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Nonprofits

SPONSORED BY GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Grand Rapids-based Guiding Light Mission Inc. has tapped a longtime Amway Corp. community relations specialist to lead the nonprofit’s fundraising and communications.

A Grand Rapids nonprofit providing independent living services received a boost last week when Kent County voters extended a senior services millage that will help the organization’s recently launched technology support program.

Armed with new data on economic security, education and health outcomes, nonprofit officials hope an array of policy changes enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to address children’s and families’ needs are made permanent.


Arts and cultural organizations are helping to define Muskegon’s downtown resurgence as they innovate out of slumps in attendance and events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prince Shema arrived in Michigan from the Democratic Republic of the Congo via Ethiopia in 2013. With help from a local nonprofit organization, he completed an independent living preparation program while going to high school. 

The Michigan Nonprofit Association is gearing up to help oversee a new $50 million grant program included in the latest state budget to help small nonprofits recover from pandemic-related losses.



GRAND RAPIDS — The Diatribe Inc. is acquiring another Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that shares a similar mission of empowering youth and underrepresented populations through art and creativity.

GRAND RAPIDS — A $110,000 grant will help expand the Literacy Center of West Michigan’s Family Literacy Program, which helps equip non-native English speakers whose children attend local schools with literacy and communication skills.

Philanthropic giving by U.S. corporations surged last year compared to 2020, a positive sign for Michigan nonprofits that tend to rely more on corporate donors than individuals compared to other states.


Applications are now open for the first round of grants from a newly established fund for women-owned businesses in Muskegon County.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Diatribe Inc., a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that focuses on empowering youth through poetry, has received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Museum of Art has received an extensive painting collection by women artists and more than $11 million in cash donations to launch an expansion that will more than double the size of the museum.



GRAND RAPIDS — The Women’s Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides workforce assistance for women, plans to relocate and expand its services to the city’s southeast side.

Businesses and individuals around the world have stepped up to fundraise for Ukrainian refugees since Russia’s invasion began in February, but the head of a Southwest Michigan business development service has taken his show of support a step further. 

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.