Federation Member Advocate of the Year:
This award is presented to a Federation member who has played a strong role in carrying out the mission of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families: to unite private, nonprofit human service providers, advocates, customers, individuals and funders to... influence public policy in support of children, families and individuals' reaching their full potential; identify, develop and implement efficient and effective services to Michigan's most vulnerable children and families; and support and enhance the ability of Michigan's private, nonprofit agencies to provide human services.
Richard Watkins, Jr., Executive Director of New Light Child and Family Institute, is presented with the 2017 Federation Member Advocate of the Year award for his tireless outreach efforts with his elected state Representative, who served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommitee on Health and Human Services. Rick connected with Representative Edward Canfield (R-Sebewaing) in a multitude of ways, meeting with him in-person and providing information and data to his office that was instrumental in decision-making related to the State of Michigan’s budget process. Rick also created a campaign within his agency and in the community to share the Federation’s policy and budget priorities with the Chairman. Even when initial responses and reactions were troubling, Rick persevered. His efforts proved to be a pivotal piece of this year’s budgetary success for private child welfare agencies. The Federation staff appreciates Rick for his tenacity in achieving a goal and the unassuming and humbling manner in which he approaches his everyday work.