The Center for Michigan is a “think-and-do” tank founded by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power in early 2006. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Center’s objective is to make Michigan a better place by by encouraging greater understanding and involvement in policy issues among the state’s citizens and making sure their voices are regularly heard. We do this by regularly calling forth citizen views, amplifying those views and projecting them into the halls of power.

Bridge Magazine: We believe an informed public is the iron core of a democratic society. Unfortunately, an information gap has opened up between our citizens and our leaders. We are striving to provide independent, balanced, thoughtful and high-quality journalism: a survival guide for Michiganders with a stake in our state’s future. We work collaboratively with various media to deepen and widen public consumption of in-depth reporting. Bridge Magazine informs Michigan residents through fact-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism that identifies and watchdogs critical issues to help the public – and Michigan’s government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors – navigate civic life. We focus on in-depth explanatory and watchdog reporting in diminishing supply as commercial newspapers’ traditional business model is in decline. Bridge publishes near-daily and is available free of charge online – via web, email and social media. Dedicated beats include state politics and policy, urban affairs (especially Detroit), education, environment, data/economy/demographics, and health/health care/mental health.

Public Engagement: We believe the Michigan political system has in large part failed to live up to its promise because of excessive partisanship and the outsized influence of powerful single-interest groups. A result has been that many ordinary citizens feel left out in the cold by our current politics. In addition to Bridge’s independent, award-winning professional journalism, the Center has executed Michigan’s largest-scale public engagement programs (involving more than 60,000 diverse statewide residents) for more than a decade. The Center’s public engagement work has called forth citizen views through interactive, small-group community conversations, statistically valid polling and other engagement tools resulting so far in eight published “public agenda” reports to statewide leaders. The public agenda reports have amplified public insights for fixing Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure, improving Michigan’s education system, and assuring good and responsive government. Campaigns in both major political parties have cited the Center’s public agenda reports in building policy platforms. While the Center has framed a wide range of policy issues and choices, it does not engage in lobbying or advocate for particular policy changes.

Organization: Founded in 2006, The Center for Michigan is incorporated in Michigan as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Officers include: Philip H. Power, Chairman; John Bebow, President and CEO; Kathleen K. Power, Vice President; Loyal A. Eldridge III, Secretary; Karla A. Campbell, Treasurer. Directors include: Paul Hillegonds; Michael Jandernoa; Dr. Glenda D. Price; Douglas Rothwell; Dr. Marilyn Schlack; Paula Cunningham.

We are fortunate to have attracted a group of distinguished Michigan citizens to serve on our Steering Committee. These include:

  • 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

Inquiries may be directed to John Bebow or Phil Power


Thank you to the following generous funders of the Center for Michigan’s public engagement programs and Bridge Magazine journalism:

  • Alticor/Amway Corporation
  • Americana Foundation
  • Bartsch Memorial Trust
  • Bosch Community Fund
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan
  • Consumers Energy Foundation
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Dominos
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • Essel and Menakka Bailey
  • Facebook Membership Grant
  • Flinn Foundation
  • Fred Keller Frey Foundation 
  • Glassen Memorial Foundation
  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • James and Donna Brooks
  • Jim S. Gilmore Foundation
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • Masco Corporation Foundation
  • McGregor Fund
  • Meijer Corporation
  • Michael and Sue Jandernoa
  • Michigan Association of United Ways
  • Mosaic Foundation
  • Philip and Kathleen Power
  • Philip Miller
  • Porter Family Foundation
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • Southwest Michigan First
  • The Power Foundation
  • Van Dusen Family Fund
  • Wege Foundation
  • William Parfet
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Zero Divide-Renaissance Journalism 

More than 3,000 individual Bridge Magazine readers and donors. Thank you!