Our Mission

The University of Michigan-Dearborn's Institute for Local Government's mission is to increase the capacity of neighborhood groups, local nonprofits, community development organizations, and locally elected officials to govern effectively and address local needs with a regional perspective. 

Recent Facilitators

Over the last year, we have had several workshops. Below are some of the presenters participating in our programs. 

Dondi Cupp

Dondi Cupp, Associate Vice President Office of Development at the University of Michigan, is a fundraising veteran. His passionate approach to building fundraising capacity focuses on strengthening the talent, leadership, and culture within the organization he serves. He has played a leadership role in four major campaigns, including two multi-billion dollar efforts. Since 2012, Cupp has served as the associate vice president for development at the University of Michigan. As a member of the senior management team in the Office of University Development, he is responsible for leading the national major gifts team and supervising constituency fundraising programs that include annual giving, parent and family giving, foundation relations, and the Business Engagement Center. He also leads the operations teams including finance and administration and the talent management program. Cupp is a frequent speaker at national conferences and training sessions for CASE and other non-profit organizations. He is a fellow of the Advancement Leadership Academy.

Eric Barritt

Eric Barritt is the Associate Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Michigan Medicine. He previously served as vice president of development, alumni and community engagement at Oakland University (OU) and the executive director of the Oakland University Foundation. In this capacity, he led a comprehensive advancement program for the university and oversaw a team of 75, including the offices of Alumni Relations, University Communications and Marketing, Major and Planned Giving, Annual Giving, Events, Corporate and Foundation Relations and Advancement Services. Since accepting the position in 2011, annual cash from philanthropy nearly quadrupled, new pledges tripled and the number of new gifts increased 40 percent. Applications and enrollment also grew substantially, while the quality of entering students also increased. Eric also served as corporate vice president of development and campaigns for the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). Under his direction, DMC fundraising increased nearly fourfold.  Eric has a Master's Degree in Public Administration, a graduate certificate in non-profit management and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, all from the University of Michigan. He also holds a certificate from Harvard's Institute for Educational Management. He has served in leadership roles on numerous nonprofit boards and professional organizations, and in 2013 he was named to Oakland County Executive's Elite "40 under 40."  Eric taught fundraising for several years for the University of Michigan – Dearborn’s MPA program.

Sherita Smith

Sherita Smith has been the Executive Director of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC),  a 29-year old community development corporation operating in Northwest Detroit, since July 2017.  A Detroit native, Smith has more than 18 years experience in community development in Detroit with expertise in leadership, program development, strategic planning, fundraising and communications.  She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in political science.  Smith served as community engagement director for Eastside Community Network, executive director of First Independence CDC, and most recently as fund development director for Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. 

Libby Pachota Levy

Libby Pachota Levy is Principal of ProSeeds, LLC, a consulting firm focused on fund development, planning and project management. She also lectures in the Urban Planning program for the University of Michigan. Prior to ProSeeds, Libby was Program Officer and Director for the Detroit Neighborhood Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan where she helped to manage a $15 million Fund for Detroit’s near-east side neighborhoods.

Libby has also served as both Fund Development Director and Program Director for the Jefferson East Business Association where she garnered over $2 million in funding for the organization including a coveted Cool Cities designation from the State of Michigan, a six-year Re$tore Detroit! Designation from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization. Her project management resulted in $2.5 million in private investment in the business district and included: community organizing, streetscape design and implementation, façade improvements, real estate facilitation, event planning, and historic preservation.  Libby has also worked on community and economic development projects with a variety of other non-profits and initiatives including the Belle Isle Conservancy, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Data Driven Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Association, Food & Fitness Initiative, and Michigan Community Resources. 

Tom Goddeeris

Tom Goddeeris serves as Deputy Director for Detroit Future City (DFC). In this role, Tom provides key leadership in strategic planning, management and connecting organization vision, values and programmatic priorities. Tom will continue to provide strategic direction to the Community and Economic Development priority of DFC.

