are engaging in exploratory efforts in these domains through a Statewide Equity Fund Strategic Support Pilot to inform the longer-term strategic efforts the Statewide Equity Fund can advance. This collaborative effort is bringing together CMF members in up to five regions to develop local approaches to help shape federal funding toward equity-centered approaches within the economic prosperity domain of the policy framework. The collaborative funding model will pool $2 million in CMF member funds to provide the infrastructure needed to help support and guide the incoming federal funding.

SEF Strategic Support is a uniquely structured rapid response, CMF member-guided pooled fund focused on advancing equity-centered approaches to economic prosperity goals by:

  • Supporting up to five regional CMF member collaboratives with information on state and federal funding policy, as well as opportunities to shape their allocation and inventory philanthropy’s investments.
  • Providing expertise and technical support to share innovative approaches, metrics and tools that help inform public sector and philanthropy investments.
  • Seeding innovations to regional partnerships that can shape future public investments and outcomes.

SEF Strategic Support Working Group members include:

  • Melanca Clark, President and CEO, Hudson-Webber Foundation (co-chair)
  • Diana Sieger, President, Grand Rapids Community Foundation (co-chair)
  • Karen Aldridge-Eason, Foundation Liaison, Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison, Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Faye Alexander Nelson, Director of Michigan Programs, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Regina Bell, Director, Government Relations and Public Policy, Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Carolyn Bloodworth, Secretary/Treasurer, Consumers Energy Foundation
  • Kyle Caldwell, President & CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Lynette Dowler, President, DTE Energy Foundation
  • David Egner, President & CEO, The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
  • Zosia Eppensteiner, Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Marquette County
  • Lynnette Ferrell, Program Director, Frey Foundation
  • Bonnie Gettys, President/CEO, Barry Community Foundation
  • Mike Goorhouse, President/CEO, The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
  • Paul Hillegonds, CEO, Michigan Health Endowment Fund
  • Wendy Jackson, Deputy Director, The Kresge Foundation
  • George Jacobsen, Program Director, Southeast Michigan Economic and Cultural Vitality, William Davidson Foundation
  • DJ Jones, Executive Director, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation
  • Josh Kirschenbaum, Consultant, Vice President for Strategic Direction, PolicyLink
  • Randy Maiers, President and CEO, Community Foundation of St. Clair County
  • Lauren Marra, Consultant, Executive Advisor, Arabella Advisors
  • Darin McKeever, President and CEO, William Davidson Foundation 
  • Kylee Mitchell Wells, Executive Director - Detroit, Ballmer Group, LLC
  • Jane Morgan, Consultant, President, JFM Consulting Group 
  • Scott Nielsen, Consultant, Managing Director of Advocacy, Arabella Advisors - Chicago Michigan
  • Mariam Noland, President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Isaiah Oliver, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Flint
  • Sarah Treuhaft,Consultant, Vice President of Research, PolicyLink
  • Jenee Velasquez, Executive Director, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation

Contact the CMF team to learn how you can engage with your regional peers in this exciting work.

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