Community Development Fellows Add Capacity to Nine Rising Tide Communities

December 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Teater, Community Development Fellowship Coordinator, CEDAM
517.485.3588 ext. 1949 |

Community Development Fellows Add Capacity to Nine Rising Tide Communities

Fellows will bring stakeholders together to implement transformational projects

LANSING, MI—This week, nine Rising Tide communities welcome a fellow to add capacity in their community. Over the course of the year, the community development fellows will collaborate with local partners to implement community economic development projects that will help their communities grow and thrive.

“We’re hoping that they are able to serve as connectors—not only connectors of people and stakeholders within the communities, but also connectors to resources at the state level and at the local level, and maybe uncovering partnerships that haven’t been explored to this point,” said Katharine Czarnecki, Senior Vice President of Community Development at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The Rising Tide communities were selected using data connected to poverty, unemployment, renter occupancy and vacancies and cross-matched by population. The Round 2 Rising Tide Communities are: Adrian, Albion, Beaverton/Gladwin, Eaton Rapids, Hamtramck, Ionia, Manistee, Marlette and West Branch. Ontonagon is still seeking a fellow.

“I am most excited to see how our community transforms and how they can really own their project and run with it,” said Mary Bickel, the community development fellow in West Branch. “I look forward to setting up the structure and putting strategies in place that the community members can follow to set themselves up for success.”

Feedback from MEDC’s clients made it clear that human capital and financial resources are a challenge for local communities.

“We’ve got many of our local leaders wearing so many different hats, and they all recognize and agree that there are so many initiatives that they would love to get going to move their communities forward, but they’re busy trying to run the day to day of the community,” said Czarnecki. “Bringing capacity to the local level is our number one goal for the fellows.”

The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) is facilitating the fellowship program. The MEDC, the Talent and Economic Development (TED) team, the Talent Investment Agency and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) have all committed assets to engage the chosen Rising Ride communities to help them maximize their economic potential.