CMF joins with nonprofit group for major conference


    The Council of Michigan Foundations is teaming up with the nation’s largest nonprofit coalition, Independent Sector, to present a joint conference in Detroit Nov. 4-6.

    Between 900 and 1,000 people are expected to attend, said Rob Collier, CMF president and CEO. The conference theme is “Challenging Times, New Opportunities.”

    This is the first time that Independent Sector has brought its annual meeting to Michigan, he said. The CMF sponsors an annual conference aimed at foundations in the state.

    “It just made sense, when we heard they were coming to Michigan, that we integrate our conference into their conference,” Collier said. 

    Speakers include the heads of national nonprofit organizations and grant-makers, such as the United of Way of America, the American Red Cross and the NAACP, as well as Jeff Raikes, president of the Gates Foundation.

    A special luncheon is planned for Nov. 4 for Michigan attendees, featuring speakers Tom Tierney, chairman and co-founder of the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting company, and Soji Adelaja, director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University. Their topic will be: “Achieving Higher Impact in the ‘New’ Opportunities in Michigan’s Economy.”

    The conference will include the opportunity for as many as 20 site visits to Detroit locations such as Freedom House and Forgotten Harvest. It offers 40 breakout sessions and several plenary sessions and speakers.

    “There’s never been a more important time for the nonprofit sector and foundations to collaborate on new approaches to doing business,” Collier said.

    “A lot of the conference will be showcasing initiatives, not only in Michigan, but around the country.”

    For example, one of the speakers is Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, who will be presented with Independent Sector’s 2009 John W. Gardner Leadership Award.

    The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is hosting both the conference and hotel accommodations.

    On the Web, visit for more information.

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