Council of Michigan Foundations
By Kate Luckert
Graduate Student, Grand Valley State University
The mission of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) is to increase, to enhance, and to improve philanthropy in Michigan. The organization is a nonprofit associaton of foundations and corporatons that make grants for charitable purposes
The origin of CMF can be traced back to 1972. A handful of representatives from Michigan foundations including the Kellogg Foundation, the Dow Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Kalamazoo Foundation met to discuss common issues facing foundations. The group reviewed mutual concerns such as the impact of the 1969 tax law change by Congress and the IRS and the effects the change was having on the operations of their foundations. These representatives recognized the benefit of networking and sharing experiences with their colleagues and continued to pursue opportunities to gather. The Conference of Michigan Foundations (as the group was first known) conducted a statewide conference in 1974 that brought together even more representatives. The nucleus of CMF began to take form and the organization was officially incorporated in 1975.
CMF's 1999 Annual Report provided a concise summation of the organization's vision, values, and purpose: "The Council of Michigan Foundations provides the means for regular sharing of ideas and experiences, thereby helping grantmakers and donors make well-informed philanthropic decisions. We represent Michigan grantmakers' interests and concerns with state and national governments, and inform the public of the important contributions of Michigan grantmakers to the citizens of the state and society at large. We serve as a catalyst for philanthropic responses to critical needs in the state, and provide proactive leadership to increase the grantmaking resources of foundations and corporations in Michigan."
The Council of Michigan Foundations identifies six goals for the organization:
- Network: To provide the means for regular sharing of ideas, experiences and expertise among grantmakers.
- Advocate: To represent Michigan grantmakers' interests and concerns with local, state, and national governments.
- Increase: To increase the grantmaking resources of foundations and corporations in Michigan.
- Educate: To provide Michigan grantmakers with educational resources, information and services in order to enhance and improve philanthropy.
- Promote: To inform the public of the importance of contributions of Michigan grantmakers to the citizens of the state and society-at-large.
- Lead: To exercise leadership through facilitating members' responses to needs in the state.
Source: CMF, Our Mission
Ties to the Philanthropic Sector
CMF provides support for Michigan foundations. "A foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports charitable activities in order to serve the common good" (Minnesota Council on Foundations).
There are primarily three types of foundations:
- Independent Foundations - As the most common type of private foundation, independent foundations are founded by an individual, a family, or a group of individuals. They may be operated by the donor or members of the donor's family, or by an independent board.
- Corporate Foundations - Corporate foundations are created and funded by companies as separate legal entities, operated by a board of directors that is usually comprised of company officials. Corporations may establish private foundations with endowments, make periodic contributions from profits, or combine both methods to provide a foundation's resources.
- Community/Public Foundations: Community and other public foundations are publicly supported foundations operated by, and for the benefit of, a specific community or geographical region. Rather than endowing funds to a single organization, funds are received from individual donors who want to bequest their funds to affect the entire community. The foundation is typically governed by a board of local citizens that decide what is the best use of the resources.
Source: Minnesota Council on Foundations
CMF is one of 29 regional associations of grantmakers (RAGs) that exist across the United States. "RAGs are nonprofit membership associations of foundations and related organizations that share a common goal: to strengthen philanthropy in a distinct geographical region" (Forum).
CMF is a member of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. The Forum focuses on supporting RAGs in dealing with issues such as public policy, promoting the growth of new philanthropy, communications/technology, and regional capacity building (Forum). "The Forum of RAGs mission is to promote philanthropy by inspiring and enhancing the leadership capacity of RAGs and their members in promoting the public good" (Ibid).
At present, there are approximately 47,000 foundations in the United States with endowments holding $385 billion. Like other RAGs, CMF assists foundations in its state and represents those foundation members at Forum events.
Key Related Ideas
- Community Foundations
- Corporate Foundations
- Family Foundations
- Independent Foundations
- Social Welfare
- Strategic Alliances
- Trade Associations
Important Related Nonprofit Organizations
- Conference of Michigan Foundations
- Council on Foundations
- Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
- Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
- Independent Sector
- Michigan Nonprofit Association
Related Web Sites
Council of Michigan Foundations: www.cmif.org
Council on Michigan Foundations. 1999 Annual Report. Grand Haven, Michigan: Council on Michigan Foundations, 1999.
Council on Michigan Foundations. Our Mission [online]. Available: http://www.cmif.org/About_Vision.htm. (cited 26 September 2000).
The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. Individual RAGs [online]. Available: http://www.givingforum.org/. (cited 14 October 2000).
Fugate, Sandy. For the Benefit of All: A History of Philanthropy in Michigan. Battle Creek, Michigan: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1997.
Minnesota Council on Foundations. What is Grantmaking and Philanthropy? [online]. Available: www.mcf.org/mcf/whatis/founda.htm. (cited 11 November 2000).
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