Janell O’Keefe, MUP, MSW serves as the Program Officer for Michigan Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress, the leading national nonprofit focused on helping communities develop solutions for vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. At Community Progress, Janell leads the organization’s place-based work in Flint, MI, primarily providing technical assistance, education, and policy work for local partners. Before joining Community Progress, Janell co-founded Keep Growing Detroit, an organization dedicated to promoting a food sovereign Detroit. At KGD, Janell led internal program evaluation efforts and provided gardeners and farmers with land acquisition and zoning ordinance compliance technical assistance, along with supporting the organization with a variety of planning and policy related tasks.
In addition to her work at KGD, Janell worked at the University of Michigan School of Social Work Technical Assistance Center, where she piloted the successful Real Estate Essentials program (now known as “Better Buildings, Better Blocks”), which equips Detroit residents with the basics of real estate development and empowers them to become neighborhood based real estate developers. The program was a 2017 Knight Cities Challenge Winner.
Janell earned her Master in Urban Planning and Master in Social Work degrees from the University of Michigan. Janell is a licensed residential Realtor in the State of Michigan.