Michigan Family Forum is a private, non-profit, research and education organization based in Lansing, MI, just blocks from the State Capitol. Our goal is to strengthen Michigan’s families by encouraging sound public policies. To learn more about our purpose and focal issues, please visit our Core Values page. MFF is an independent organization with no affiliation other than voluntarily shared information or collaborative efforts. MFF is independently funded by donations.
Jeff Hewson, Executive Director
Dan Jarvis, Director of Research and Public Policy
Stefan Hull, Special Projects
In the late 1980′s, Focus on the Family had become widely recognized as a national advocate for the value of the traditional family. However, they realized they could not be effectively involved in family issues at the state level. As a result, the concept of independent state family policy councils was born.
Several individuals in Michigan caught the vision to make a difference for families in the state. In late 1989, a board formed and recruited Kent County Probate Judge Randall Hekman as MFF’s first executive director.
From the beginning, Mr. Hekman set a tone for MFF that we continue to pursue: a winsome persuasion. We strive to promote and defend God’s design for the family with conviction and compassion. We believe that there are timeless truths which provide the greatest benefit for all families in our society.
As the organization grew, it actively pursued its family agenda through involvement in many issues, including education, marriage, sex-education and ballot proposals regarding euthanasia and gambling. In 1995, MFF was instrumental in developing an important set of bills to strengthen marriage and provide much needed reforms to Michigan’s unilateral no-fault divorce.
In 1997, following Mr. Hekman’s resignation to pursue another calling, Mr. Michael Harris, a former Kansas state senator, assumed directorship. During his tenure, MFF continued to pursue marriage and family strengthening initiatives. In 2001, Mr. Harris was appointed by the Governor to serve as Magistrate Judge.
The board then selected Mr. Brad Snavely, a member of the board and former government relations director at MFF to serve as executive director. Mr. Snavely brought renewed enthusiasm for MFF’s role in strengthening families and a vision to focus MFF’s energy and resources in areas where they would be most effective: Strengthening Marriage, Promoting Responsible Fatherhood, Protecting Children, Honoring our Elders.
Despite the challenges of reorganization and the current economic climate, MFF believes we are anticipating some of the most significant accomplishments and brightest opportunities we have ever had.
We realize government alone cannot change our culture, but it ought to at least send the right message: strong marriages and families are vital to our society and provide an incredible array of benefits, especially to children. As we encourage our state to adopt sound public policies, we hope to raise the kind of public dialogue that will impact individual lives and renew our culture.