Michelle Merritt is a Development Associate for Urban Growers Collective. Prior to working with UGC, Ms. Merritt dedicated her career to working in the community and economic real estate development sector. Ms. Merritt had the unique opportunity to serve as a Community Engagement specialist for a large for-profit development partner in the City of Chicago Plan for Transformation program. In this capacity, Ms. Merritt led the public engagement process, provided leadership to various community social service agencies, managed a $2 million dollar CSS program budget and ensured women and minority-owned Businesses were contractually represented in both professional services and general contracting trades.
In 2013, earned a Master of Arts in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago and shifted her career focus to the arts and culture sector and how it can be used as a tool in equitable community building. In 2015, Ms. Merritt pursued an entrepreneurial opportunity and opened an ‘arts salon’ where she co-led the curating of emerging artist exhibits, event planning, and arts-related programming.
Ms. Merritt is a graduate of Hampton University (BA History) and Columbia College Chicago. She is a proud native New Yorker and currently resides in the culturally rich Pilsen community of Chicago.