By Sherri Welch of Crain’s Detroit Business

More often, foundations are helping to set the agenda at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

They have long been part of important conversations with the private and public sectors in Michigan, but they’re stepping up their public profile with an expanding number of sessions at the annual conference on Mackinac Island hosted each spring by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

At this year’s conference set for May 28-31, foundations are hosting — that is, sponsoring and presenting — six of nine sessions on the agenda.

That’s up from five the past two years, four in 2014, two in 2013 and just one in 2012, which was by the Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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