Helping Make Grand Rapids Good with Local First


Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees recently approved a grant of $250,000 to Local First Educational Foundation for its “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign. The goal of the grant is to increase the number of businesses having a positive impact on the community with regard to job creation, equitable employment practices and living wage jobs through the efforts of locally-owned companies.

“Local First is committed to connecting West Michigan companies with the resources they need so they can use their business as a force for good,” said Elissa Hillary, president of Local First. “We are grateful for the Community Foundation’s generous support of Good for Grand Rapids. This grant will allow Local First to amplify the amazing work so many businesses are already doing right here in West Michigan.”

 “Good for Grand Rapids” inspires, equips and celebrates Grand Rapids companies that use their business to create high-quality jobs, stronger communities and a healthier Great Lakes region. It is designed to engage all companies in the discussion about how they can make a positive environmental and social impact while earning a profit, regardless of their size or industry.  “Good for Grand Rapids” also encourages local companies to take Local First’s Quick Impact Assessment and learn how they can use their business as a force for good.

 “This project addresses Community Foundation priority issues around creating an inclusive economy through entrepreneurism, access to good jobs and racial equity. It includes improved diversity and inclusion in local businesses, minority procurement policies and working with neighborhood businesses to hire residents,” said Diana Sieger, president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

 In 2014, another major grant was awarded to Local First and the success from that work built the basis for the recent award. “Local First achieved positive outcomes with its previous grant. In addition to increasing the number of certified B Corporations, they increased the number of businesses that took the Quick Impact Assessment and the number that took it multiple times; increased the number of minority-owned business members by 70 percent; and completed an internal planning process around being more intentional in their own diversity and inclusion practice,” said Program Director, Laurie Craft.