At CEDAM, we coordinate actionable projects within four distinct program areas to connect Michigan communities with people and organizations willing to offer support. Through these collaborative programs, we are able to not only conceptualize positive change for our state, but directly take action and improve our communities’ economic and social well-being.
Our AmeriCorps programs connect AmeriCorps members to communities across Michigan to help build capacity at nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and government entities. CEDAM hosts both AmeriCorps State and AmeriCorps VISTA programs, which are part of a federal program meant to help communities tackle their toughest challenges. Through these programs, we pair members who would like to gain professional development experience with host sites that are looking for additional support with anti-poverty or financial stability programming.
We believe that wealth-building opportunities should seek to lift communities out of poverty—not exploit them. That’s why we’ve established Economic Inclusion programs to help Michigan residents achieve financial stability one step at a time. We work with our members to organize support initiatives such as financial counseling, saving opportunities and consumer protections advocacy. Additionally, within this program, the Michigan Economic Impact Coalition (MEIC) convenes individuals and VITA sites to focus specifically on expanding access to tax credit and asset building opportunities for Michigan families.
CEDAM’s Community Development Fellowship places 15 experienced individuals in communities across Michigan that are engaged or certified in Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) to help them achieve their economic development potential. These fellows serve for 15 months across a wide range of projects pertaining to their own professional experience and ambitions — past fellows have led projects in areas such as parks and recreation, zoning, sustainability and inclusion. Similar to our AmeriCorps program, CEDAM recruits both fellows and host site communities. The program is managed with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with the goal of expanding organizational capacity and boosting collaboration.
A voice for all regions, Rural Partners of Michigan (RPM) focuses on community and economic development specifically as it pertains to rural areas. From advocating for policies that impact these towns to hosting the annual Michigan Small Town and Rural Development Conference, this program connects agents of change with rural communities across the state.