By Camille Allen, junior communications associate
CEDAM is excited to welcome Project Rising Tide (PRT) Fellowship Coordinator Sarah Teater to the team! PRT is a Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) program designed to provide at-risk communities with the tools they need to attract business investment and create a sustainable economic development framework. In each Rising Tide “round,” one community in each of the ten Michigan Prosperity Regions is selected using data about poverty, unemployment, renter occupancy and vacancies, cross-matched by population.
Teater will lead the development and management of the PRT fellowship, created to assist each of the Rising Tide communities with capacity building along with building a strong planning, zoning and economic development plan. Each fellow will work with a local advisory group to identify shared objectives and implement transformational projects within their community.
As the PRT fellowship coordinator, Teater will collaborate with these communities to ensure they are able to recruit fellows that meet their specific needs, and will provide support to the fellows as they work in their communities.
She was drawn to this opportunity to return to her home state of Michigan and to support the fellows. “I really like the relational side of work,” Teater said. “It brings me a lot of personal fulfilment, so I was looking for a position where I could play a part in leadership development or mentoring staff and fellows.”
Prior to joining CEDAM, Teater worked at the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment where, as a financial capability program manager, she worked with city departments to embed financial coaching to increase economic stability for vulnerable San Francisco residents. This role involved coordinating with many different stakeholders, defining milestones and overseeing program management.
When it comes to community economic development, Teater values an approach that addresses the multiple factors that go into creating a vibrant community.
“I was interested in getting back into community development work,” Teater said. “I worked at a community development corporation in Oakland for three years, and they take a holistic approach to their work, considering all of the social determinants of health, because for a place to be vibrant many factors need to be considered. There needs to be workforce development, housing options and financial security.”
As she begins her role, Teater is most excited to explore the unique assets and needs of each Rising Tide community, and help them reach their goals.
“I’m eager to see what the communities come up with for their projects. They’re going to look different for each community, so I’m interested to see what they identify and what the fellows come up with as action items to help them address the specific needs of the community. And I’m really excited to support the fellows’ work with the communities to implement these impactful projects.”
With Teater’s experience in community economic development and program management—and her eagerness to help cities implement strategies and reach milestones—we look forward to the success Teater will see through in communities across Michigan.