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Nonprofits

SPONSORED BY GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

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.

BYRON TWP. — Special Olympics Michigan Inc. has launched the public phase of a capital campaign to raise $20 million to transform the former South Christian High School into what would be the largest Special Olympics facility in the world.

new legislation session in Lansing this year has brought another attempt to reinstate tax credits for charitable contributions to homeless shelters, food kitchens, food banks or community foundations.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major shifts in philanthropic giving last year as human services organizations benefited and small-level donors increased, according to a recent report from global nonprofit Giving Tuesday.

MUSKEGON — Leadership at the Frauenthal Center stepped back in 2019 to administer a full architectural assessment of the historic performing and events center, which has endured nine decades of consistent wear and tear.

KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts recently received a $65,000 grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art as part of a nationwide initiative.

For nearly 13 years, Jeremy DeRoo has played an integral role in seeking equity within disadvantaged Grand Rapids neighborhoods, particularly when it comes to housing and development opportunities.

GRAND RAPIDS —The Dwelling Place board of directors has selected Jeremy DeRoo as the nonprofit housing developer’s next CEO.

GRAND RAPIDS — A trio of nonprofits are partnering to develop a roughly $5 million facility this fall to help meet ongoing needs for early childhood education in a historically disadvantaged part of the city.

GRAND RAPIDS — Faith-based homeless shelter Mel Trotter Ministries has raised $9.8 million so far as part of a nearly $15 million capital campaign to upgrade and expand housing resources and bolster its workforce development program.

Jazz McKinney started as executive director of the Grand Rapids Pride Center on March 15 after previously serving as the organization’s interim director and chair of its Transgender and Gender-Non-Conforming Committee. Originally from Detroit, McKinney — who uses they/them/their pronouns — is a Grand Valley State University graduate and longtime Grand Rapids resident.

Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing stay-at-home order hit Michigan last spring, Ann Arbor tech entrepreneur Joe Malcoun formed a philanthropic venture to help restaurants and frontline workers.

KALAMAZOO — The Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition has taken ownership of the 168-year-old First Baptist Church downtown and seeks to raise millions of dollars for renovations and expanded programming.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids is partnering with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation on what has been a years-long process of creating a fund to increase the amount of affordable housing.

Grand Rapids officials say part of the city’s post-pandemic rebound for events and entertainment should include a focus on reviving a local arts council to coordinate funding and programs.

MUSKEGON — In mid-March the Muskegon Museum of Art announced a $9.9 million expansion plan to add additional gallery space to the facility, which — according to museum officials — has already been mostly funded. 

Earlier this month, Kent and Ottawa counties separately released results from their Community Health Needs Assessment reports, which compile data from surveys of county residents, health care professionals, and community leaders. 

The Lansing-based Association of Accredited Child & Family Agencies launched a new effort in mid March calling for equitable funding for child welfare agencies that provide vital services to Michigan families.

GRAND RAPIDS — New City Neighbors is in the process of relocating its operations from Fourth Reformed Church following a dispute last year over the church’s position on sexual orientation and gender identity.

GRAND RAPIDS — Bethany Christian Services’ announcement this month that it would begin to help LGBTQ parents nationwide adopt children was a major policy reversal for the global adoption agency and, for civil rights advocates, appeared to be a step toward progress.

MUSKEGON — Two Muskegon nonprofits are partnering on a new affordable housing pilot program calling for six new homes in the city just east of downtown. 

Grand Haven-based nonprofit Do More Good has merged with a Nebraska organization that provides educational resources to nonprofits across the U.S., a move that officials say will expand their reach and mission.

GEORGETOWN TWP. — Hudsonville-based nonprofit Hand2Hand recently purchased a former Aldi grocery store to consolidate its office and warehouse space into one location.

Mel Trotter Ministries’ acquisitions of two other Grand Rapids nonprofits in 2020 marked the start of a significant, long-term shift for the nonprofit that executives say will fundamentally change the organization.

The full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy was still largely unknown when the first round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans was announced in late March 2020.

GRAND RAPIDS — After acquiring two other Grand Rapids nonprofits over the last year, Mel Trotter Ministries is considering plans for a housing development after purchasing an abandoned property on the city’s south side.

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.

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. 

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.

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.