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Nonprofit

Nonprofits (131)

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation is fortifying an effort that allows nonprofit and for-profit organizations to tap into the institutional knowledge of retirement-age individuals.

Our LGBT Fund hit a milestone to close out 2015 when it announced its first grant of $20,000 to a collaborative program involving Arbor Circle and the Lesbian Gay Community Network of West Michigan (The Network).

A group of Grand Rapids women who pooled their funds to make a collective charitable donation last year hope to build off the success of their initial event and make more lasting impacts in the community.

Foundations can become lost in red tape when it comes to investing in certain for-profits or nonprofit entities that support their missions, but new federal legislation aims to help cut through that bureaucracy. The federal Philanthropic Facilitation Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., would streamline the process for foundations to make investments in businesses or nonprofits involved in activities that align with their missions.

Identifying sources of best practices and talent — and then cultivating that talent — are two key steps in creating an innovative, entrepreneurial nonprofit organization. That’s according to a panel of West Michigan nonprofit executives who gathered on Thursday at the Studio D2D Event Center in Grand Rapids for the 2015 MiBiz Best-Managed Nonprofits Awards, presented in cooperation with Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Having a genuine passion for the organization’s mission serves as a prerequisite for becoming the executive director of any nonprofit. For an example of that passion in action, one needn’t look beyond Vera Beech.

As an organization with an all-volunteer board and one part-time staff member, The Family Hope Foundation Inc. knows how to make the best of its limited resources. Despite its small size, the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit, which offers therapy scholarships to special needs children, serves more than 105 families per year.

Longevity tends to be a double-edged sword. Just ask Cathy Holbrook, executive director of the 132-year-old St. Cecilia Music Center, located in downtown Grand Rapids. “While that history is amazingly wonderful and beneficial and we’re certainly proud of it, at the same time, you have to stay relevant,” Holbrook said.

Formed nearly 40 years ago, Hospice of Michigan provides end-of-life care to more than 1,700 people each day. The nonprofit provides only end-of-life palliative and hospice care, which allows the organization to “be big enough to have the resources to try new things, but be small enough to move quickly when we need to,” said Executive Director Marcie Hillary.

As a nonprofit devoted to bridging workforce gaps in Southwest Michigan, Benton Harbor-based Kinexus focuses on thinking more like a for-profit company as it strives to help other businesses grow. The organization, which functions as the Michigan Works! provider for Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, believes that taking down silos and removing barriers in the areas of workforce, community and economic development have helped make it successful.

From early on, The Indian Trails Camp Inc. has adopted an entrepreneurial approach to growing its organization. As the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organization developed its programs over the years, it made a point to avoid coming up with its own problems to solve.

Despite its humble beginnings in 1985 as a food closet to feed hungry neighbors at John Knox Presbyterian Church, The Pantry has evolved into a standalone organization that moved 750,000 pounds of food last year. Michael Merren, The Pantry’s executive director for the last four years, is one individual that has helped usher in the new era for the Kentwood-based food pantry.

An apparent disinterest in interacting with neighbors, voting or charitable giving aren’t exactly positive traits of a future civic leader, but it’s true for Michigan’s next crop. The recently released 2015 Michigan Civic Health Index highlighted the vastly different civic profiles of millennials and the “silent” generation, outlining how those differences can be addressed to promote a greater civic health in the state.

The chore of manually following up with each person who adopted a dog was becoming cumbersome for the Humane Society’s staff. Moreover, the organization couldn’t even execute on that crucial step for clients who adopted cats. As a result, the organization automated the process with technology it accessed free of charge as part of Grand Rapids GiveCamp.

KALAMAZOO — After seven years operating as one of the marquee programs for a Kalamazoo-based nonprofit organization, the Can-Do Kitchen is poised to establish itself as its own 501(c)(3).

Despite solid growth over the last two decades, the staff and board of trustees for the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area came to the realization that they were bolstering only one side of what was supposed to be a two-pronged mission for the organization.

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