2015 Community Economic Development Award Winners

CEDAM board and staff are pleased to recognize many people and organizations this year as key contributors to the community economic development field. Congratulations to all of our awardees!

Community Economic Development Leader of the Year


Each year CEDAM recognizes a Community Economic Development Leader of the Year: a member who has engaged in creative new programming, been involved in an exciting new development, or has generally proved to be a leader in the field. The past year has been an extraordinary one, and CEDAM would like to recognize two Leaders doing very different work in different sides of the state: Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) in Detroit and Neighborhood Housing Services in Grand Haven.

uniUNI is a model for urban, place-based, community economic development. Located in the Southwest Detroit neighborhood of Springwells Village, UNI has undertaken significant public space development, including restoration of a historic chapel as a community center and the creation or restoration of five public parks and play-scapes. UNI is invested in creating a higher education bound culture in their community and their youth apprenticeship program is one of the largest in Southwest Detroit. For UNI, community beautification is key to a neighborhood’s quality of life. Its youth mural program has created one of the city’s densest collections of public art and ongoing resident-driven efforts against blight. UNI believes that all urban neighborhoods should be generational places to live, work and play.

fecNeighborhood Housing Services (NHS) understands that making homeownership sustainable requires residents who are educated, so while NHS provides homeowner and foreclosure counseling and a DHS navigation site for people to sign up for their benefits, they have also integrated financial empowerment services into the mix. Through a new Financial Empowerment Center, Ottawa County residents can get a free appointment with a financial counselor to make and meet goals like reducing debt, increasing savings and improving credit scores. NHS partnered with the County Treasurer to refer people at risk of tax foreclosure to the Financial Empowerment Center to help them stay in their home, and also with a local judge to refer clients who are transitioning out of the criminal system and need to pay debts and get their financial lives back in order.

Community Economic Development Advocate of the Year


The Community Economic Development Advocate of the Year award goes to an organization or individual who has done the most to advance community economic development in Michigan. This year, CEDAM is recognizing two award winners, as they are both incredibly deserving: Marjorie Green and Jonathan Bradford. Both have spent their careers dedicated to community economic development, served as CEDAM board members and worked to improve Michigan for all of its residents.

marjorie-greenMarjorie has made a huge impact in the CED field across Michigan and Indiana. She spent a number of years at MSHDA as the Director of Community Development and then Director of Multifamily Housing and Construction. More recently she has been known for her work as the Community Investment Development Manager at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI), where she connected millions of dollars of much needed FHLBI funding to some of Michigan’s most renown affordable housing and community investment initiatives carried out by organizations like Avalon Housing, Dwelling Place, ICCF, Goodwill, HomeStretch Housing, and local Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

jonathan-bradfordJonathan has been the President and CEO of the Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) since 1981, starting out with 9 employees reconstructing 3 single family homes a year. ICCF has now constructed or reconstructed over 660 units of housing. Today, ICCF employs 40 talented individuals who serve 2,200 households annually. The organization has become a model for affordable housing and community economic development, as its programs develop attractive ownership and rental housing and provide resident services that enable housing success and broader life accomplishment. Jonathan was also a founder of CEDAM and the first President of its board.

Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps Host Site of the Year


The Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps Host Site of the Year award is presented annually to recognize a MFPC host site dedicated to making a difference in the communities they serve and who exemplifies the spirit of national service. This year’s winner is Northern Homes Community Development Corporation located in Boyne City. Northern Homes is an organization who doesn’t allow its small number of staff to stop it from creating big improvements in communities. Northern Homes was incorporated 1998 and serves ten counties in northern Michigan with their Foreclosure Prevention programs.

Northern Homes has hosted Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps members since the program’s inception in 2009. Executive Director Jane MacKenzie and host site supervisor Alice Yeoman provide excellent support to their members. Current member Amy Evans is in her fourth year of service and has had the opportunity to take a variety of NeighborWorks trainings and attend MSHDA housing counseling certification due to Northern Homes’ support. Member Marsha Stahmer, who is in her first year of service with MFPC, has also received MSHDA housing counseling certification. It is clear that Northern Homes understands the value of MFPC members and invests in their professional development.

The MFPC members at Northern Homes build capacity in a variety of ways. Amy and Marsha facilitate financial literacy classes, host community forums in their service area, build relationships with County Treasurers’ offices and streamline the intake and triage process. “The AmeriCorps members have helped Northern Homes provide more services to more people. As a result of their service, we have been able to host 5 community outreach events to help us reach more clients and develop more community partnerships” says Jane MacKenzie, Executive Director.