CEDAM and Partners Lead Michigan Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Consortium

On Friday, November 3, organizations from across the state of Michigan representing community foundations, nonprofits and local governments met to discuss the future of Children’s Saving Accounts (CSAs) in Michigan. CSAs are long-term savings or investment accounts that help children (ages 0-18) and their families, especially those from low-income families, build savings for the future. CSAs:

  • Provide incentives to grow savings, such as initial deposits, savings matches or prize-linked savings and;
  • are usually used for postsecondary education (e.g. college, vocational/technical schools), though other possible uses include homeownership and financing a small business.

Led by Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), Barry Community Foundation and City of Lansing – Office of Financial Empowerment, the role of this consortium is to advance the field of CSAs in Michigan. The Consortium spent the day discussing how they can bring CSAs to their local communities, tackle asset building policy issues in Michigan and ways to support their local CSA efforts.

When asked why organizations were inspired to launch a CSA program, representatives mentioned that they feel CSAs are a tool to end generational poverty, give low-income families hope for their child’s future, combat the student loan crisis and create communities of caring.

A new report from Prosperity Now, Investing in Dreams, found the following CSA benefits:


Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 1.44.09 PM

The Michigan Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Consortium plans to host its next meeting in mid-February. Interested organizations that want to learn more or join the conversation happening right now about CSAs can contact  for additional information.

From Youth Programs to Land Use Projects, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives Reflects on a Successful Year

By Camille Allen, CEDAM Communications Intern

Many urban programs are directed at youth, but it is not often that we see these programs driven by youth themselves. For CEDAM Member Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI), this is nothing out of the ordinary. This past year, over 1,500 adolescents engaged in the organization’s leadership programs, which include youth designed and facilitated workshops on substance abuse, movies in the park and a school lunch improvement campaign.

Part of UNI’s mission is indigenous leadership, meaning they aim to have a staff that is more reflective of the community it serves, and provide the youth of Detroit with leadership positions in these programs that ensures that they will be able grow into positions with more responsibility. UNI puts young people at the forefront of their movement, and this philosophy is strongly reflected in their video titled Why Youth:

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with executive director Christine Bell to discuss UNI’s annual breakfast, a day for the organization, along with guest speakers and members of the community, to discuss successes from the past year and plans for the one ahead. As 2017 comes to a close, it is clear that Detroit, and the state of Michigan, have much to be proud of when it comes to this nonprofit organization. IMG_0195

Recognized for their youth-centric philosophy, UNI was deemed a lead agency for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent this past summer, providing nearly two-hundred youth individuals with work experience. The organization brings individuals into the workforce through their community-based programs including their Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project, their Urban Forestry and Recreation program and their Apprenticeship Program which places youth in local businesses and organizations that correlate to their career goals for the future. In addition to being named a lead organization, UNI was the only organization in the entire city of Detroit to utilize America Saves, a savings program aimed at teaching children about banking and saving.

“All of our young people have opened banking and savings accounts,” Bell said.

Their youth has collectively saved $92,000 dollars and pledged to use their savings for education. This pledge largely sets them apart from other programs which do not prioritize saving for education. Not only were they first in the city to use this program, but they are one of thirty organizations in the nation to implement it.

In addition to youth development, UNI focuses on land use and economic development. Through their Land Stewardship Program, residents identify vacant lots they would like revitalized and UNI supports them in the restoration process. Bell stresses that they try to create a sense of self-sufficiency in the community.IMG_0179

“Our goal is to get residents to a point where they can care for the land themselves,” Bell said.

This past year 55 lots were beautified and they have claimed over 150 for the long-term stewardship of the residents.  This year their Green Team, which is part of their Urban Forestry and Recreation Program, redeveloped and beautified three pocket-parks in the city, creating safe spaces for children and families to enjoy.

