August 2019

Speaking to Young Leaders

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Vanessa Denha Garmo was invited by Wayne State University and Professor Colleen McGowan Ezzeddine to speak to students from Iraq who are participating in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. Vanessa spoke to the students about a number of topics including communications, storytelling, and her own company, Denha Media Group.

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) brings Iraqi high school and undergraduate students to the U.S. for summer exchanges to explore themes of leadership development, civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and community engagement.


CCF Hosts Students From Iraq

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On July 16, 2019, the Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) hosted a group of 21 students from the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). IYLEP brings undergraduate college students to the U.S. from all over Iraq, diverse regions, institutes and backgrounds for one month to learn about leadership, civic engagement and peace building.

The students visited the CCF to hear from community leaders, which included Dr. Adhid Miri, Director of Special Projects at the Chaldean Community Foundation, Rony Foumia, District Leader for Rite Aid Corporation and Dr. Nahid Elyas.

The discussion was centered around leadership, their upbringings and how these students can better the future of Iraq when they return. Students also enjoyed a traditional Middle Eastern dinner at Ishtar Restaurant in Sterling Heights, following the discussion.

IYLEP is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Department of State and implemented by World Learning. Wayne State University was selected to be the host institution for the students during their stay.


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West Michigan Chaldean Grocer Wins Small Business of the Year 

Midtown Fresh Market, a Kalamazoo grocery store dedicated to providing fresh and organic produce, and products from local vendors, has been named the Best Small Business for the SBDC Southwest Region. Midtown Fresh Market has also been selected as a finalist for Consumers Energy Project of the Year Award.


Chalk it Up to Life Contest at VBS

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The Right to Life of Michigan presented the first of three Chalk It Up for Life contests at St. Thomas on July 11, as part of the ECRC’s Vacation Bible School.  The children did an amazing job at interpreting the theme “God Made Us All, Big and Small.”  The members of twenty-four crews (about 150 kids in total) collaborated on their drawings and the winners were given award ribbons and bragging rights for the rest of VBS. 

The children were led out to the parking lot at 11:45 to begin their drawings. Volunteers brought around water bottles and extra chalk for those who needed it. Judges walked around as the drawing was happening to listen to explanations of the drawings.  As each team finished, their leaders took them back into the church to await the judges’ decisions.  They enjoyed Veggie Tales and pizza as they waited. There was much celebration for the winning teams when they were announced and everyone enjoyed the contest.


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Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedoms

Chaldean Community Foundation President and CEO, Martin Manna, attended the U.S. Department of State Ministerial on Religious Freedom in Washington D.C. on July 17 where he sat on a panel to discuss the plight of the community in Iraq.


Andy Meisner Celebrates 10 Years in Oakland County

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner is celebrating 10 years in Oakland County, where he has prevented thousands of tax foreclosures. Oakland County voters elected Andy Meisner as their county treasurer in the fall election of 2008.  Thousands of Chaldeans have resided in Oakland County for more than five decades and many are business developers in the county.

“Ten years ago, Oakland County was in the midst of a housing crisis and recession. At that time, we had a treasurer’s office that wasn’t focused on the human tragedy of the Great Recession. We adapted and became fully engaged in finding or creating solutions to the tax foreclosure crisis,” Meisner said.

During these ten years, Meisner and his team have seen a fall in annual tax foreclosures to a fraction of the quantity he acquired, 1,650 down to 200. Meisner has implemented several compassionate projects to prevent foreclosure and keeping families in their homes. He has also developed business opportunities for developers.