Foundation Liaison, Office of the Governor, State of Michigan
Karen Aldridge-Eason was appointed to the position of foundation liaison for the Office of the Governor of the State of Michigan in 2003. The nonpartisan Office of Foundation Liaison, created through an agreement between the Council of Michigan Foundations and the State of Michigan, was the first state office in the country devoted to creating strategic partnerships between philanthropy and state government.
In this role, Ms. Aldridge-Eason has worked with 16 state agencies and more than 50 foundations leveraging resources and knowledge across sectors in the areas of early childhood, education, land use, workforce development, and health and human services. In addition to creating partnerships in Michigan, Ms. Aldridge-Eason has been an advisor, coach and guest speaker around the formation of similar offices nationally and internationally.
Ms. Aldridge-Eason spent nearly 10 years as the program director for the Flint Area Program at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation before assuming her current duties. In addition to her philanthropic experience, she has an extensive background in public service. Immediately prior to joining the foundation, she directed the Office of Health and Human Services within the Michigan Department of Management and Budget, and earlier in her career served as the budget director for the city of Flint, Mich. Prior positions included serving as acting budget director for the Michigan Department of Commerce and as a legislative assistant in the Michigan State Senate.
Ms. Aldridge-Eason also served as an administrator for a mission boarding school in Liberia, West Africa. Ms. Aldridge-Eason received a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Michigan and a masters of public administration from Western Michigan University. Among her awards and recognitions, in 2008, she was selected as the recipient of the outstanding alumni achievement award by the School of Public Policy and Administration, Western Michigan University.
Ms. Aldridge-Eason has served on several nonprofit boards and committees, including the Michigan Public Health Institute, the Michigan Community Service Commission, and the advisory committee of CyberMichigan, a former entity of Altarum. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Market for Ascension Health Ministry. She is also a certified community coach for The Harwood Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to sparking fundamental change in American public life.