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Nonprofits

SPONSORED BY GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

GRAND RAPIDS — A proposal that would allow a newly created nonprofit to help Grand Rapids cannabis companies meet their social equity pledges is facing pushback from some business owners and city officials who see it as diluting social justice efforts.

GRAND RAPIDS — New City Neighbors is set to unveil its new location at a renovated urban farmhouse that sits on a 1-acre plot in the city’s Creston neighborhood.

BYRON CENTER — A nonprofit that helps rebuild homes following natural disasters has moved into a newly constructed building in Byron Center after previously working from two separate locations. 


Nate Beene’s decision to join the leadership team at Construction Allies in Action was driven by his passion to remove barriers for local women and minority business owners in the construction industry.

ALLEGAN — A disability advocacy nonprofit will open a dog treat bakery storefront to create more employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A new nonprofit organization is working to create a membership-based program to provide resources for minority-owned, women-owned and micro-local construction contractors.



Distributing excess product to groups in need can be a cumbersome process for large companies, and a Grand Rapids-area organization aims to solve that problem by acting as an intermediary between corporations and nonprofits in need.

Anew nonprofit organization looks to build a network of startup company founders across Michigan that entrepreneurs can turn to for support and advice while also growing their philanthropy work.

A Q&A with Attah Obande, director of dream fulfillment with SpringGR


Despite widespread federal and state programs aimed at providing COVID-19 pandemic relief funds, many nonprofit organizations fell through the cracks, nonprofit and state government officials reported during a recent event.

Disability Advocates of Kent County received a $975,000 grant to continue its work helping Michigan’s low-income seniors age at home. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives plans to relocate to an 18,000-square-foot, three-story space in Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood, which would be a major expansion for the nonprofit organization.



Chris Sargent compares the merging of three Michigan-based United Way affiliates to a regional business with local outlets.

pilot child care program expansion will help West Michigan parents find affordable child care, tackling one factor that has contributed to labor shortages and employees’ difficulty returning to work.

The first phase of construction work to turn the former South Christian High School into a $20 million Special Olympics Michigan Inc. Unified Sports and Inclusion Center is expected to wrap up in May.


Dr. Teri Behrens, who has served as executive director of Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy since 2018, has announced that she will retire this year.

Broadway Grand Rapids is making a swift rebound from pandemic-related show cancellations with a current two-week, sold-out run of the hit musical, “Hamilton.” The organization, which was formed in 1988 to bring touring Broadway productions to town, is also starting 2022 with a change in leadership. Longtime marketing director Meghan Distel, who helped bring in bigger productions and more season-ticket holders over the past decade, was recently named president and CEO to replace Mike Lloyd, who is retiring after 12 years with the organization he joined after a lengthy career in journalism. Distel recently discussed plans to further grow the organization with more community partnerships and by making live theater more accessible to West Michigan residents.

A$40,000 grant will help a West Michigan nonprofit form a new program to tackle opioid use disorder. 


Staffing shortages have become commonplace across industries over the past two years, but the nonprofit sector has unique workforce challenges when it comes to salary competition with the for-profit sector.

GRAND RAPIDS — A third-party investigation into the Grand Rapids Community Media Center found no evidence of “board negligence or of financial improprieties” following claims by former staff and board members. 

The rapidly growing cryptocurrency phenomenon is emerging as a key fundraising tool for nonprofits that can sustain giving in new ways while also bringing in a younger demographic to philanthropy.


Steelcase Foundation President Daniel Williams is one of 19 people in the country selected for a fellowship to help address intergenerational poverty.

Forming a new foundation creates greater structure for Mercantile Bank of Michigan’s corporate philanthropy.

Nonprofit leaders and researchers say maintaining donor relationships is perhaps the biggest ongoing challenge for organizations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues surging and creating distance between funders.


For nearly four decades, the Literacy Center of West Michigan has been embedded with communities to improve literacy skills of children and adults.

The Grand Rapids-based Women’s Resource Center experienced a surge in demand for its services at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Wege Foundation’s $1 million investment committed to the New Community Transformation Fund comes from a shared vision to support greater economic diversity and inclusion in West Michigan’s economy.


The Michigan Nonprofit Association last week named longtime Vice President Kelley Kuhn as its next president and CEO.

As the new leader of Kalamazoo-based Urban Alliance, Chris Pompey wants to take more creative approaches to overcoming generational poverty. Pompey, who’s been with the organization in various roles since 2018 and was named permanent executive director last month, sees opportunities to lead more social enterprises that help people find meaningful work.

BYRON TWP. —  Pam Liggett isn’t sure whether the nonprofit she leads would exist today if it wasn’t for Special Olympics Michigan Inc.’s new headquarters that’s anchoring a hub for several West Michigan nonprofits south of Grand Rapids.


Seneca Powers took a familiar path among young professionals born and raised in West Michigan who left town with professional aspirations. She’s also part of the demographic that the region must lure back to meet its long-term workforce needs.

Even after nearly four decades in nonprofit administration, Scott Lewis knows there’s more to learn and that he can become a better leader.

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University has exceeded its $115 million goal in the Now and Always comprehensive fundraising campaign seven months ahead of its official close.


Over the past four months, anonymous donations to support talent development, education and public services in the Kalamazoo area have now exceeded $1 billion, which local officials call a transformative and unique sum for the community.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Community Media Center, a nonprofit founded in 1980 to provide community programming across various media platforms, is the subject of both internal and external reviews, MiBiz has learned.

The philanthropic arm of Detroit-based utility DTE Energy has awarded more than $350,000 in grants to West Michigan nonprofits to support job readiness, food and education programs.


A Q&A with LaKiya Thompson Jenkins, executive director of LINC UP

When Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids canceled LaughFest a few days into the festival in March 2020, it marked one of the first major events in West Michigan that was sidelined because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BYRON TWP. — Disability Advocates of Kent County is launching the public phase of a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to move its headquarters and create an accessibility showroom at a nonprofit hub under development in Byron Township. 


Bipartisan statewide legislation introduced earlier this summer would temporarily waive fees and expand opportunities for charitable gaming events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After seven years at the helm of Blandford Nature Center, President and CEO Jason Meyer announced earlier this month that he will be stepping away from his post at the end of the year.

Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy has launched a new endowment to support professional development at local nonprofits that may not have the resources to grow.


GRAND RAPIDS — Community development organization LINC UP has named LaKiya Thompson Jenkins as the nonprofit’s new executive director.

A recent $400 million donation to the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence has again raised questions about Michigan’s municipal funding model and broader issues around philanthropy paying for basic governmental services.

The Food Bank Council of Michigan is partnering with state officials and local food banks to help reduce food insecurity among senior residents, an ongoing problem that was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.


KALAMAZOO — City officials announced today that the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence has received an anonymous $400 million donation to support the nonprofit’s mission to continue providing key city services without increasing local taxes.

Alison Freas saw the opportunity to lead a Grand Rapids nonprofit focused on career development as a broader platform for her longtime work in the private sector. Freas, who begins her new role as executive director of Grand Rapids-based The SOURCE on July 26, has a decade’s worth of experience in various human resources roles at Herman Miller Inc., most recently as manager of career development. Formed in 2003, The SOURCE now partners with roughly 20 area companies to promote employee retention and advancement through specific job training, personal growth classes and other support services to help employees overcome workforce barriers. Freas spoke with MiBiz about her goal to expand The SOURCE’s partnerships in the region and lessons learned from the pandemic.

New research from Grand Valley State University is shining an unusual spotlight on the spending activity of donor advised funds, an emerging philanthropic tool that’s gaining speed with relatively little regulatory oversight.