Just as much as the organization strives to beautify the area and get the best use out of its land, they also care a great deal about justice in the community. This is reflected in their ongoing project to renovate the Lawndale Center. The Lawndale Center is set to become the first community-based justice center in the state, with future tenants including Lakeshore Legal Aid and the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center. This center will provide an accessible way to address crime and reconnect people with their communities.

This year UNI made significant progress on the Lawndale Center renovation, and a unique aspect of this ongoing renovation is its participatory design process. This allows stakeholders and community members to have a say in the design of the center and influence the outcome of the project.

“There is nothing we’ve done that hasn’t come from the community,” Bell said. “We believe that residents know what the problems are in their community, and need support solving those problems and have a better understanding of how to do so.”

IMG_0171Bell also discussed some of the organization’s plans for 2018. In addition to beginning the renovation process on the other half of the Lawndale Center, UNI plans to develop a community land trust. Through their partnership with ProsperUS Detroit, a community development organization that focuses on entrepreneurship training and business services, they will be hosting classes and looking into new ways to provide residents with more economic opportunities.


With all of this in store, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives has given us much to look forward to in the upcoming year.

GOP Tax Plan Unveils Corporate Cuts, Consolidated Tax Brackets & Cuts to Economic Development Programs

On Thursday, November 2, House Republicans introduced their plan for tax reform. Entitled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the plan cuts corporate income taxes, consolidates income tax brackets for individuals and families and makes cuts to multiple key economic development programs. Below are highlights of the GOP tax plan:

  • Permanently lowers the corporate tax rate to 20%
  • Raises the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly
  • Limits the Mortgage Interest Deduction to loans up to $500,000 on newly purchased homes going forward
  • Eliminates personal exemptions
  • Increases the child tax credit to $1,600
  • Creates two new $300 tax credits, but they would be in effect only for five years and would not be refundable. As reported by CNN Money, the credits would be for non-child dependents and for each spouse if they file jointly
  • According to CNN Politics, individuals would be able to deduct local and state property taxes, but only up to $10,000

Under the proposed plan, income tax brackets are consolidated into four:

  • 12% (on the first $45,000 of taxable income for individuals; $90,000 for married couples)
  • 25% (starts at $45,000 for individuals; $90,000 for married couples)
  • 35% (starts at $200,000 for individuals; $260,000 for married couples)
  • 39.6% (starts at $500,000 for individuals; $1 million for married couples)

Other repeals and eliminations in the plan include:

  • State and local tax deductions
  • Alternative minimum tax
  • Estate tax, phasing it out entirely in six years
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Medical expense deduction
  • Historic Tax Credit
  • New Markets Tax Credit

The GOP tax plan specifically retains the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, but it does repeal the tax exemption for private activity bonds, including multifamily tax-exempt bonds.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Johnson Amendment is also repealed allowing tax-exempt nonprofits to endorse candidates and engage in politics “so long as the charity organizations are engaging in political speech in the ordinary course of business and spending a “de minimis” amount of money on that speech.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the legislation is estimated to increase the national deficit by $1.51 trillion over a decade. The NHLIC points out that increasing the deficit in this way will likely lead to deep spending cuts in the future to important domestic programs, including affordable housing and community development programs.

The goal for the House Ways and Means committee is to start considering the plan next week, with the full House considering the bill the week of November 13.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider its version of the tax reform legislation, which is expected to be more moderate, the week of November 13 with a full Senate vote before Thanksgiving. After working out the differences between the two bills, Congress’ goal is to send a final version to the President by the end of the year.

Talking Equity and Destination: Vibrant Communities with James Crowder

For community development organizations, practitioners and advocates; developers and housing providers, equity should be at the forefront of our neighborhood revitalization strategies. We already know this, but how successful are we at implementing equitable strategies into practice? Is equity actually the focus of our organizations’ community development strategies? Are we leaving anyone out of the conversation?

In his Destination: Vibrant Communities & Financial Empowerment Summit session Equitable Development Strategies: Learnings From Philadelphia, James Crowder of PolicyLink will facilitate an honest discussion about equity in community development, and give insight into successful equitable strategies.