Prior to joining DFC, Tom led the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) on the west side of Detroit for over 25 years, growing the nonprofit from a start-up to an award-winning, well-established community development organization. He managed an eight-member staff and an annual budget of $1.5 million for this CDC that engaged in housing and commercial development as part of a comprehensive approach to community development. In his most recent position as Executive Director of GRDC, Tom provided leadership for community-driven strategic planning and program development processes. These processes led to the development of a comprehensive quality of life plan for the Grandmont Rosedale community derived from the feedback of community stakeholders.

Tom continues to speak and present on community development issues at the state and local levels. Over his notable career, Tom has received a number of awards, including the Spirit of Detroit award, the Terrence R. Duvernay award, the Community Impact award and the Nonprofit Developer of the Year award. Tom has a Master of Architecture from Lawrence Technological University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Joseph Piffaretti

Joe Piffaretti is the Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) for Michigan Medicine. In this role, he creates, leads, and executes cross-divisional strategies to promote regional and nationwide corporate and foundation support of Michigan Medicine, including UM Hospitals and Medical School. As a member of the Michigan Medicine development function’s Senior Leadership Team, Joe provides strategic counsel to the Chief Development Officer, other institutional leadership and volunteer leaders to advance philanthropic support of Michigan Medicine. In addition to his CFR role, Joe oversees the comprehensive fundraising activity for nine Basic Science departments and the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation, a cross institutional policy institute composed of more than 500 UM faculty. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Joe served for ten years as Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He holds a B.Sc. in Management Science from the University of Wales, Swansea in the United Kingdom.

Wendy Jackson

Wendy Lewis Jackson is managing director for the Detroit Program. She co-leads The Kresge Foundation’s efforts to revitalize Detroit and to strengthen its social and economic fabric. Her work supports organizations providing economic opportunity for low-income people and addresses the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Prior to joining Kresge in 2008, Wendy was a program director for Children and Family Initiatives and executive director for education initiatives at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation in Grand Rapids, Mich. She taught at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., and has co-authored and assisted in the publication of several reports and publications that address community needs and problem solving.

Wendy is an American Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; the Association of Black Foundation Executives named her an Emerging Leader in 2008. Wendy earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from the University of Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree in social work from U-M, with a concentration in community organization and social policy and planning.

John Schoeniger

John Schoeniger is the Loan Fund Manager at Detroit Development Fund since 2007. Prior to coming to Detroit, he was Vice President of Real Estate Lending at Shore Bank’s Cleveland Ohio office and has over 20 years of community development experience.

Brittney Hoszkiw

Brittney Hoszkiw is the Community Assistance Team Specialist for the city of Detroit. Brittney works to build local capacity and advance development projects using a variety of economic development tools, throughout the city. Previously, Brittney focused on local capacity building and community organizing as the Organization Specialist for Michigan Main Street at the MEDC and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). She has held a variety of titles within downtown development from volunteer to executive director in communities across the state.

Tracy Hall

Tracy Hall, Ph.D. directs UM-Dearborn’s community engagement activities and teaches in the University’s MPAP program, as well as participates professionally and academically in activities related to civic engagement, nonprofits, and urban renewal. Dr. Hall’s expertise encompasses nonprofit leadership, public policy advocacy, legislative/regulatory processes, and public administration civil society-related teaching, research and practice. Her work is grounded in federal and state political and government relations service – including experience in the federal legislative and executive branches, as well as in the private and nonprofit sectors. Her interest is to engage in praxis and research that lead to fundamental transformational social change.

Claudia Walters

Claudia Walters, Ph.D. is an assistant research scientist and lecturer of Geography at UM-Dearborn.  She loves maps and does some freelance cartography in her spare time.  In her role as GIS Advocate for the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, she helps students, faculty, and staff with mapping and with projects using geographic information systems.  Every November, she organizes a GIS Day event that brings together members of the university, GIS professionals, and community members to talk about GIS applications.  

You-Go-Lead 2019-2020

Due to Covid, we are suspending any events until further notice.

Frustrated with the political situation? Time for the next generation to take charge! Learn how to work on or manage a campaign, or run for political office.  A series of small group seminars and open discussions designed to connect you with office holders, campaign managers, and those who have run before will be held over the next few months. These events are open to all, held on the University of Michigan - Dearborn campus, and free. We will be posting the events on this site periodically.



The Institute for Local Government

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Social Sciences Building (SSB)
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