Written by Kaylee Kellogg, Communications Intern

CEDAM board and staff are pleased to recognize the people and organizations this year that have acted as key contributors to the community economic development field. Congratulations to all of our award winners!

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. CEDAM wishes to recognize this year’s recipient, the Lansing Office of Financial Empowerment.

Lansing FEC

After opening in 2013 through a
grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, a project of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Lansing Office of Financial Empowerment is the first of its kind in Michigan. Through a
number of local partnerships, financial coaching, and one-on-one services, they are available help to improve financial stability for members of the community. Between 2013 and 2015, Lansing’s Financial Empowerment Center served nearly 2,700 clients with more than 7,500 free financial counseling sessions, helping clients to reduce their debt by $4.79 million and increase their savings by $328,000. Beyond this success, they are leading by example for other centers opening across Michigan and paving the way for more innovation through local strategic partnerships that serve to empower its residents.

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 Nancy Finegood. Nancy has spent her professional career working to form connections, secure resources, and provide an understanding of the value that healthy and historic neighborhoods bring to Michigan residents and the economy.

Nancy FinegoodNancy understands the full impact of historic preservation, rehabilitation, Main Streets, and other components to sustain healthy neighborhoods and works tirelessly to advocate and secure resources for them. She has served as the Executive Director for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and is  partnered with a number of other organizations, including the Michigan Vacant Property Campaign, CEDAM’s Policy Committee, and the MiNeighborhood Program. She is constantly advocating for resources that protect Michigan neighborhoods, including direct outreach to educate legislators and showcase the full effect of nonprofit and volunteer work.

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 community in which they serve and exemplifies the spirit of national service. This year’s winner is the Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF), located in Grand Rapids. . Despite their large size in serving six counties in Western Michigan and their variety of community programs, they always take time to provide support and guidance to their AmeriCorps members

ICCFICCF has hosted Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps’ members since the programs inception in 2009. As the first point of contact for people at-risk of losing their homes to foreclosure, members serving at ICCF serve a vital role in determining case urgency, answering client questions, readying paperwork, and overseeing all referrals from the Step Forward Michigan portal. In addition, ICCF is participating in the financial empowerment pilot project by utilizing the AmeriCorps program to build the capacity of their VITA free tax assistance program. ICCF is committed to responding to community needs in effective ways and engaging the skills and benefits of their AmeriCorps members in shaping their processes.

Join us next year at the Building Michigan Communities Conference for a variety of great conference sessions related to community economic development, and see who shone in 2016!

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