Crowder has worked in the affordable housing and community development field for the length of his career, and says that improving the quality of life for low-income families in distressed communities of color is the overarching mission that drives his work.

james_crowderIf we head back to where Crowder launched his career, we’d land in New York where he started at New York City Housing Preservation and Development in a fellowship program. He had the opportunity to work in many facets of the agency, working with homeowners to encourage them to take out loans to improve their homes, strategic planning, preservation as well as working on LIHTC applications.

Next for Crowder was BCT Partners, a black-owned and led consulting firm.

“We were fortunate enough to have the technical assistance contract for choice neighborhoods,” Crowder said. “[We were] working with choice neighborhood grantees across the county to help them better implement their choice neighborhood plans.”

Following BCT Partners, Crowder was a program officer at LISC and focused on place based neighborhood revitalization in West Philadelphia. Today at PolicyLink, an organization focused on advancing racial equity, Crowder is a Senior Associate working on several projects around the country.

“We define equity as just and fair inclusion in a society where everyone is able to reach their full potential,” Crowder said. “The way that manifests itself in my work is primarily through different projects.”

One of those projects is All-In Cities, where he works with coalitions and city leaders in places like Fresno, Sacramento, Cincinnati and more to advance equity. The second focuses on economic inclusion in southern states. “[We’re] working in five states with partners to first better understand the barriers that folks are facing to getting employment,” Crowder said. The goal is to then develop policy campaigns in an effort to dismantle some of those barriers.

For him, now is the time to take action.

“Our country is changing. Demographics are changing. Our country is going to be primarily people of color by 2044. And the longer that we wait to invest in communities of color and people of color, the longer we do a disservice to our country,” Crowder said.

For Crowder, the focus on equity is as much about economics as it is morality.

“It’s in our best interest to invest in equity now. If we want to continue to be competitive in the 21st century economy moving forward — that’s why it’s critical to me,” Crowder said. “We can talk about the moral case and the injustice of the past and the housing policies that have gotten us to the segregated poverty and blight — we can dwell on that and talk about that all day long. There is a sufficient body of research on that already — ultimately, this is where we are right now. What can we do right now to get ready for the inevitable shift in this country?”

With a breadth of experience in the field, Crowder will lead an important discussion enabling attendees to realize concrete ways to move forward.

“The session is going to offer a frank discussion on the status of where things are in Michigan and some promising practices that other localities have done to address some of these issues, and space and time for folks to have focused conversations on what it would take to turn the needle there in Michigan.”

Follow this link for more information and to register for Destination: Vibrant Communities & Financial Empowerment Summit. 

Staff Member Feature: Brian McGrain Celebrates 11 Years at CEDAM

Brian McGrain, CEDAM’s Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer, isn’t exactly the new kid in town.

He’s celebrating 11 years at CEDAM, though his work first started here in 1999 as an intern when he was in graduate school. We don’t want to spoil his whole story, however, so check out our latest Staff Member Feature video below. Congrats, Brian!



Keeping Up with the Corps: Part 1

CEDAM proudly hosts a fresh cohort of more than 30 people dedicated to improving Michigan’s communities through two AmeriCorps programs: the Michigan Financial Opportunity Corps (MFOC) and the Rural Opportunity VISTA Program. Members in the MFOC facilitate financial education classes and events, and members in the VISTA program serve to build capacity for organizations reducing poverty in rural areas. These are just two of the many AmeriCorps programs that contribute to over 600 full-time service members in the 2017-18 term that serve to reduce the causes of poverty in Michigan.

While other AmeriCorps programs will match accepted individuals to a host site for their service, CEDAM is unique in relying on member organizations to recruit their own AmeriCorps members. This has proven essential in the program’s integration and acceptance into the tightly-knit communities across the state and gives the program a broad range of representation for the communities that exist in Michigan. Our members are equipped with the tremendous resources available to them as members of AmeriCorps and CEDAM as well as in-depth understandings of the poverty and needs that they are addressing.

