Marla R. Miller
GVSU trends report highlights disruptive forces in philanthropy
Through the pandemic-related turmoil of 2020, many nonprofit organizations shifted focus or practices while others shined a light on longstanding disparities around health outcomes, racial equality and economic opportunity for people of color, researchers say.
Utility foundations use deep nonprofit network to distribute millions in COVID relief funds
The corporate foundations of the state’s two major energy utilities have distributed nearly $26.5 million in direct relief funds to meet basic needs such as food, shelter and personal protective equipment since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
United Way simulation tool shares experience of ALICE households
An online simulation tool rolled out by Heart of West Michigan United Way in September is designed to build empathy and help people understand what it’s like to live as an ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) household.
Kids Count report highlights toll of COVID-19 pandemic on Michigan families
The coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on children and families who are struggling to meet basic needs while stretching nonprofits that provide essential services around food, shelter and mental health, according to a new report.
Nonprofit leaders cautiously optimistic about 2021, some organizations face tough challenges
Some nonprofits survived the first nine months of the pandemic relatively unscathed while others are hanging on in hopes that a widely distributed vaccine lifts capacity restrictions and renews confidence in gathering indoors.
New GVSU philanthropy chair awaits move to Michigan and delving into local issues
Michael Layton looks forward to the day when he can walk around downtown Grand Rapids or join colleagues for a coffee or beer in person. Originally from Philadelphia, Layton is Grand Valley State University’s new W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy. He joined GVSU’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy in early September, but his relocation is on hold because of the pandemic. Layton founded and directed the Philanthropy and Civil Society Project at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, where he developed a groundbreaking research and advocacy program to understand and strengthen philanthropy and civil society.
Fennville center offers equine-assisted experiential learning to boost organizations’ team building, morale
Highly intuitive horses are experts at nonverbal communication and can sense chaos, conflict and other human emotions. They often mirror behaviors and, as herd animals, reveal the benefits of working in collaboration.
Member-based nonprofits bolster efforts to deliver aid to minority-owned businesses
When the coronavirus pandemic hit eight months ago, many Latinx and Black business owners missed out on federal loans and other relief because they didn’t have relationships with local bankers or didn’t have financial statements in order.
Bipartisan federal bill would bolster funding for Michigan’s state, national parks
In a state with a $26 billion outdoor recreation economy, the proposed federal Great American Outdoors Act is welcomed news among conservation advocates and could bolster the backlog of deferred maintenance projects at Michigan’s national and state parks.
PENT-UP DEMAND: Battling COVID-19, cancellations and high water, lakeshore communities hope tourism rebounds
Plagued by high water, COVID-19 business closures and canceled festivals, officials in lakeshore communities are developing plans to bring visitors back to restaurants and lodging in hopes of tourists’ return this summer.
Crisis puts spotlight on food issues
One week before schools throughout Michigan were ordered to shut down, leaders with Kids’ Food Basket had already begun to put a plan in place to meet the needs of the children they serve on a daily basis.
DNR refunds millions in camping and lodging fees as state prepares to reopen parks, camping this month
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued roughly $4 million in refunds for camping and lodging reservations through June 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to state officials.
‘From knowing to doing better’: Sisters Who Lead study offers ‘big wakeup call’ to employers on challenges for women of color
Despite advanced degrees, ambition and experience, women of color in West Michigan continue to face unique challenges when it comes to getting hired and promoted, particularly for executive leadership roles, according to a new study.
Meat Block’s retail store keeps up with demand despite volatile market
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP — The Meat Block Inc.’s restaurant accounts have taken a big hit due to COVID-19, but the Muskegon-area retail store and online orders have kept the Anderson family busy.
Topshelf in Muskegon sticks to pizza-subs-beer formula
MUSKEGON — As one of the only restaurants open in downtown Muskegon, Topshelf Liquor Bar & Pizza owner Jim Noel is sticking to a formula he knows well.
Seven Steps Up worries about future of live concert venues
SPRING LAKE — Gary and Michelle Hanks have spent the last nine years building a niche business and bringing a variety of singer-songwriters and rising musicians to Seven Steps Up.
Soldadera Coffee co-owner expands business from side hustle to full-time gig
GRAND RAPIDS — For the family-owned startup Soldadera Coffee LLC, the COVID-19 crisis has brought an unexpected opportunity.
Lakeshore retailers adapt, move online as some scramble to stay afloat
As the owner of longtime downtown Grand Haven retailer Down To Earth, Sholeh Veiseh has turned to hosting virtual fashion shows and offering sales on social media to bring in some revenue during the coronavirus closure.
Federal stimulus funding available as nonprofits face unique business challenges
As the economic effects of the coronavirus deepen, the nonprofit sector faces unique organizational and financial challenges as it seeks relief and recovery.
DNR adjusts park operations, prohibits fishing charters until April 13
For those getting antsy and in search of the outdoors, the message from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is simple: Do it close to home.
Muskegon approves $150K in emergency loans for Lakeside businesses
The Muskegon City Commission has approved $150,000 in emergency loans for businesses in the Lakeside Business District that have struggled from a troubled road construction project and forced closures due to the coronavirus.
Shelters face fundraising challenges but stay open, step up safety precautions
While most Americans can self-quarantine against the coronavirus from the comforts of home, the area’s homeless population and domestic violence victims rely on shelters to keep them safe. Many guests and clients have complex needs, compromised immune systems, and chronic mental or physical health issues, making essential services even more critical.
Arts and nonprofit organizations close, reschedule events in wake of coronavirus crisis
During a time when people may need some escapism and laughs the most, the stage is silent. The music has stopped. The curtain has dropped.
SAFETY FIRST: Some employers consider adjusting policies for marijuana, offering second chances
Some West Michigan employers are altering their policies and procedures to adapt to the new operating environment in which legal cannabis is becoming more readily available at retail locations across the region.
GTF Solutions mills hemp waste into new revenue streams
Gary Schuler never expected to jump into the industrial hemp industry, but he finds himself now pitching the plant’s potential and its milled-down byproduct for new uses.
Muskegon official: City poised for continued growth, reinvestment
Dave Alexander was appointed business development manager for the City of Muskegon in July. Alexander was formerly the executive director of Downtown Muskegon Now, which recently disbanded. His new role includes acting as the Downtown Development Authority’s staff liaison, overseeing the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and supporting commercial retail development throughout the city.
Michigan hemp growers learn lessons with first harvest
Michael Klumpp did not know what to expect when he ventured into the world of industrial hemp, but the farmer soon realized growing a viable crop was only half the battle.
M&A Awards: Muskegon Area First transitions to private-sector model
With former CEO Jim Edmonson back at the helm and a new board of directors, Muskegon Area First has positioned itself for fiscal and programmatic growth to support Muskegon County’s economic development into the next decade.
OPEN ACCESS? As city approves developments, group advocates for public access on Muskegon Lake
MUSKEGON — After decades of site remediation and restoration projects to clean up Muskegon Lake, the south shoreline is ripe for redevelopment and various stakeholders are watching and waiting to see how it unfolds.
RIDING FOR A REASON: Nonprofit Southwest Michigan motorcycle club helps local charities, counters stereotypes
KALAMAZOO — The Blacktop Saints Riding Club is among hundreds of motorcycle clubs throughout the country that are riding for good.