A project of the Council of Michigan Foundations
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 14 other foundations
Michigan’s non-partisan Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) was created in 2003 at the suggestion of Michigan philanthropic leaders. David Campbell and Dave Egner approached then-newly elected Gov. Jennifer Granholm about creating such an office. OFL is located in the governor’s administrative offices. This cabinet level position — the first in the nation — helps to identify and broker innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the state and foundations to encourage programs or policy reforms that would improve the lives of all Michigan residents.
OFL’s mission is to develop strategic partnerships between philanthropy and the executive branch of state government in order to create better outcomes for all Michigan citizens within a commonly defined set of agendas.
OFL was initiated and is funded by members of the Council of Michigan Foundations. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided the first person to serve as the liaison, Karen Aldridge-Eason, as a loaned executive from the foundation’s staff. Since its inception in 2003, the OFL has brokered more than $100 million in foundation investments in initiatives to increase Michigan’s economic competitiveness through reforms in K–16 education, economic and workforce development, health, early childhood, and land use.
The Office of Foundation Liaison is governed by an advisory committee that sets OFL’s responsibilities and objectives, and helps guide its work. Priority issue areas for OFL are aligned with both foundation and state government priorities and include early childhood development, education (K–16), and economic/workforce development.