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Charles F. Kettering Foundation names new Dayton-area democracy fellows

the headshots of 15 people who are fellows with the kettering foundation
Kettering Foundation
The Charles F. Kettering Foundation Dayton Democracy Fellowship is a one-year program, with an inaugural cohort of 15 fellows.

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation is sponsoring fifteen Dayton-area community leaders to serve as Dayton Democracy Fellows.

The fellowship cohort is in service of one of the foundation's five focus areas, Democracy and Community, and part of the foundation’s new strategic plan, which launched in January 2024.

True democracy is people working together to improve life for everyone, Elizabeth Gish, foundation’s senior program officer, said.

"Democracy is not just about getting someone elected," Gish said. "It’s also about what we do everyday in our lives, how we interact with our neighbors in doing something together and you don’t have to agree on everything but a lot of times we can find common ground."

For the next several months, this diverse group will use their existing positions and collaborations to encourage other residents to become involved in area social efforts.

Gish also said key effort is to unify diverse groups around common goals.

"There’s a focus on democracy, there’s a focus on everyday people, and there’s a focus on trusting people that when they’re given the tools and the support they need, they can create the change they’re longing for," Gish said.

In September, the fellows will talk about their projects during the Dayton Democracy Summit. It’s open to the public and will offer workshops.

The Dayton Democracy Fellows are:

Keisha Anderson, licensed independent social worker, community advocate and mentoring collaborative partner, The Mentoring Collaborative of Montgomery County

Peter Benkendorf, founder, The Collaboratory

Jessica Bloomingdale, project director, The Mentoring Collaborative of Montgomery County

Destiny Brown, community organizer, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE)

Pamela Cone, founder and CEO, Curated Spaces, LLC, and assistant pastor, Dominion, CLGI

Steven Cone, pastor, Dominion, CLGI

Daj’za Demmings, community partnerships coordinator, Omega CDC, and founder and executive director, Dayton Young Black Professionals (DYBP)

Taylor Johnson, executive director, Spectrum New Beginnings

Fabrice Juin, regional equity initiative manager, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission

Samantha Kennedy, director of grants and assessment, Community Engaged Programs, and director, Dayton Civic Scholars Program, University of Dayton Fitz Center for Leadership and Community

Jennifer McDermott, professor of social work and faculty associate for experiential learning, Division of Liberal Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences, Sinclair College

Tom Roberts, advisor, Sinclair College Ohio Fellows Program, second vice president, Dayton Unit, NAACP, and president, Ohio State Conference, NAACP

amaha sellassie, president, Gem City Market board of trustees, and coexecutive director, Co-Op Dayton

Vibes, project manager, Spectrum New Beginnings

Dee Wooding, president and founder, Westwood Right Project, CDC

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924