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At a Glance

Things I Can Help You With: 

  • Promote mutual understanding and collaboration between state government and foundations, and identify strategic opportunities for partnering.
  • Serve as a trusted source of data, information and dialogue about programs, policy impacts and policy and implementation options. 
  • Facilitate strategic joint investments that are aimed at improving outcomes for Michigan residents, especially those that are most vulnerable and marginalized.


Dana Linnane is director of research and planning for the Governor’s Office of the Foundation Liaison (OFL). In this role, she identifies and brokers innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the state and grantmakers.

Prior to joining the OFL in February 2022, Linnane served as policy and communications officer for more than a decade at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) where she successfully managed an array of policy, advocacy and communications strategies, working to raise the profile of WKKF and its grantees with policymakers, community influencers, business leaders and with national and local media outlets. Her work was to establish credibility, gain influence, build awareness and understanding, and ultimately advance policies that give children, families and communities increased access to opportunity.

Previously she served in various roles in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, including program officer at the Ruth Mott Foundation, William C. Richardson fellow in government affairs and philanthropy at the Council of Michigan Foundations and assistant director of development for the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. She has worked as an independent consultant for several Michigan-based foundations and nonprofit organizations, including the Battle Creek Community Foundation, the McGregor Fund, The Kresge Foundation, the Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.

Get to know Dana

Describe what you do in your role. 

Working closely with the foundation liaison, I work to identify opportunities to develop trusting relationships with the Governor’s Executive Office staff to align, engage and partner on the priorities of the Governor’s Office and Michigan philanthropy. This includes researching, developing and recommending new ideas and unique models for programming and convening funders and state government officials in partnership with CMF. 

What do you enjoy the most about your work? 

I found professional passion and purpose when serving as the CMF Richardson Fellow in Government Affairs and Philanthropy from 2008 to 2010. I am very excited to return to the Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison in a different capacity, bringing with me more than a decade of experience and expertise at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to do my small part to advance equitable policies for Michigan and its children, families and residents. 

What are the causes you’re most passionate about? 

I am committed to my own growth as it relates to racial equity. Additionally, I’m dedicated to understanding who has access to capital and who doesn’t, and why; education policy; and gender equity in the workplace (paid leave, access to childcare, benefits access). I do not believe there is one silver bullet to tackle some of our most pressing issues – rather I believe that systemic problems require systemic solutions.  

What inspires, challenges or motivates you? 

In addition to leaving a better world for our children, I have always been inspired by an E.B. White quote that I recently re-discovered: “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

What do you love about Michigan? 

I moved to Michigan as a kid, and I have lived and worked across the state in many of its major metros and small towns, from Detroit to Grand Haven, Flint to Battle Creek and Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo. I am continually inspired by the state, its people and the way communities mobilize and organize to be responsive and forward-thinking in times of crisis. I love Michigan because, for me, it’s home.  

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