Kate Lietz, VISTA Member

KateLietzGreetings! I’m Kate Lietz, and I first heard of AmeriCorps more than 10 years ago when I served on a trail crew partnering with AmeriCorps and the Student Conservation Association. My current position was previously held by a woman who participates in my organic farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program. She and I both share a passion for quality, healthful food and it was through her that I applied and accepted my assignment with the Lakeshore Food Club.

The food club, which functions very much like a regular grocery store, opens its doors in October. Once in operation, the food club will be primarily volunteer-run, so a big part of my focus will be recruiting and training volunteer staff to manage nearly every aspect of the club. Since the majority of the club’s food is being purchased through Feeding America and other distributors, I will also be working to secure additional and ongoing funding.

I’m excited to work with community members that share my enthusiasm for food, food access and healthy lifestyles. I’ve already learned so much in just a few weeks connecting with folks in the community, some who I knew previously and many I am just beginning to meet. There is a lot of love and buzz around this project and I am curious to see its evolution as the food club gets off the ground.

Jaime Junior, MFOC Member

Jaime JuniorI’m Jaime Junior, a 41-year-old mother of one and a native Detroiter with Cerebral Palsy. My primary reason for wanting to serve with AmeriCorps is that as a person with a disability I understand the feelings of helplessness and being marginalized, so I think that I am in a unique position to help others in my community. My thinking is that my tenacity or keep-it-moving spirit, if you will, could inspire people to do just that! Reach higher, be better and make it easier to start the conversation about overcoming a seemingly bleak situation. Essentially, giving out of my own need.

My project focuses on creating financial empowerment by providing access to information through the facilitation of financial literacy workshops and promoting financial goal setting and savings. I am looking forward to helping people gain access to information and developing skills to better manage their money and leverage resources available to them so that they can save and grow financially. Even if its twenty dollars, they will feel better and more in control of their situations and ultimately be more self-sufficient.

My vision for the community is to make the “money” conversation more palatable and inclusive. I envision the reshaping of whole communities because empowered people make for more engaged neighbors; thriving communities and eventually, a better quality of life for our prioritized populations.

Amber Wiechec, MFOC Member

AmberMy name is Amber Wiechec and I am a CEDAM AmeriCorps Member serving at United Way of Saginaw County. During my service term, I will be promoting financial stability through facilitating financial education classes, hosting a Show Me the Money Day event, and coordinating the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program within Saginaw County.

I fell into the AmeriCorps program by chance more than anything. I recently graduated from college and was job searching, as you do, and felt unsatisfied with the positions I was applying for. Straight out of college a job is a job, but I really wanted to do something where I could actually feel that what I was doing mattered. I had no idea what AmeriCorps was when I applied to the listing for United Way of Saginaw County, but I knew that I met all of the listed requirements and that was exciting enough.

What I am looking forward to the most is being able to make a direct impact on the lives of others. I’ve already jumped head first into VITA, and while there are a few setbacks going into this season the volunteer response that I have already received is highly encouraging. I’ve also been able to make some headway in facilitating financial education classes and will officially be teaching my first class in just a couple of weeks. I look forward to improving the financial stability of Saginaw County residents during my year of service!

Ryan Bond, VISTA Member

I was influenced to submit an AmeriCorps VISTA application by the vast array of experiences that a close friend had during her AmeriCorps year. I selected the opportunity in Grand Haven due to factors that aligned with recent research in Germany and the U.S as well as my plans to explore future career options in urban/rural planning and community development.

