What People Say
“I’ve been in movement work with Tova for nearly a decade and half. Tova introduced me and my community partners to the Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) process as a strategy that could bring more equity to the economic development process and provide voice and power to those most impacted by the unjust ways of doing large-scale development in Detroit. Out of that initial connection more than a decade ago, the seeds for a powerful grassroots movement were planted, resulting in Detroiters organizing and winning the first CBA ordinance in the nation.
“Our relationship is rooted in that initial effort, and over the years Tova has provided good counsel as the Detroit People’s Platform (DPP) has evolved. Tova has assisted with Detroit People’s Platform’s capacity building by providing a variety of skills in fundraising, issue research, and additional tools for movement capacity building.
“And along the way Tova connected DPP and me to others who share our passion for racial and economic justice. Those relationships she initiated have persisted, grown and paid off for Detroit People’s Platform, the community and movements that I serve."
—Linda S. Campbell, Senior Director, Detroit People’s Platform
Image Description: A close-up photo shows Linda Campbell, an African-American woman with brown, shoulder-length locs, a warm smile and glasses. She is wearing a black turtleneck with a pearl necklace and dangling earrings. Photo courtesy of Linda Campbell.
Image Description: Joshua is a light-skinned African-American man with a mischievous smile. He has a long beard, mostly black with some streaks of gray. He is wearing rimless glasses, a light aqua knitted cap, and a light salmon collared shirt, against a background of darker salmon. Photo by Cinthya Silverstein.
“Throughout my work in nonprofit spaces I have been very fortunate to work with many amazing people, but not many who are as committed to excellence as Tova is. While working with Tova through Caz it became abundantly clear that no matter the task, Tova’s attention to detail and comprehensibility is unmatched. Her professionalism constantly shines bright.
“Tova’s other attributes such as her kindness, humor, and infectious joy are undeniably present, and as a Black man I am supremely honored by her allegiance to create spaces that reflect my own diverse and equitable values of inclusion. Tova is truly a gift to this time and planet and I am grateful to call her my friend.”
—Joshua Silverstein, former Board President and virtual programming director,
Image Description: Dessa is a white woman with long blond hair and light skin. She is sitting smiling in her wheelchair in front of a colorful mural on a brick wall. She is wearing dangling earrings, a black T-shirt and her hands are clasped in her lap. Photo by Shin-Yi Wang.
“Tova was an indispensable member of our team when we needed it most. She added capacity that was both focused and well-rounded, ensuring that the projects she led were collaborative and understood by everyone on our team. Working with Tova was wonderful because she asked the right questions, checked in at a cadence that was reassuring, but not overwhelming, and ran with projects we needed support with. I was able to provide guidance and then trust the work would be done well.
“My team learned how to better work across departments as she helped us launch our first large and multi-faceted virtual event, as well as our first member drive - both of which exceeded expectations in terms of production and turnout, and helped set a high standard for my young organization. Between her support with these projects, her management of our GOTV campaigns, and her leadership on our inclusive campaign guide, I would be delighted to contract with Tova again, but we may not need to because she helped develop our internal capacity so we are stronger than ever!
Tova is always on the lookout for opportunities and tools that will help DDP achieve our mission—even when she’s not on contract with us. It’s not surprising as she is always motivated by connecting people and organizations to build power in our movements.”
—Dessa Cosma, Executive Director of Detroit Disability Power
“I first met Tova years ago at a conference. Intending just a quick hello, I ended up spending quite a long time sitting with her because it became apparent she was not only funny and smart, but very aware of who she was and how she fit with the movement. I was also fascinated by her insights about the politics and dynamics among the various groups attending the event.
“Every few minutes, our conversation was interrupted when people came by the table Tova was staffing. I was struck by her ability to connect with folks, listen to them thoughtfully, and speak passionately and authentically about the organization she was representing. Later, I learned that her organizing and networking skills had dramatic success over time in raising the organization’s profile and multiplying its fundraising results. It was natural, a few years later, when my own organization came to a turning point, to seek Tova out for fundraising support and coaching about strategic direction and succession planning.
“In the time I’ve been her client, Tova has helped me with grassroots fundraising, case statements, program design and budgeting, assessment of partnership opportunities, and analysis of the larger ecosystem for the work. She has helped define options, provided reality checks when needed, and enabled me to find clarity when I was wandering in the mists of my own creative excitement.
“I’d recommend Tova to any organization that would benefit from thoughtful advice, help defining structures and work plans, and excellent writing and communications delivered on time and in synch with your values.”
—Mark Braverman, Executive Director of Kairos-USA
and author of A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing
Image Description: Mark, a white man, is seen in profile, looking left and smiling. He is sitting with his hands raised in a “steeple” position in front of him. He has short gray hair, glasses and is wearing a white dress shirt. Photo courtesy of Mark Braverman.
Image Description: Rita is an African-American woman with smooth brown skin and short, softly tousled dark brown hair. She has a serious expression with a hint of a smile. She is wearing a red sweater and standing in front of a window that looks out onto green leaves on a sunny day. Photo courtesy of Rita (Fulgiam) Hillman.
“I worked with Tova when I was in charge of assessing the business plans and creditworthiness of Michigan organizations seeking loans from the Opportunity Resource Fund. In that capacity, I reviewed the operations and finances of many nonprofits. Tova was one of the best Executive Directors in the nonprofit world that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She is exceptional as a leader because she has the keen ability to fully research and understand all aspects of a project.
“She is also passionate about many social justice issues that defend or help the underdog. I will tell anyone that Tova isn’t afraid to put her hands and feet in the mud to improve the lives of others.”
—Rita (Fulgiam) Hillman, Community Development Professional
and Certified Small Business Consultant,
Michigan Small Business Development Center
“I’ve worked with Tova on projects of every size and purpose for over 15 years. I appreciate that she always has a creative idea for how design can match and reinforce the messaging, but she also is very open to new ideas and gets excited when I suggest something a bit surprising. She is supremely attuned to details, but also very clear about deadlines and when it’s time to stop with fixes and get a project done.
I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together, which has ranged from pamphlets and flyers to books and exhibit display pieces. Tova has also introduced me to a wide range of organizations, including some she admired but did not work with directly. Over the years, I have seen her constant devotion to social justice, her respect for people and her insistence on pushing herself as hard as anyone else on a project. It’s rare to find someone so rewarding to work with, whose commitment to driving results for social change is matched by wit, kindness and flexibility.”
—Barbara Barefield, photographer and graphic designer
Image Description: Barbara is smiling, looking directly at the camera. She is a white woman with chin-length hair, reddish-brown with some gray. She wears glasses with fuchsia frames, a gray turtleneck and a gold necklace. Photo courtesy of Barbara Barefield.