2013 Innovation & Leadership Awards – Outstanding Commissioner
Nominated by Michigan Community Service Commission
“Rob has over the years been our champion and voice in front of elected officials and has galvanized our philanthropic community to see the impact and win-win capacity of national service. Michigan communities and its local leaders owe him a debt of gratitude for his genuine and continuing commitment to all Michigan citizens.” — Diana Algra, MCSC Commissioner
Rob Collier has been a service champion for 40 years. Beginning his career as an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving the Michigan prison system, Rob has continued to address community challenges over the years as a foundation program officer, city manager, grant director, head of Rotary Charities, and most recently as the President/CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF). Since taking the helm of CMF 10+ years ago, Rob has provided guidance and leadership to several critical organization boards, including the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). He first began serving in 2000, has been re-appointed four times, and currently serves as Vice-Chair.
In 13 years as a Commissioner, Rob has been invaluable to the MCSC. As Vice-Chair, Rob plays a key leadership role on the board. In addition, he was instrumental in navigating the MCSC through two administration changes – Granholm and Snyder. Rob successfully secured gubernatorial participation on the MCSC board in the form of First Gentleman Mulhern, Honorary Co-Chairs Gov. Snyder and Sue Snyder, and Commissioner Calley (wife of Lt. Governor). Additionally, Rob ensures national service and the MCSC remain a priority for legislators and nonprofits by advocating during budget concerns, discussing national service in D.C., and frequently highlights MCSC work. Rob’s leadership has been instrumental in crafting the Governor’s/Mayor’s proposal to expand the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program to other Detroit neighborhoods and to connect it to the Governor’s Neighborhood Stabilization initiative. Other critical programs supported by Rob include the Office of Foundation Liaison, which identifies and brokers strategic partnerships between the state and foundations. As a result of Rob’s guidance, the Foundation Liaison successfully raised match funds last year to support a new Veterans AmeriCorps program.
As one of the most experienced Commissioners on the MCSC board, Rob has had a pivotal role in many of the MCSC’s initiatives, programs, and more. He has helped to fundraise nearly $1,250,000 for the annual Governor’s Service Awards, the proceeds of which help to fund various programs of the MCSC. Additionally, Rob was the driving force behind the development of the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps, an AmeriCorps program created in 2009 to help combat the state’s foreclosure crisis. Since that time, the program has provided foreclosure prevention services to nearly 40,000 residents and financial literacy training to more than 700 residents. In the past year, Rob has also helped to create the Michigan Veterans Coalition Outreach AmeriCorps program, which works to connect Michigan veterans with their entitled state and federal benefits to combat the negative socio-economic conditions so many veterans face. More than $100,000 in match funds was required to support this new program and through his work with the Office of Foundation Liaison, Rob helped to raise all the necessary funds.
Rob is a true gem to the MCSC and the state of Michigan. His selfless dedication and determined commitment are one of the reason’s the MCSC has been so successful and we thank Rob for his guidance, leadership, time, talent, and drive.” — Carolyn Bloodworth, MCSC Board Chair
Aside from the program work, Rob led the educational efforts to the state’s legislators in recent years when the MCSC’s State General Funding was in jeopardy. During Michigan’s severe economic recession, Rob ensured the state continued to invest $720,000 for the administration of the MCSC. Rob is a tireless champion for service in many ways.