Members of our CMF community engaged with policymakers last week during the return of an in-person Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) 2023, presented by United Philanthropy Forum and in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. This marked the first in-person FOTH since 2020.
More than 30 CMF members representing diverse communities throughout Michigan and CMF staff engaged in a series of meetings with our federal policymakers.
In these meetings, CMF members advocated for issues that foster economic prosperity and strengthen our communities, including reducing student debt, attracting and retaining talent in local communities, increasing financial aid transparency, expanding access to charitable giving and more.
“This was my first time attending Foundations on the Hill. I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss my organization’s work with Michigan’s congressional delegation, learn about legislative opportunities to strengthen the philanthropic sector and connect with foundation peers from across the state,” Matthew Lewis, director of governance and operations at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan said.
CMF members also lifted up opportunities for philanthropy and government to work in partnership to support our communities in accessing federal funding, affordable housing, child care and more.
“In addition to advocating on issues important to the philanthropic sector, we discussed mutual priorities with our elected officials. Conversations that begin on the Hill continue back home,” Jenee Velasquez, executive director of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and CMF Trustee said.
“While our longer serving members of congress understand the importance of Michigan’s philanthropic sector and have built strong relationships with CMF members, newer members of congress aren’t necessarily aware of the impact foundations are making in their districts. FOTH is a great starting point for building relationships that will increase collaboration between government and philanthropy,” Lewis said.
“As a rural funder, sharing stories with lawmakers about the face of philanthropy in our state, and community members who care, is important to me, and FOTH presented a forum to do just that. Every Senator, member of Congress, staff member and federal department representative was eager to hear how we impact our communities and how they can support that impact through their roles,” Mackenzie Price, executive director of the Huron County Community Foundation, said.
As a first-time FOTH attendee, Price shared that she didn’t know what to expect from the experience.
“FOTH solidified my understanding of the outstanding work of CMF members across Michigan and reminded me that each of us has a powerful voice and story to share to further amplify our impact. Thanks to a scholarship from CMF, I was able to attend, and I am already planning to prioritize attending FOTH again in 2024,” Price said.
All CMF members are invited to join us tomorrow afternoon for a Michigan FOTH Team Debrief conversation. Together we’ll share insights and lessons learned from our conversations with policymakers and staff and discuss next steps for our ongoing engagement efforts with our congressional delegation. Register here.
Learn more about how members have engaged in Foundations on the Hill over the years.