The largest project of my first few weeks here has involved outreach for our annual ArtWalk, a collaboration of the lakeshore art and business communities in a collective celebration of art. There are over 150 individual works of art this year spread across the downtown area that actively engage the residents of Grand Haven and draw many visitors. This event also infuses downtown businesses with increased sales, which is a much needed “off-season” catalyst for the primarily summer tourist economy. Even at this early stage in my year of service I have already had several occasions to meet with business owners and leaders who have brought significant impact to the city by supporting this annual event. ArtWalk has been an excellent “initiation” mechanism into active community engagement in Grand Haven, and I have been consistently treated with respect and gratitude for my service and goals for the coming year. The event has caused me to focus on future projects and acquainted me with the challenges and rewards of serving in this region.

Outreach and community engagement are the primary objectives in my present role in Grand Haven, and I’ve presented ideas for multiple projects to implement during my year in Grand Haven. I wish to establish a firm internship program with colleges and high schools where students will be able to gain experience through volunteer and community service initiatives. I also hope to establish a conduit of innovative partnerships to bolster and enhance the mission of Grand Haven Main Street: “to strengthen the economic base of our vibrant historic business district through community efforts and events, and public and private partnerships.”

Where Detroit Happens: A Block by Block Tour

On Wednesday, September 20, I drove down to Detroit to participate in day three of CDAD’s Community Development Week. Over the course of the week CEDAM’s partner, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, hosted tours, workshops and other events to promote community development careers, practices and projects. Sessions included: Who’s Got Next? Careers in Community Development; 1967 Placemaking Reception; ERAC/CE Racial Equity Training; Where Detroit Happens Block by Block Tour; Race, Representation and Leadership: Cultivating Leadership for the Future of Community Development and finally, Capacity Building Day.

The Where Detroit Happens Block by Block Tour on day three was led by the Detroit Experience Factory, a nonprofit organization located in Detroit. Kaylin, our tour guide, took us through Detroit by bus and provided history and context as we passed by and through different neighborhoods and historical landmarks.

Our tour also made stops in each of the seven districts in Detroit, where we were met by CDAD members to talk about their organizations and see and learn about their impactful community development projects in Detroit. Let’s take a look at each:

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (District 1)

Location: 19800 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48223

GRDC supports the five Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods in northwest Detroit. Supporting retail entrepreneurs is an important focus area, and they seek to not only attract new businesses to the area but support existing ones as well. They initiate capacity building efforts within all of the neighborhoods, seek to preserve and renovate vacant homes and detail and track available properties. A few notable businesses and restaurants to check out: Pages Bookshop, River Bistro and Detroit Vegan Soul.

Focus: Hope (District 2)

Location: 1200 Oakman Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48238

Focus: Hope’s initiatives focus on food, careers and community. They provide low-income seniors with food packages, and seek to address healthy living and basic needs. Additionally, they provide work readiness support, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in multiple career fields, as well as quality education for children, economic opportunities and projects to transform the environment. 

One of Focus: Hope's Community Gardens

One of Focus: Hope’s Community Gardens






Global Detroit (Banglatown, District 3)

Location: 4444 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Global Detroit’s work focuses on economic development, workforce development and immigrant support. Banglatown is extremely diverse, and Global Detroit works to build bridges across cultural divides in the community. Banglatown includes both Detroit and Hamtramck, and the organization is actively working on ways to engage an equal number of representatives from both cities, as well as have representation across ages and ethnicities. 

Bangla Town, where Global Detroit focuses their work

Bangla Town, where Global Detroit focuses their work









Jefferson East, Inc. (District 4)  

Location: 300 River Place Drive #5350, Detroit, MI 48207

Jefferson East Inc. works to support the east Jefferson corridor and its neighborhoods, Lafayette Park, Rivertown, The Villages and the Marina District. Their economic development team supports small business owners through investment knowledge and real estate services. Jefferson East, Inc. is also an intake center for the City of Detroit’s Home Repair Loan program, which offers 0% interest loans to eligible Detroiters.  

