Our Role

CMF supports a strong partnership between government and the nonprofit sector and represents the collective voice of philanthropy in Michigan to policymakers.

Guided by its Government Relations and Public Policy Committee, the Council of Michigan Foundations serves as a leading voice with policymakers at the state and national levels on regulatory and legislative issues affecting Michigan philanthropy.

While CMF represents the collective interests of philanthropy in Michigan, it is important to note that membership dues do not go towards advocacy work.

Government Relations

Our position: CMF advocates for a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to organized philanthropy. 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 
  • 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.

Public Policy

Our position: CMF 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 Government Relations and 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 
  • 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.

COVID-19 Response

Our Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) and policy teams are working with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration, the Michigan Legislature and members of Congress, as well as key federal agencies. We are informing policymakers of what we see as needs on the ground and the roles philanthropy can step into during the pandemic. We are setting up briefing calls with the governor and her team and members of Congress in the Michigan delegation regarding the current response legislation as well as upcoming legislation we know will be in the pipeline to address fiscal stimulus and other recovery issues. 

The OFL is working in partnership with cabinet heads to address issues related to food distribution, workforce supports, education and vulnerable populations. We’re also advancing policy recommendations and concerns coming from CMF members and affinity groups to leverage the problem solving capacity of the sector and lay the groundwork for a coordinated public/private response as the crisis evolves.  

View COVID-19 State News & Policy Alerts

William C. Richardson Fellowship in Government Affairs & Philanthropy

The William C. Richardson Fellow in Government Affairs & Philanthropy 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.