Champions of the East

Operating since 2010, East Frederick Rising is THE proponent organization that champions the well-being and vitality of residents, businesses and organizations invested in the current and future success of the east side of Frederick City. Working across the community, we champion the fulfillment of the abundant opportunities existing within East Frederick, where all are welcome to pursue their dreams and goals, and where all can prosper.

In pursuit of this mission, we engage in a collaborative approach that involves gathering insights from stakeholders in our community, such as residents, businesses, city leaders, developers and professionals. Our strategy involves fostering consensus through facilitating conversations between various stakeholders, open forums for discussion, and by creating an environment of respectful cooperation between all segments of the community

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East Frederick Rising envisions a renaissance in the east end of Frederick City, a community that is vibrant, safe and diverse; where residential livability and commercial opportunities flourish, consistent with the character and charm of Frederick, and in accordance with smart growth principles.

Meet Our Board OFFICERS

Heather Goddard

Heather Goddard


Heather Goddard is a strong leader in the East Frederick community as a mother, wife, business owner and an advocate for her community. And this is evident when you walk into her Mexican restaurant, Café Bueno which she owns alongside her husband. She enjoys living and working in the East Fredrick Community and is excited to continue seeing it move forward.

Vicki Understein

Vice President

I am a recent retiree from the property/casualty insurance industry and a resident of East Frederick. I am excited to be a part of East Frederick Rising and to work towards the betterment of East Frederick. 

Laura Brown


I am a Workforce Development Professional focusing on helping Young Adults in our community reach their education and employment goals. My family and I live in the Renn Quarter Neighborhood, located in East Frederick. My husband and I both work in East Frederick, and are excited to raise our daughters in this growing and vibrant community! I am honored to be a part of East Frederick Rising and hope to help shape the future of East Frederick.

Ed Hinde


Ed’s professional career has spanned a spectrum of roles for start-up and early-stage development organizations including strategy and product development for a leading international food & beverage company, special projects for PepsiCo, market research for Abbott Labs, and the creation and executive management of a leading homeless youth services nonprofit. Ed is also the Founder of Good Works Frederick, a local community development corporation that works to fulfill unmet human service needs in Frederick County.

Hannah Nickerson

Board Member

Hannah Nickerson is a life-long resident of the area. After 10 years as an engineer and Sustainability lead in biotech, she has recently launched her own consulting business to help organizations advance more sustainable operations. Her passion for environmental sustainability extends beyond the business realm- she knows that true sustainability starts with the way we design our systems. She hopes to bring her expertise in this space to EFR by advocating for low-carbon transportation options like bike lanes and walkable greenways, affordable housing, and energy and water efficient buildings in a city that is built for people, not cars.

Melayne A.C. Richards

Board Member

Melayne, a dedicated Frederick, MD resident for many years, now calls Frederick’s Eastchurch neighborhood home, just a stone’s throw away from downtown Frederick. She’s deeply rooted in the community, as evidenced by her daughter’s attendance at a local high school.

Beyond her residential ties, Melayne is a co-founder and proprietor of M & L’s Ragin Cajun, where she brings the flavors of New Orleans-style southern cuisine to the Frederick area through catering services. Her commitment extends beyond culinary pursuits; she’s fervently dedicated to fostering growth, development, and minority participation within the Frederick community.

With a robust corporate background spanning 27 years, Melayne has held executive roles in Federal Government contracting and acquisitions. Her expertise has been instrumental in supporting Fortune 500 companies, overseeing various projects, and managing acquisitions.


Vanessa Moreno

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Vanessa has a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado, Denver where her focus lay in community development with interests in historic preservation and affordable housing. Vanessa joined East Frederick Rising in 2018 as an intern and after some time away, now serves as Communications and Outreach Coordinator. As an outreach coordinator, her job is building community engagement strategies to increase awareness around City planning initiatives and projects in East Frederick, as well as connecting with local stakeholders. Vanessa is passionate about city planning and the intricacies around how people, nature and the built environment interact with one another. As a Frederick-native, she looks forward to bringing this passion to East Frederick’s growing community. When she isn’t busy, you can find her on a trail or strolling around Downtown with her furry companion, Fly.

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