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (District 5)

Location: 9227 Goodwin St, Detroit, MI 48211

The Oakland Avenue Urban Farm owns land on Oakland and Cameron Street, totaling six acres of land. Their bright yellow and blue house is home to their community prep kitchen and meeting space. Across the street from the home is a giant garden which includes 120 blueberry plants and more. Oakland Avenue employs 13 people, with a mission to give people the skills needed to better themselves. They sell their blueberry jam and eggs at local markets, but they’re also open six days per week. 

The Oakland Avenue Urban Farm has 120 blueberry plants; they make blueberry jam and sell it at local markets

The Oakland Avenue Urban Farm has 120 blueberry plants; they make blueberry jam and sell it at local markets

Oakland Avenue Urban Garden's Master Plan lit up. Their goal is to develop civic spaces such as a youth hostel, library, art space and more in the neighborhood. They also want to preserve an old shoe shine / speakeasy in the neighborhood, where Smokey Robinson once played.

Pictured is Oakland Avenue Urban Garden’s master plan that maps out their goals for the neighborhood moving forward. It includes bringing civic spaces to the community, like art spaces, a library, a youth hostel and more. The plan is to also preserve the shoeshine / speakeasy (where Smokey Robinson once played) in the neighborhood.












DHDC — Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (District 6)

Location: 1211 Trumbull St., Detroit, MI 48216

2017 isn’t over yet, but DHDC has already served 5,620 people this year.

The organization started in Angela Reyes’s living room with a mission reduce gang violence. Today, they operate out of what was once a warehouse and has now transformed into an amazing “office” that includes a large community space, meeting rooms equipped with technology and a childcare facility. In addition to gang violence prevention and intervention, DHDC focuses on STEM careers, financial literacy, housing and community organizing to support and focus on education, immigrants, criminal justice, gentrification and civil rights.

They also offer GED and ESL classes, workforce development, prisoner re-entry support and parenting support. They have both an after school program and a summer program for kids. In the summer the DHDC takes the kids outside of the city for a camping trip; during the school year many of the kids are involved in robotics. 

Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation

Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation

DHDC's large community space for meetings, activities and events

DHDC’s large community space for meetings, activities and events









Warrendale Community Organization (District 7)

The Warrendale Community Organization is a smaller organization that focuses on their specific neighborhood. Two notable efforts include their relationship with the radio patrol team they’ve brought in, as well as their community garden. The community garden provides free fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs to neighborhood residents, with the understanding that everyone helps out what they’re able, whether it be a one-time five minute commitment, or more.

Brussel Sprouts at the Warrendale Community Organization's garden

Brussel Sprouts at the Warrendale Community Organization’s garden

Learning about the history of the Warrendale Community Garden!

Learning about the history of the Warrendale Community Garden!


Metrics that Matter (A DVC Session Preview)

Written by Brian Rakovitis, Manger of Financial Empowerment Initiatives 

Data is merely a four letter word, but it can cause any organization a great deal of anxiety. Regardless the size of our organizations — from nonprofits to large corporations, from small businesses to trade associations —  it’s likely we all stress over the type of data we collect; does it demonstrate the change we are seeking?

Financial coaches and counselors face the same question, as there are a myriad of data options available to us. The data most commonly tracked includes changes in credit scores, debt levels and savings. Managing this data can be overwhelming and time consuming for financial coaches and may not fully inform us of our client’s needs.

CEDAM recognizes that accessible, client-focused data is necessary to develop meaningful services. At this year’s Destination: Vibrant Communities & Financial Empowerment Summit conference, speakers Hallie Lienhardt and Marshall Averill will tackle common barriers financial coaches and counselors often face when it comes to tracking data.

In their session, Metrics that Matter: Standardizing Financial Coaching Client Data to Better Track Program Outcomes, they’ll offer insights on the state of the financial coaching field, introduce the Financial Capability Scale and discuss how your organization can utilize customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, like Salesforce, to improve program effectiveness.

Hallie Lienhardt

Hallie Lienhardt, Outreach Specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hallie Lienhardt is the Outreach Specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security. Her background in community development planning and housing helped her to work directly with families facing foreclosure and economic difficulties. Lienhardt was a key partner in developing the 2016 Financial Coaching Census and will provide an overview of the Financial Capability Scale and how your organization can utilize this simple survey.

