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"Good for Grand Rapids" campaign receives Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant

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Local First

Local First West Michigan’s “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign is receiving a quarter of a million dollars grant. The money will be used to help locally-owned companies create jobs and have a positive impact on the community.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundations is continuing its support of Local First with a three year, $250,000 grant.

Local First’s “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign focuses on employment, minority owned businesses and equitable employment practices. “In addition one of the things they hope to do is increase the number of certified B Corporations.” Those are for-profit businesses providing positive impact to its workforce and society. Laurie Craft is Grand Rapids Community Foundation Program Director. “But then also increase the number of and connections between local businesses and employees who may live in the neighborhood, particularly in those areas where we see really high levels of unemployment, pockets of Grand Rapids where unemployment levels are particularly high, much higher than the local average. And in addition I think we’d like to see an increase in the number of minority owned businesses and I think Local First is planning to work with others who are working in that space to achieve that goal.”

In 2014, The Grand Rapids Community Foundation provided an initial grant. It created the Local First Quick Impact Assessment which helps locally-owned businesses assess practices. “It’s about 30 questions long. It’s an assessment that benchmarks your impact areas. Your environmental, social and community impact areas.” Hannah Schulze is Program and Fund Development Manager for Local First West Michigan. She says the assessment can determine responsible business practices. “And then Local First has a series of workshops around topics that may help businesses improve their impact areas.”

Taken together, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant promotes overcoming inequities growing an inclusive economy.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.