Alumna works to end poverty in Dayton area
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more widely known as the Stimulus Act, was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Established in response to the economic crisis, one of the act’s main objectives was to create new jobs and save existing ones.
Cherish Cronmiller ’06 was hired under the act, and her career goal aligns with its mission to improve economic stability for Americans. “I think poverty is a major issue, so helping people be self-sufficient is a major thrust and something I definitely feel pretty passionate about,” she said.
Cronmiller was hired as a compliance officer at Community Action Partnership, located in Dayton, Ohio. The nonprofit organization seeks to eliminate causes and conditions of poverty through promoting self-sufficiency and individual independence.
“I like the breadth of services community action agencies offer because we do a multitude of things. To me that really speaks to handling poverty on a holistic type of level,” she said. “I see (community action agencies) as a very vital component to the public interest realm in our country.”
Upon her initial hire as a compliance officer, Cronmiller said she dealt often with prevailing wage rates and is now in the process of closing the agency’s grant from the Stimulus Act.
“It’s definitely interesting dealing with such a complex startup, dealing with that stimulus funding, and getting all of our contractors on board,” Cronmiller said.
After a year at CAP, she also took on the position of director of resource development for the agency.
Recalling conducting an information technology survey one week and a needs assessment the following week, Cronmiller said holding both positions allows her to experience something different at work almost every day, from writing grants to giving presentations. The latter she has always enjoyed, given her background in studying communication and business management as an undergraduate at Ohio University.
Cronmiller said one of her professors at OU encouraged her decision to go to law school, but her stepfather’s public interest work as an attorney, specifically dealing with migrant workers and indigenous Native Americans, also positively influenced her decision.
“Anytime somebody is looking at your skill sets, to say that you have a law degree I think definitely speaks to your ability to analyze and interpret information,” Cronmiller said.
After graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Cronmiller worked as the program coordinator for Ohio State’s Student Legal Services, which was named the Student Housing Legal Clinic at the time.
Thereafter she moved to Dayton, Ohio to join the Housing Authority, working on contracts and compliance. She said, however, it came as an easy choice for her to join CAP in 2009.
“I’ve always liked the mission of community action agencies. The whole idea behind the way community action agencies were designed – as part of the war against poverty in our country – was very important to me,” Cronmiller said.
With a certificate in alternative dispute resolution, Cronmiller said she’s looking to further enhance the mission of community action agencies by incorporating ADR into them.
“Sometimes the cost of people being able to go to court is just out of reach for some people,” she said. “ADR, to me, definitely speaks to being able to help people who otherwise couldn’t afford access to the justice system.”
To learn more about community action agencies, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com.
This article was written by Sarah Pfledderer.