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Supporting Rural Communities: A CMF Member Gathering

Event Details


Thursday, May 2, 2024
10 am - 3 pm EDT


Doherty Hotel


CMF Members: $25


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About the Event

Join your philanthropy peers who are working in rural communities to discuss opportunities and challenges related to rural infrastructure. The purpose of this gathering will be to empower foundation staff and trustees working in rural communities to connect with peers in meaningful ways and discuss opportunities and challenges related to rural infrastructure. The group will be joined by Sarah Lucas, Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity, who will share more about the trajectory of the office, what they are learning through statewide listening sessions and how philanthropy can continue to partner to lift and address issues facing their communities.

The CMF Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group is developing this program; however, all CMF members working in rural areas are welcome and encouraged to attend. Participation in previous Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group meetings is not required to engage in this session. 

Health and Safety

CMF continues to prioritize the well-being of members, staff, partners and communities. As of August 14, 2023 the following measures are our in-person event health and safety procedures:

  • We recommend attendees test for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to this gathering.
  • Any attendee who is feeling unwell, who has tested positive for an illness in the 10 days prior to the event or who is showing symptoms and awaiting test results is asked not to attend.
  • If you are not able to attend due to illness, please contact Jen Ruud at
  • All attendees will be invited to wear one of three color-coded lanyards to indicate to other attendees their personal comfort with in-person interaction: red (greet from six feet), yellow (elbows only), green (high-fives permitted).

For more details regarding our health procedures, please click here.

Sarah Lucas Photo

Sarah Lucas

Director, Office of Rural Prosperity
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity

Sarah Lucas, AICP, has worked in community and economic development in small communities and rural areas in Michigan for over 20 years, leading a variety of cross-sector initiatives and planning efforts that have resulted in long-lasting coalitions, local and state policy change, and enhanced regional capacity for growth and investment. Currently, she is the director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Rural Prosperity. Previously, she served as CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, Marquette County’s primary economic development organization. Sarah also served as the founding executive director of Housing North; the Community Development Director for Networks Northwest; and as a pandemic economic development planner with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region. Sarah has worked with several regional and statewide boards in membership and leadership roles, including the Community and Economic Development Association of Michigan, the Economic Development Leaders of Michigan, and the Michigan Association of Planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University.

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