Taking Action in Our Community

While making grants to nonprofits is core to our work, there's something else we do that sets us apart—we call it Community Leadership. When we see an issue that needs addressing, we gather other leaders and work to find a solution. Read about our efforts here.

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I’ve never believed that people should be treated differently based upon race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or for any other inherent part of a person’s makeup, and I want help to change that.

Carol Sarosik + Shelley Padnos - Founders of Our LGBTQ Fund

West Michigan, it's Time!

Our Community's First LGBT Fund

Our LGBTQ Fund was established by Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik, a West Michigan couple who chose to spearhead changes in the community after attending OutGiving, a LGBTQ philanthropy conference. Inspired by the conference and the insight that the LGBTQ community needs to initiate support for LGBTQ issues, they partnered with Grand Rapids Community Foundation to lead the charge against issues faced by LGBTQ youth. Their matching gift of $100,000 helped establish the Fund in 2014 and over 500 people have contributed to the fund so far.

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Surrounding Students with Support

Higher Education Happens Here

Challenge Scholars bridges the education gap by guaranteeing students a last-dollar scholarship and surrounding them with extra academic and college readiness supports beginning in 6th grade. Students in the graduating classes of 2020 - 2028 at Harrison Park School and Westwood Middle School, Union High School are enrolled as Challenge Scholars. To be eligible for the two or four year scholarship they must graduate from Union High School.

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Our Legacy Continues

Together we will impact the future.

Our Black Legacy Fund, led by community volunteers, builds on the legacy of giving in Black communities in greater Grand Rapids. This endowed Field of Interest fund has traditionally focused on providing education and job opportunities for Black youth. Today, the Black Legacy Fund is building on that legacy and broadening the scope of the fund’s impact. 

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