Kudos to our community's leaders!

What a week this has been! We hosted our annual Donor Reception this past Friday, October 29th at UICA. Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors of our event and to the great Heartside area restaurants that made the best food ever! And thank you to Jeff Meeuwsen and his great team providing the space when we had to change the venue due to the fact our elevator is out of commission. Much appreciated!

At the event we gave John Canepa the Jack Chaille Community Philanthropy Award which is given each year to a great leader who has given their time and resources back to our community. John certainly is one GRAND leader. We were proud to give him this award! He embodies all the key strengths of leadership - former President of Old Kent Bank and Trust which is now Fifth Third Bank. He consults with the firm Crowe Horwath and has led major development efforts in our community. Grand Action is led by him along with David Frey and Dick DeVos.

This week also saw the Grand Rapids Business Journal (GRBJ) release their annual listing of "40 Under 40" - those leaders who are indeed 40 years or younger and are truly making good strides in making our community the best ever!

I was amazed by their accomplishments and while I am not going to list all the winners, I will list those I know and/or may have a relationship with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. I am so very proud of these leaders and their accomplishments and thank the GRBJ for honoring them! I have also linked their names to the websites of the businesses/organizations they represent.

* Bridget Clark Whitney: Executive Director of Kid's Food Basket
* Emily Stoddard Furrow: Partner, DVQ Studio
* Darius Quinn: Human Resources Manager, County of Kent
* Elissa Hillary: Executive Director, Local First
* Matthew Downey: Director, Nonprofit Services & Development, Johnson Center for Philanthropy
* Latricia Trice: Marketing Communications Director, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
* Rachel Hood: Executive Director, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
* Rosalynn Bliss: Director, Residential Services, D.A. Blodgett/St. John's Home and a City Commissioner, City of Grand Rapids
* Rachel Mraz: Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
* Stacy Stout: Education Director, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
* Steve Faber : Executive Director, Friends of Grand Rapids Park
* Lorissa MacAllister: President, Enviah
* Jason Paulateer : VP and Development Advisor, PNC Bank
* Amy Ruis: Owner, Art of the Table
* Ryan Slusarzyk: Marketing Programs Manager, Amway Hotel Corp.

Also, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids hosted their annual Leadership awards program and their website notes that this is "an annual opportunity for local nonprofit and community leaders to come together and celebrate their accomplishments."

Congratulation to all the winners:

Edison: Jamiel Robinson Open Book Project, Executive Director

Exemplary Executive: Elissa Hillary Local First & Local First Educational Foundation Executive Director

Good to Great: Denise Cheng Grand Rapids Community Media Center -The Rapidian Citizen Journalism Coordinator

Grantmaking Guru: Nicole Notario-Risk Kent County Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund / Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation Program Manager / Program Consultant

DoGooder: Janelle Hill Arbor Circle Community Services Coordinator

Advocate: Ashley E. Nickels Grand Valley State University; National Organization for Women Women's Center Assistant Director; Grand Rapids President

Resource: Grand Rapids Community Media Center

Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year: Janay Brower Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness Coordinator

The future is in great hands! Congratulations one and all!!!!!