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For Lara Kitts, paying it forward is steadily becoming a full-time job.

Kitts chairs the board of the Family Hope Foundation, a growing all-volunteer organization launched in 2010. The organization works across West Michigan to unburden families that have special needs children.

After a decade of budget slashing in schools and arts groups, starting an arts-based school in Grand Rapids might not seem like a winning proposition, but it's exactly what Grand Rapids Symphony education director Claire VanBrandeghen plans to do.

If Americans know how to do one thing, it's barbeque. For many it's a family tradition, and that's exactly why the second generation, family-owned Miller Welding Supply hosts its annual "Bad to the Bone BBQ Rib Cook-off," an event which benefits Hospice of Michigan.

WEST MICHIGAN — For the first time in recent memory, the state of Michigan is actually adding money back to its higher education budget.

Grand Valley State University's latest venture seeks to grow management talent in the region. 

The university this spring formed the Center for Leadership & Innovation as part of the Seidman College of Business to provide training for middle managers at businesses across West Michigan.

Owners of the Eastown landmark and favorite breakfast spot Wolfgang's Restaurant have partnered with D.A. Blodgett – St. Johns, putting their time and skills into honoring Grand Rapids area foster families.

It was faith and family that inspired John Loeks, president of Celebration Cinemas, to put his business connections to use for children in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

Pay it Forward - Laurie Beard Founders Bank

Written by | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 09:40 |

For a relatively small company, Founders Bank & Trust does a lot for the community. Every year the bank selects a handful of charities to highlight and offers ways for employees to get involved.

Q&A: David Rosen, Ph.D.

Written by | Friday, 13 April 2012 11:12 |

When Oliver Evans steps down in July as president of Kendall College of Art and Design — the school he’s led for 18 years — he will be succeeded by David Rosen, currently the senior VP and VP of academic affairs at Woodbury University, a private California school. A former professor of English and drama, he also directed academic and small theater productions and is a published writer of fiction and of one rock song, “Valerie,” released by the Greg Kihn Band. Rosen talked with MiBiz about his vision for Kendall.

A new program not only helps members of the community to find affordable housing, but it also serves as a vehicle to teach other people the skills they need for a successful career in the construction industry.

A coalition of Michigan universities aims to accelerate the commercialization of technology developed in their labs by developing a broader talent base that can take a concept to the marketplace.

Once upon a time, if you wanted a Papa John’s pizza, you’d pick up the phone and order one. These days, customers are just as likely to place their orders with a Papa John’s app downloaded from the iTunes store. The company started taking orders online a decade ago, and online orders represent a bigger slice of the pizza chain’s sales every year.

Enrollments in Master’s of Business Administration programs usually reflect the vigor of the economy — in reverse.

With the new Seidman School of Business, Grand Valley State University aims to further cement its connection to Grand Rapids and to the region’s businesses

Wesley Lentz, Wiser Financial Group

Written by | Monday, 19 March 2012 14:16 |

Wesley Lentz believes it is his responsibility to help youths understand what business is all about. That’s why he teaches through the Junior Achievement of Southwest Michigan: to give back the knowledge and resources he’s learned over the years.

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