Director, Government Relations and Public Policy, Council of Michigan Foundations

CMF is a community of philanthropists committed to improving outcomes for Michigan, and beyond. Through investing in the state's charitable organizations, convening business, government and nonprofit leaders, collaborating on critical issues, seeking innovative solutions, sharing knowledge and advocating, we leverage our collective voice to increase the impact of Michigan philanthropy.

In advancement of our Government Relations goals, CMF advocates for a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to organized philanthropy. This work is led by our Government Relations Committee.  The Committee’s key strategies are to:

  • Advocate for goals in the Legislative Statement with policymakers in Lansing and Washington, D.C.;
  • Represent the work and interests of Michigan foundations with state and federal officials; and 
  • Educate policymakers about the work of foundations.

Our work in this area includes the annual Foundations on the Hill event where foundations leaders from across Michigan travel to Washington, D.C. for meetings with each member of our state’s Congressional Delegation.

CMF’s public policy goals are developed and supported through our members. CMF’s members lead and support collaborative philanthropic responses to critical needs such as P-20 education, early childhood development and economic development. This work is led by our Public Policy Committee and is achieved through issue-based affinity groups. The Committee’s key strategies are to:

  • Encourage and support foundation engagement in the public policy process; and 
  • Connect foundation leaders with each other, policymakers and other concerned stakeholders to advance specific policy reforms. 

Work in this area is done in partnership with the Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison, a nonpartisan, cabinet level position that works to identify and broker strategic partnerships between the state and foundations.

CMF has a robust suite of innovative supports for the organization’s advocacy efforts including The William C. Richardson Fellow in Government Affairs & Philanthropy.  This position supports CMF’s public policy work. The Fellowship, named after the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s former president and CEO, introduces future policymakers to the philanthropic sector and the ways it influences and partners with the public sector.  In addition, the CMF Trustees and members have developed endowment funds to support the organization’s advocacy efforts including the Robert Collier Public Policy Endowment that funds the organization’s public policy and government relations activities.

Are you passionate about public policy? Do you have enthusiasm for philanthropy? Committed to collaboration? Ready to lead, innovate and engage? We welcome your interest!

The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) is a community of philanthropists committed to improving outcomes for Michigan and beyond. We are one of the nation’s foremost philanthropy serving organizations, highly respected for our leadership role in advancing the sector’s public policy engagement. We maintain a reputation for excellence because our staff and the organizations we partner with each day are invested in growing the impact of Michigan philanthropy.  

Guided by the CMF Government Relations and Public Policy Committees, as well as a cadre of affinity groups, we leverage the collective voice of members in working closely with policymakers at the local, state and national levels on regulatory and legislative issues affecting Michigan philanthropy. The Director of Government Relations and Public Policy has the unique opportunity to not only be a part of this work, but a leader in these efforts, as well. The Director is responsible for the effective development and support of CMF’s government relations goals and robust public policy agenda. As the lead for CMF’s advocacy strategies, the Director will collaborate with the CEO and policy team members, external committees, and state and national advocacy organizations to advance the interests of Michigan’s philanthropic community. The Director reports to the CEO and is a member of the CMF Leadership Team.


The following responsibilities are descriptive of current policies, practices and programs of CMF. The Director’s measures of success are tied to these through CMF’s Annual Plan of Work, Government Relations Goals, Public Policy Agenda and the strategies identified and affirmed by the CMF Board of Trustees. Below are descriptions of specific areas of responsibility:

Government Relations, Public Policy and Research

  • Develop and execute a comprehensive government relations and public policy program that engages CMF members, stakeholders and policy makers through convening, research, advocacy and lobbying activities.
  • Lead strategy for CMF’s issue-driven, public policy-focused affinity groups, supporting collaborative philanthropic responses to Michigan’s most critical needs in key issue areas.
  • Engage affinity group leaders to identify key issues and priorities, develop and implement strategy, and determine related programming for each affinity group.
  • Support CMF’s work with state and national philanthropy serving organizations.
  • Direct CMF’s public policy research agenda and related resources and partnerships.
  • In partnership with the Michigan Nonprofit Association and other partners, support the work of the Michigan Nonprofit Council for Charitable Trust and the Michigan Nonprofit Caucus.
  • Guide the public policy fellow and coordinate with the Governor’s Office of the Foundation Liaison regarding information on pertinent topics, issues and initiatives for program content including affinity group sessions at the CMF Annual Conference and Public Policy Committee meetings.
  • Maintain effective relationships with policy makers and their staff and develop responses to proposed legislation and regulations.
  • Work with the CMF communications and programming staff to frame CMF’s timely response to policy proposals and legislation.
  • Guide strategy to educate membership on the value and importance of engaging in policy.  

Other Responsibilities

  • Staff the CMF Public Policy and Government Relations Committees and provide the necessary support to the respective committee chairs as directed by the CEO.
  • Work closely with CMF members, experts in the field and CMF’s communications team to develop, publicize and disseminate resources and tools to advance member engagement and impact in policy and equity.
  • Cultivate relationships and partnerships with national affinity groups, government, business, nonprofit and community stakeholders to strengthen policy and equity focused goals, plans and outcomes.
  • Develop documents and presentation materials, (e.g. plans, proposals, policies, budgets, MOU’s, grant opportunities, procedures, forms etc.) for implementing and maintaining services and/or programs.
  • Collaborate to implement short and long-term plans to meet organizational objectives.
  • Attend events and conferences to network with members and continually leverage and build relationships.
  • Actively engage with our members through our member engagement program and programming opportunities.
  • All other duties as assigned.


The director reports to the CEO, supervises the William C. Richardson fellow in government affairs & philanthropy and in coordination with the OFL staff works closely with the CMF Public Policy Committee and the CMF affinity groups. 


The director must be innovative, entrepreneurial, collaborative and possess an ever-present ability to adapt to change. In addition, the Director must:

  • Demonstrate leadership and commitment to CMF values – ethical leadership, relationships, servant leadership, knowledge, excellence, diversity & inclusion – and CMF’s mission to grow the impact of Michigan philanthropy.
  • Experience and familiarity with the operations of 501c(3) nonprofit corporation and a commitment to an aggressive personal professional development plan to build capacity in organized philanthropy if needed.
  • Understanding of the role that research, data and analysis play in effective public policy and experience directing related activities toward a successful government relations agenda.
  • Strong customer service.
  • Demonstrated collaborative, team-based style with the ability to relate effectively to people from diverse backgrounds in cultivating and building thriving, effective collaborations.
  • Exemplary written and verbal communications skills.
  • Experience representing an organization publicly, in-person and in writing.
  • Ability to manage conflict constructively and successfully.
  • Self-starter with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • In depth experience and knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion work.
  • Knowledge of standard concepts, practices and procedures employed in the decision-making process related to membership services and program development.
  • Ability to prioritize amid competing demands, respond effectively to time-sensitive, emergent opportunities and challenges, self-initiate and multi-task.
  • Experience leading strategic initiatives and developing/executing plans to achieve strategic goals.

The director position is part of the CMF Leadership Team, and as such requires both strategic thinking and management experience. In addition, the director must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher. Master’s degree with policy focus or equivalent preferred.
  • Minimum five to seven years of work experience, in advocacy and public policy roles, preferably with a member-driven organization or network with policy focus.
  • Experience engaging with policy makers at the state and federal levels.
  • Direct experience in leading policy activity for the nonprofit sector and facilitating the development and implementation of collaborative groups regarding policy issues. 
  • Supervisory experience including the ability to give clear direction; guidance; constructive coaching; and develop, involve and mobilize people in shared efforts.
How To Apply: 

Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Tammie TenBroeke at Items must be received no later than May 17, 2019.

Hiring Organization: 
Council of Michigan Foundations
Director, Government Relations and Public Policy
City and State: 
Hiring Deadline: 
May 17, 2019

The Council of Michigan Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All correspondence will remain confidential.