Role in increasing the vibrancy in our region
March 31st, 2008West Michigan has a great deal going for itself and we are all working hard to make sure that we are encouraging its growth and attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent that we can. Sounds like a brochure doesn't it? We are really digging in and trying to formulate our role going into the future in terms of spurring on economic development and supporting those organizations that are focused on this like The Right Place, Inc.
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation has a long history of encouraging community development including neighborhood improvements as well as supporting large community efforts including the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Place, and much more!
And we know that we can do more and certainly investing in a 100+ year old building on the corner of Oakes and Grandville makes a strong statement for our belief in core city development!
But what about the West Michigan region and what about the region beyond the borders of our state? We are looking at all of it and as we make some sense of what we may actually be able to do, others may have some ideas.
Not unique ideas but those that we may consider might include:
* Encouraging innovation for new products/industries/ideas
* Working in concert with other community foundations and other private foundations
* Learning from organizations that know better than we do about economic development - not reinventing the proverbial wheel
* Honoring our history of funding and community work around this issue
* Investing in projects that hold promise for our region in terms of spurring on new industries and businesses
As our vision statement proclaims: We envision a magnetic, interconnected West Michigan community. Moving into this realm during this time of great concern about the economy certainly seems to make sense and can help develop new ideas and industries. There is a role for the GRCF that much is for sure - the journey is continuing.