Marshall Averill is the Financial Stability Program Manager at United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC). Marshall is a financial coach and has developed UWWC’s own CRM platform to manage their financial coaching and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program data.

Marshall Averill

Marshall Averill, Financial Stability Program Manager, United Way of Washtenaw County

“By using a CRM platform, we are able to gain useful insight into our clients,” Averill said. “This insight allows us to better understand how clients progress through their journey to financial mobility. Using data to drive our programing means that we are able to help more individuals realize their financial goals.”

If your organization provides financial coaching and counseling, or you are thinking about incorporating this into your body of work, join us at the Metrics that Matter session. You will leave feeling confident in your knowledge about the kind of data you should be collecting, and how you can use that data to improve your services.  

View the draft agenda and register for Destination: Vibrant Communities & Financial Empowerment Summit.

Honoring Gene Kuthy, Community Economic Development Champion

Gene Kuthy AwardGene Kuthy believed in people and the organizations they created. He always wanted to be a part of those organizations that were designed by, and served, our most vulnerable populations and communities. With these efforts, he was a consummate board member.

He helped to form CEDAM in 1998, seeing the need to create a statewide organization to serve the community economic development industry and being one of our original board members. He also served on a number of other boards, including Southwest Solutions and several other CDCs in Detroit.

A retired Navy Reserve Captain, art lover and former head of the Financial Institutions Bureau, Gene could have chosen to spend his time in any number of places, but he chose us and for that, we will be eternally grateful.

Photo from http://bit.ly/legacy-genekuthy

Photo from http://bit.ly/legacy-genekuthy

He was a champion for the community economic development field – helping to create a voice for fair housing, “making banking more friendly” and lending credibility to our industry. He chose CEDAM and its mission as his cause, and CEDAM benefitted greatly because of that choice.

To honor Gene’s legacy, CEDAM is honoring a current or former board member of a CEDAM member who embodies Gene’s positive and unique attributes: fun, larger than life, generous, an incredible networker, a champion of a particular program and more. The nomination application can be found here; nominations are due September 29.

The Gene Kuthy award will be presented at this year’s Destination: Vibrant Communities & Financial Empowerment Summit at the Greektown Hotel & Conference Center November 14-15. 

If you are interested in attending the award ceremony but not the conference, you can buy a table or individual place here. 

DACA is Ending; Tell Congress to Pass the Dream Act

What is DACA?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, is an immigration policy put in place by the Obama administration in 2012. The program is considered a stopgap measure to prevent undocumented children and youth brought to the United States by their parents from being deported.

DACA allows certain immigrants to apply to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. The permits can be renewed every two years.  Participants pay a fee of $495 at the time of application, and at every renewal. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the requirements to apply are:

  • Must have been younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012
  • Must have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday
  • Must have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, through the present
  • Must have been in the U.S. both on June 15, 2012, and at the time of their request
  • Must have had no lawful status on June 15, 2012
  • Must currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or be an honorably discharged military veteran
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

On Tuesday, September 5 the Trump administration announced that DACA will end in six months if Congress does not pass new legislation. Acting Secretary Elaine C. Duke released an official memorandum on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

What does this mean?

Because of the executive order, DACA will be phased out, with an official end in six months. As reported by David Nakamura for NPR, “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process all new applications received as of Sept. 5 and then stop accepting applications. DREAMers whose work permits expire before March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal, but they must meet an upcoming Oct. 5 deadline.”

What can you do?

With DACA ending, it’s time for Congress to pass a clean version of the bipartisan Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Call your members of Congress and encourage them to support the Dream Act. You can find contact information for your Representative here and your Senators here.

More information

You can find up-to-date information about the DACA program and assistance for young adults — with specific information for those in Michigan affected by this decision — from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.