Teri Foster Award


Every so often, an individual comes along who views downtown revitalization efforts not merely as a job, but as a labor of love. These rare individuals make a dramatic impact not only on an individual community, but on the entire field of downtown revitalization. This most esteemed award honors one of the Commonwealth’s most ardent supporters of local communities– Teri Foster.

Teri was born in 1953 in Somerset County PA. She was a 1971 graduate of Somerset Area Senior High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The Pennsylvania State University in 1975.She then went on to receive one of ten annual Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Internships with the Richmond Virginia Times Dispatch. Teri returned to Pennsylvania in 1978 to begin her public service career at the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs (now the Department of Community and Economic Development).

Teri was at the Department of Community Affairs for over 18 years where she advocated for community development and especially downtown revitalization through local government action. Her job was to educate local officials, community and economic development professionals and local volunteer leaders in problem solving through hands on workshops and training sessions. She traveled across the wide expanse of Pennsylvania on a weekly basis, spending hundreds of hours developing and presenting concepts such as the Main Street Approach, at first preceding and then supporting the actions of the PDC. She had a great commitment to Pennsylvania communities and the impact on the entire field of downtown revitalization. Her declining health caused her to leave Commonwealth employment in 1995.She and her husband then travelled the country until her death while visiting Mexico on December 11, 1996 at the age of 43.

In an effort to recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond the normal requirements of their job (and for an extended period of time), Pennsylvania Downtown Center reserves this most esteemed award. This category is only open to individuals with10 or more years of experience in the downtown revitalization arena, and who have demonstrated a commitment to the Main Street or Elm Street philosophy and a deep understanding and appreciation of downtowns as the soul of community. The nature of their contributions must be evidenced through impact on more than one community, although the nominee need not necessarily have worked in more than one business district during their professional career. Due to the nature of this award, approval is required by PDC’s Executive Director and the Teri Foster Awards Committee, prior to submission to PDC executive committee for review and approval. For this award only, a nominee need not be a member of Pennsylvania Downtown Center.

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