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Who We Are

Tonya Woods-Brown

Tonya Woods-Brown, I joined the Board of Directors in 2015 and have served on the events committee. I am married to Cedric Brown a long time resident of North Village. I am a registered nurse and work for Ascension Michigan Health System as an Elementary School Nurse. I am excited and passionate about being a part of the VCDC and I believe in the mission of the corporation as we seek to bring unity to the neighborhoods within the Villages footprint.

Jacob Graham

Jacob Graham joined The Villages CDC Infrastructure Committee in Spring 2019. He became a member of the Board of Directors in January 2020 and the Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee in February 2020. Jacob is the Director of Operations at PEAC, a non-profit that empowers individuals with disabilities through active transportation and self-advocacy. In this position, Jacob manages a small team to ensure that bikes are maintained, vehicles are ready to drive, and the bills are paid on time. He still gets to enjoy teaching at least two days each week, whether that's teaching someone how to ride a bike to their new job or how to ride the bus to the grocery store from their new apartment. Jacob has lived in a duplex in Islandview since spring 2018 and is driven to make this neighborhood more affordable for all, especially by reducing transportation costs and making our neighborhoods more bus, walking, and biking friendly through infrastructure upgrades and recruiting a wide variety of local businesses.

Stephanie Austin

Stephanie Austin joined The Villages CDC Infrastructure Committee in Spring 2019 and then became a member and Secretary of the Board of Directors in January 2020. She works as an Instrumentation Engineer at FCA. When Stephanie first moved to Islandview in 2018, she attended the West Village Association meetings and quickly became a member of the Sustainability Committee. She enjoyed this work and wanted to do more across the neighborhoods. That’s when she found The Villages CDC Infrastructure Committee, of which she is now the committee chair. Stephanie enjoys walking, bussing, and biking around the Villages and would like to help make it easier for other people to do the same.

Mac Farr

Mac Farr has been our executive director since 2015. Originally from Jackson, Michigan, Mac attended Michigan State University’s James Madison College. In 2004, after graduating, he moved to New York where he lived for a decade working in the financial services sector. Moving to Detroit in 2012, he worked in Mike Duggan’s first campaign for mayor, and in the Mayor’s office during the bankruptcy. His work has focused on the development of infrastructure, housing stabilization, and community engagement. Mac’s achievements include the development of the Villages CDC Neighborhood Plan, raising nearly one million dollars since getting to the organization, and being involved in several other neighborhood organizations. Mac lives in Pingree Park.

Edythe Ford

Edythe Ford is a lifelong community servant and advocate. She began her advocacy starting at the young age of 5 supporting our civil rights movement. While she continues to fight for racial injustices, she has grown into the role of community organizer. In our 48214 zip code in Detroit, Edythe works to bring resources to the community where blight is rampant and poverty rates are high. "I started with small wins such as sending volunteers to help elderly neighbors or connecting with local officers to call them directly with reports on crimes." Edythe is the Director of Community Engagement at Mack Avenue Community Church Development Corporation where she brings local officials, business communities, and residents together to deliver the change we need.

Edythe led a massive outreach to deliver resources and information to 1,671 homeowners and renters in 48214. "Our neighbor-to-neighbor canvassing helped save residents from foreclosure and eviction, delivering housing justice to residents. This is just one example of how I teach others how they can speak up for themselves and advocate to have their voices heard by local officials and organizations."

Service is being present when others call you to lead and be their voice for change. Some get called to serve in our armed services or as elected officials, while Edythe gets called to service from our residents. "Sometimes I will get 20 of these calls at once, but I believe delivering change block by block is how we can restore our communities and build a better Michigan.