Meet the New REI Coordinator, Summit Wrap-Up, and New Project Foci

By: Jenan Jondy, Project Coordinator

Get to Know Jenan

Jenan Jondy is the new University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) Coordinator at Michigan State University's Center for Community and Economic Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology, a minor in chemistry and is a recent graduate of MSU’s Master of Social Work program. Selected as an Advocacy Scholar, her studies focused on policy, advocacy, and engaging government leaders.

As a Flint native, Jondy has been dedicated to working with local communities in their effort towards greater systemic equity. Jenan has over two decades of experience in outreach, resource development, human rights work, research, and development of programs at a national and international level. She co-founded and served as board member of the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (SBEV), also directing SBEV’s response to address the health needs of residents during the Flint water crisis. This included a lead-screening and dermatology clinic with volunteer staff and physicians.

Jenan’s past roles have also focused on providing support to student populations disproportionately affected by structural inequities in education. Collaborating with students has resulted in their acceptance to their preferred higher education institution and awards of over $500,000 in various grants and scholarships.

Jenan incorporates a unique perspective and understanding of different backgrounds and cultures that she has gained from engaging with populations struggling from economic inequities, including her work with refugee and immigrant populations. Her interests include neuroscience, sociology, economic development, housing, and education policy. In her spare time, she loves everything outdoors…and is always open to suggestions for good -happy- reads!

2022 REI Summit

Jenan hit the ground running in May of this year diving directly into Summit coordination. The spring semester led up to four student-led/faculty-guided projects, two co-learning plans and two innovation fellowships. Projects ranged from a statewide look at regional tax-base sharing down to Detroit neighborhoods and housing tool developments. The morning kicked off with welcoming remarks from MSU Provost Dr. Teresa Woodruff. Nathan Ohle, an MSU alumni and the current president of the International Economic Development Council, provided a keynote address. During the lunch hour a panel of Community Economic Development Association of Michigan fellows shared their experiences in a facilitated conversation within Michigan Economic Development Corporation certified Redevelopment Ready Communities. Concurrently, the Michigan Inventor’s Coalition hosted their annual Expo with a tradeshow floor open to all and highlighting new inventions and entrepreneurship within the state.

2023 Call for Projects

The EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation has put out its call for papers focused within one or more of the four pillars of community and economic development, including:

  • Resiliency planning
  • Financial resiliency
  • Circular economies
  • 21st century communications

Within these four foci, additional topical areas for your consideration have been crowd sourced throughout the 2022 year and rated by the REI Consultative Panel of industry experts across Michigan. The topical areas include:

  • clean energy economies;
  • equitable economic development defined;
  • circular economies;
  • blight and deconstruction, and
  • Michigan planning organizations opportunities to leverage the planning process to support communities with stretched resources.

Applications are available now at


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