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2018 Rural Champion Awards

6.06.2018

At the 2018 Rural LISC Annual Seminar in Washington, D.C., three Rural LISC partners were honored with the Rural Champion Award for their exemplary and longstanding service to rural America.

Michael Levine

Michael Levine (center) with Rural LISC Advisory Committee Chair Stephen Fitzgerald and LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director Suzanne Anarde.
Michael Levine (center) with Rural LISC Advisory Committee Chair Stephen Fitzgerald and LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director Suzanne Anarde.

Michael Levine, recently retired as LISC General Counsel, was awarded the first Rural Champion Award for his commitment to rural America over the last 22 years. Michael has served on the Rural LISC Advisory Committee since it began, having worked closely with Sandy Rosenblith to develop the Rural LISC program from the time of its inception in 1995. At LISC, Levine served as head of the Legal Department, overseeing the legal affairs of LISC, including loans, government contracts and all other legal work performed by in-house and outside counsel. He also was actively involved with several LISC affiliates and committees. Prior to joining LISC, Levine clerked for Judge Pierre Leval of the Southern District of New York, and was subsequently an associate at the New York City law firms of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett, and Shereff, Friedman, Hoffman and Goodman.  He graduated magna cum laude from Williams College and Cornell Law School.

Kevin Shipley

Kevin Shipley with Rural LISC's Kristin Blum (left) and Suzanne Anarde.
Kevin Shipley with Rural LISC's Kristin Blum (left) and Suzanne Anarde.

LISC Vice President and Rural LISC Director Suzanne Anarde and Rural LISC Lending Director Kristin Blum awarded a Rural Champion Award to Kevin Shipley, President of Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC), for his transformational work in rural Minnesota.  Kevin also serves as CEO of the White Earth Investment Initiative, an MMCDC subsidiary that provides community, business and housing development services for the White Earth Reservation, the land base for one of the six bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Kevin became the president of MMCDC in 2014 after serving as its senior vice president.  He led the formation of MMCDC’s highly successful home mortgage lending division as well as its purchase and subsequent revitalization of a small rural bank. He has 30 years of combined banking and community development experience, and has served on the boards of numerous civic organizations.  

Rick Goodemann

Kristie Blankenship receives the award for Rick Goodemann (inset) from Rural LISC’s Suzanne Anarde and Bob Reeder.
Kristie Blankenship receives the award for Rick Goodemann (inset) from Rural LISC’s Suzanne Anarde and Bob Reeder.

We are pleased to recognize Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership retired Executive Director Rick Goodemann with a Rural Champion Award.  Rick is the founding Executive Officer of the Partnership that provides community development services and technical assistance services in 30 rural counties in southern Minnesota.  His career has spanned 30 years delivering rural development and housing finance products and programs in both public and private settings.  Rick was unable to attend the event and Kristie Blankenship of the Housing Partnership accepted the award in his place. Rural LISC Program Director Bob Reeder characterized Rick Goodemann as “smart, intellectual and an innovator.” Reading comments Rick sent, Kristie related that he was honored to receive the award, and characterized Rural LISC's partner organizations as “some of the most resourceful in the nation.” Thank you for your service to rural America, Rick Goodemann!