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Urban Roots

Showing up: Join us to discover what we can learn from leaders in Burton Heights & Garfield Park

On The Ground Grand Rapids invites you to help us celebrate the incredible work being done by the residents, advocates and other leaders in the Burton Heights and Garfield Park neighborhoods during a community conversation this Tuesday, Dec. 6.


Happy Thanksgiving from Rapid Growth

From all of us at Rapid Growth, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday filled with family, friends and food.

Juan Carlos Angulo

RapidChat: Juan Carlos Angulo on starting over in the U.S., uncertainty after the election & more

Following the U.S. presidential election, many people who are immigrants are asking, "What's in store for my future?" For Juan Carlos Angulo, a Grand Rapidian who moved here from Mexico for work several years ago, the reality of that is uncertain. 


Speaking the language of community: Burton Heights & Garfield Park faith leaders focus on organizing

In Burton Heights and Garfield Park, church leaders are helping to craft evolutionary spaces to educate, empower and advocate for immigration and police reform and safe and affordable housing.


'Before the time of us': How trips to Lake Michigan are changing students' worldviews

While many of us may take for granted how easy it can be to make the 35-mile trip to Lake Michigan, the overwhelming majority of Grand Rapids Public Schools' fifth grade students have never seen this body of water. Financial hardship, lack of transportation and other barriers prevent many of the children from seeing this Great Lake, but GRPS and Open Systems Technologies are quickly changing that.


Breaking news: Grand Rapids still makes things!

By all accounts, Grand Rapids and Buffalo, New York seem almost like twins: our populations, geographies, industrial histories, and even current major employers are almost identical. So why is Grand Rapids doing so much better economically?


Making it in GR: Pitch competitions put entrepreneurs in the spotlight

Taking your business idea out into the world can be scary, but it's necessary for entrepreneurs who need funding. Pitch competitions have emerged as a fun, laid-back way for individuals to seek financial backing and get the community involved in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. 


Six reasons to brave West Michigan's trails this winter

You've all seen the billboards, and the mantra is true: "We choose this." Since we voluntarily live in West Michigan during cold and snowy winters, we might as well enjoy ourselves. So don't be afraid of the cold; embrace it this season on West Michigan's vast trail network with these six wintery activities.

Adnoris 'Bo' Torres, fatherhood coordinator.

Strong fathers, strong families: New program aims to support Latinx community

Two Grand Rapids groups, Family Futures and Strong Beginnings, have partnered to better serve an often marginalized community: Latinx fathers. Tackling issues such as language and cultural barriers, immigration fears, transportation needs, and education, the two organizations developed the research that led to the newly-launched Padres Fuertes program.


UIX: Laura Ward and Affinity Mentoring advocate more than just memorization for students

From academic assistance to emotional support, a ride to school, or even just a friend to laugh with, Laura Ward and her volunteers at Affinity Mentoring are helping young children achieve success during their crucial years of development.


The future of GR's southside: What will a land sale mean for Urban Roots and affordable housing?

The sale of the land where Urban Roots has been making its home on the city's southside is prompting concerns about the future of the farm that has been welcomed with open arms by neighbors, as well as fears of future development and displacement. For others, however, including the landowner, Linc Up, the sale is about ensuring there is affordable housing in the Madison Square area.


Bye-bye boys' club: Tackling inclusive growth in Grand Rapids' improv comedy scene is no joke

Grand Rapids' comedy scene is quickly growing. As it does, comedians are taking on equity issues that have long plagued comedy, both here and nationally, in a move they're hoping will make the city's laugh landscape a whole lot stronger and more inclusive.

Sam Tsemberis

How to end homelessness: Housing First founder Dr. Sam Tsemberis to speak in Grand Rapids

What does it take to ensure everyone in Grand Rapids has a place to call home? Dr. Sam Tsemberis, a clinical psychologist who founded the Housing First model that has significantly reduced homelessness in cities across the country, will tackle that question and more when he speaks in our city on Nov. 16.

FT iot

Getting back to the business of living: Amway's Sara Gonzalez shows us the humanity of technology

Even within one of the world's largest and most prolific corporations, the stars of innovation can still shine brightly. Here in West Michigan, Sara Gonzalez is illuminating new systems within the interconnected galaxies of design and technology at Amway.


G-Sync: Standing Rock and why Michigan matters

Only a fraction of the stories coming out of Standing Rock are making it to mainstream media sources, so local businessman Mark Sellers and Rapid Growth Publisher Tommy Allen hit the road to see for themselves what is happening with the Dakota Access Pipeline and at Oceti Sakowin Camp. Allen explains why what they discover there indeed matters to Michigan.
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