About

Mission: 

For all state residents, diverse civic stakeholders and philanthropy, the Center for Michigan (the “Center”) and its newsrooms – Bridge Michigan & BridgeDetroit – drive healthy and informed policy dialogue and problem-solving by publishing Michigan’s most impactful nonprofit public service journalism and community information in the face of traditional newspaper decline. The Center focuses on in-depth explanatory and watchdog reporting while working collaboratively with various media to deepen and widen public consumption of in-depth reporting. The Center’s goal is to provide independent, balanced, thoughtful and high-quality journalism: a survival guide for Michiganders with a stake in our state’s future.

Organization background:

Founded in 2006, the Center for Michigan is a nonpartisan “think and do tank” and “citizenship company” which seeks to improve citizen engagement and public education through in-depth journalism and engagement through Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit. The Center is incorporated in Michigan as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.

The Center combines the results of public engagement and journalism to frame and advance public policy initiatives to improve educational opportunity, healthy communities, and well-functioning and representative government. For the past decade, the Center for Michigan’s public engagement campaigns have gathered the voices of more than 75,000 statewide residents and amplified citizen priorities in the halls of power through annual “Citizen’s Agenda” reports. In 2011, the Center launched Bridge Michigan, which has grown into one of the nation’s leading examples of nonprofit journalism as mainstream newspapers have dramatically declined, earning over 15 million readers in 2020 alone. In 2019, Bridge Michigan received its fourth consecutive Michigan Press Association “Newspaper of the Year” award and a Michigan Emmy Award for Best Documentary. BridgeDetroit, the Center’s most recent project, launched in May 2020 as an independent newsroom. BridgeDetroit has already received national acclaim in its work to address long standing racial inequities in professional newsgathering and community information. Both publications seek to fill the public information void, and lift up traditionally unheard stories, for the civic betterment of the communities served.

Current programming

Bridge Michigan: At the heart of Bridge Michigan’s model is a commitment to fact-based, nonpartisan journalism as a crucial resource for good decisions about public policy and civic life. Bridge Michigan informs Michigan readers and leaders by explaining the how and the why behind the daily headlines with in-depth reporting otherwise in danger of extinction as commercial newspapers rapidly decline. Bridge Michigan publishes nearly every day and is available free of charge via web, email and social media. Bridge Michigan is at the forefront of developing and understanding best practices for nationwide nonprofit journalism business models. Bridge Michigan continually seeks to apply that knowledge for the civic betterment of Michigan communities. 

BridgeDetroit: BridgeDetroit provides Detroit with credible, highly relevant news and community information – driven by authentic and diverse public engagement and citizen priorities – to help city residents. Detroit’s 700,000 residents deserve a community-rooted, transparent, innovative, diversely staffed news organization to deepen and improve their access to information and truth. The city’s most vulnerable – the poorest, least educated, and most isolated – depend on a splintered array of local media organizations, special interests, and unaccountable social media mechanisms for vital civic news and information.

Board of Directors:

  • Philip H. Power, Chairman
  • John Bebow, President and CEO
  • Kathleen K. Power, Vice President
  • Loyal A. Eldridge III, Secretary
  • Karla A. Campbell, Treasurer
  • Paul Hillegonds
  • Michael Jandernoa
  • Dr. Glenda D. Price
  • Douglas Rothwell
  • Dr. Marilyn Schlack
  • Paula Cunningham

Steering Committee: 

  • Rob Collier, Former President of Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Richard T. Cole, Chair, Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, Michigan State University
  • Paul Courant, Former Provost; University Professor, University of Michigan
  • Paul Dimond, Of Counsel, Miller Canfield
  • Mike Flanagan, Former Michigan Superintendent of schools
  • Elisabeth Gerber, Professor, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
  • Larry Good, Chairman, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
  • Steve Hamp, Chair, Michigan Education Excellence Foundation and the New Economy Initiative
  • Paul Hillegonds, Former Senior Vice President, DTE Energy; former President, Detroit Renaissance, and former Speaker, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Mike Jandernoa, managing partner, Bridge Street Capitol
  • Anne Mervenne, President, Mervenne & Co.
  • Bill Parfet, Chairman and CEO of MPI Research
  • Milt Rohwer, President Emeritus, The Frey Foundation
  • Doug Rothwell, President, Business Leaders for Michigan
  • Craig Ruff, Senior Policy Fellow, Public Sector Consultants
  • John A. (“Joe”) Schwarz, Former member of Congress and former Michigan State Senator
  • Jan Urban-Lurain, President, Spectra Data and Research, Inc., and Senior Advisor, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
  • Cynthia Wilbanks, Vice President for Government Relations, University of Michigan

Funders

The Center for Michigan, and its projects, Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit, are funded by numerous foundations, sponsors and more than 8,000 individual donors. We accept donations, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

To view a list of Center for Michigan/Bridge Michigan donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year please click here. You can also view a list of all BridgeDetroit donors who give more than $5,000 or more per year by clicking here

IRS Form 990’s