Mission & History


To create permanent positive change in people’s lives

We enhance the quality of life in southeast Michigan

We promote and facilitate permanent change in the seven counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, Livingston and St. Clair, and we help donors invest in organizations they care about nationwide. We do this by:

  • Making strategic investments in programs and organizations that benefit the region
  • Equipping organizations and the public with knowledge and information that will lead to positive change
  • Building endowment – community capital – to meet our region’s needs today and tomorrow, and
  • Providing expert assistance to donors and their advisors in their charitable planning



The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan was established in 1984 for the betterment of the residents of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. Since then, we’ve come to be defined by the positive impact we’ve helped to create.

To us, southeast Michigan isn’t a geographic region. It’s the place we call home. And because of that, we care deeply about it and have a strong understanding of how our community can be improved. Over the years, we’ve helped create and fund numerous projects — ranging from education to arts and culture to community development — that improve the lives of those who live here.

The Community Foundation is more than an organization. We are passionate professionals striving to make our region the best it can be. We are dedicated to making powerful change in our communities and solving the complex problems facing our region. We are here to help … in perpetuity.

As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1 billion through more than 67,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.

Council of Michigan Foundations
The Council of Michigan Foundations is a nonprofit association of foundations and corporations making charitable grants in Michigan. The Council of Michigan Foundations seeks to enhance and improve philanthropy in Michigan through assisting grantmakers in their work.

Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities
The Funders’ Network exists to inspire, strengthen and expand funding and philanthropic leadership that yield environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically prosperous regions and communities.

Independent Sector
Independent Sector is a nonpartisan coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in the United States.

Michigan Nonprofit Association
The Michigan Nonprofit Association is an organization whose mission is promoting the awareness and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector, and advancing the cause of volunteerism and philanthropy in the state of Michigan.