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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Three MI mayors address inclusion and equity at GR Economic Club

Economy road sign

While the U.S. economy has been on the upswing since 2009, that prosperity is not shared by all. New evidence suggests that fully half of American workers have experienced little to no income growth in decades. 

“And how do we make sure that as we go through these growing pains and changes how do we make sure that people aren’t left out.”

That’s Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. One of the ways Bliss says Grand Rapids is addressing inequities by building partnerships in communities. 

“As we try to use our resources to really leverage the resources in the community to build wealth but also to open up doors for entrepreneurs and start ups to make sure that our city is a great place where people can thrive.” 

In the journey to address economic inequity mayor of Lansing Andy Schor says they are focusing on using the city’s own funds and funneling them back to local social service organizations. 

“Lansing is one of few communities where we take one and a quarter percent of our general fund by ordinance and we put that into social services every year  so its about $3 million dollars that goes directly into social services, we don’t rely on the county for it, we do it ourselves.” 

For Kalamazoo’s mayor, Bobby Hopewell the answer to equity is possible by focusing on the removal of barriers and filling in the gaps. 

“We know that transportation is a huge challenge for them to meet their passion and get engaged so now all of our high school students ride our bus for free.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.