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Blair Sucher


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.