Skip to Content

Blair

Blair Sucher

Email: bsucher@umich.edu

During Semester in Detroit in the spring of 2014, I was fortunate enough to intern for the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), a membership non-profit organization that uses community-based planning tools to support Detroit communities.  I worked specifically with LaToya Morgan, who oversees CDAD’s Public Policy Advocacy strategy.  I wrote many policy alerts during the semester to send out to our members and also reached out to local media outlets to pick up the stories and share the information with the broader metro-Detroit citizens.  I researched the effectiveness of Community Benefits Agreements in other major cities and documented examples.  Because of my research, I accompanied LaToya to participate in the Equitable Detroit Coalition which brought Detroit’s Community Benefits Agreement ordinance to the Detroit City Council.  Additionally, CDAD would attend district caucus meetings and I was able to attend a couple meetings which allowed me to get a greater grasp for the specific challenges in each district.  Lastly, in between projects I would work on smaller things such as writing stories for the Newsletter, evaluating CDAD’s policy advocacy work, and even some site visits to learn about community partners such as Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation and Cass Community Social Services.  Overall, the experience helped me to begin to understand the political climate of Detroit and see how non-profits can make transformative change within their communities.

View Blair's Internship Workplan

Semester in Detroit Work Plan: Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)

Background:

The Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) has been working for 15 years as a liaison to the community members of Detroit.  CDAD is a membership organization that has about 100 members who are involved in the city of Detroit and their own smaller communities through community development organizations (CDOs), community-based organizations, block clubs and other sorts of engagements.  CDAD’s role is to engage these members through public policy advocacy, technical assistance, sharing of information, and facilitation of community efforts.

            In specific, my role with CDAD will be using tools around public policy such as social media to advance the policy agenda and share the information with members of CDAD.

Project Goals:

1)                    To expand the organization’s community outreach through social media

2)                    Develop and share information on policy updates, CDAD’s monthly newsletter, and public policy newsletters

3)                    Expand my own knowledge on policy and see how a non-profit works

Objectives: 

-To expand the organization’s community outreach through social media. 

Share information via social media such as Facebook and twitter about CDBGs, CBAs, CACs, etc.

Attend District meetings, Detroit Future City meetings, and various other meetings in order to expand the network of people whom CDAD reaches.

-Develop and share information on policy updates, CDAD’s monthly newsletter, and public policy newsletters.

Write up policy updates to keep community members informed about the work that is going on around the city.

Assemble information and write up short stories for the newsletter about different initiatives that CDAD is working on.

Create folders with the public policy agenda and past newsletters to hand out and inform others about the happenings.

-Expand my own knowledge of policy and see how a non-profit works

Attend public policy committee meetings, sit in on conference calls, read about policy through CDAD resources and other resources LaToya sends my way.

Follow different accounts via social media in order to stay in the loop.

 Resources:

First and foremost, my greatest resources will be my supervisor, LaToya Morgan, and the rest of my co-workers at CDAD.  Beyond that, CDAD has an expansive network of members across the city of Detroit whom are working both in their own communities and for Detroit as a whole.  Through attending meetings, I will continue to network with these members and be able to create relationships with them to have them as a resource.  Along with these resources, I’d consider my computer and my time to be important resources that I will put to use through the semester in order to stay on track with my goals.

Anticipated Challenges:

  • Balancing both classes and the internship schedule
  • Making sure I have enough information and understanding about the policies in order to write about them. 
  • Strategically sending out updates to keep members and contacts informed without overwhelming them

Evaluation and Assessment:

 

In regards to evaluation, Laura will be working on a spreadsheet of the data to tell us who we are reaching, how many people we’re reaching, etc.  I will also use Mail Chimp to keep track of how we are doing.  LaToya and I will use that as a guide to see how we as a pair are doing.  Aside from that, I will frequently ask LaToya about my progress and check in to make sure I am doing all that I need to be doing.  I hope to establish an open and honest space where I can be critiqued.

Schedule:

Tuesday 10am – 5pm, Thursday 1–5pm, Friday 10am – 5pm