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Building a Stronger Future Together

The Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership is a coordinating body that brings partners together to ensure community members have the access, opportunities, and resources needed to thrive.

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Meet Tameka Ramsey—Executive Council Member and Founder & Managing Partner of T. Ramsey & Associates

Tameka’s story is Pontiac’s story: Resilient, vibrant, and in progress. As a member of our Executive Council, she remains focused on a community-first and inclusive approach to revitalizing the region.

If there’s one thing that Tameka Ramsey knows, it’s how to persevere. “I always tell folks that I’m like the little engine that could,” she laughs. “I was a single mom—a single teen mom, actually—and I had a one-year-old son when I graduated from high school.” Tameka went straight into community college, which, given her responsibilities as a single mother, took her nearly seven years to complete. “I had to take time off over and over again in order to work, but I finally got it done.”

After completing her Associate’s degree, she transferred to Wayne State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s in social work. “I was really motivated to, you know, save that young teenage single mom that I was. And social workers, we work really hard, so hard, but after a while I could see that even though we can do amazing things without very many resources, it was the policies that were killing us. We needed to change the policies.”

What is Tameka Enjoying?
P’s and Q’s Bakery: “She has amazing donuts, and I love her seafood salad.”
Charlene’s: “It’s a new bar, but it’s so quaint and it feels like Cheers when you walk in!”

So Tameka went back to school, graduating from Oakland University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, which helps guide her social justice and community mentoring work. “My education, my background, my experiences—they all help me guide other nonprofits and small businesses, especially those led by black and brown individuals. I love assisting as visionaries formalize their organizations, lay out their goals, and then achieve them,” Tameka explains. “It was a side hustle for many years, but then my husband encouraged me to start my own business, so I founded T. Ramsey & Associates in 2015.”

Early on in the process of founding the Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership, Tameka was interviewed because of her experience in community development in the region. “I always tell people that Pontiac doesn’t have a racism problem, it has a classism problem, and working on who has access to what is incredibly important,” she notes. “I was chosen because of the work that I’ve been doing, and it’s important that we all have a seat at the table. But the community itself, we’re worthy and that’s my role, that’s my focus. I want to ensure that we’re always community-first and that we don’t lose sight of that.”

Tameka’s approach is also deeply informed by her mother’s experiences. “She came here from Mississippi when she was 17 or 18 years old, looking for a better life. And she found it. I’m working statewide on issues like voter suppression, specifically against groups who are trying to make voting more inaccessible. You know, my mom has MS now and lives on social security, so access is definitely a concern for her, in many different ways. So when I’m thinking of policy improvements or initiatives, I think about how that might lift her—or someone like her—up, you know, will it work for her? Because if we can lift people like her up, then it benefits everyone.”

This commitment to inclusivity stretches beyond socioeconomic groups, too. “People always want to think that Pontiac is just black and white, like those are the only two ethnic groups here. But we have a vibrant Puerto Rican community, a large Hmong community, and we need to ensure that they’re heard, too,” Tameka says. “It’s easy to group together everyone who looks like each other or speaks like each other, but the reality is, even within those groups, we are incredibly diverse. Puerto Ricans, for example, are US citizens, so they can be involved at a civic level that it might take more time for other immigrant communities to achieve. And we need to encourage that.”

At the heart of all of Tameka’s work is how she can help Pontiac grow and develop into a place in which her grandchildren can thrive. “My oldest son is 26, and he’s married with a two-year-old son. I think about them, too. How can I help Pontiac become the community that I grew up in, again? I wanted that for my kids, and I realize this kind of stuff takes time, so now I’m focused on my grandkids. What can I do, each day, to make this region better for them, for their future? If we focus on that, on the vulnerable people in our community, and build things to help them, then all of us benefit. Every one of us.”