Longform Melvin Henley

Growing Michigan Together Council addresses housing and other concerns across the state

Established by Governor Whitmer, the Growing Michigan Together Council works to develop a long-term plan of action to address many issues of concern across the state. Different goals include jobs, talent, and people; infrastructure and places; PreK-12 and higher education, and revenue. Block by Block spoke with the Executive Director of the Growing Michigan Together Council and Michigan’s first Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe, and Melvin Henley at Community Economic Development Association of Michigan to hear about the council’s report.   

Longform Girl getting vaccinated

Boosting childhood immunization rates vital to community health

Recent data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows that 91% of kindergarteners in 2022 were up to date on their vaccinations, while rates of younger ages are seeing a decline. 

Feature Story Elizabeth Agius, WSU School of Social Work associate director of research administration, with Larry West, Peers to Higher Education project manager.

Wayne State University program helps peer support specialists pursue higher ed in mental health

The Peers to Higher Education program helps peer support specialists find funding and child care to support them in building a career in mental health.

Feature Story Reggie Howard, veteran and founder of Heroes Corner was one of the participating organizations at the I Belong Strong mental health forum.

Mental health event offers resources for Black veterans in Kent County

To address the disparity in care for Black veterans, two Grand Rapids organizations came together to host the inaugural “I Belong Strong” mental health forum to provide resources available in West Michigan.

Feature Story Small-Sandra

‘A mentor’s mentor’: DEI leaders celebrate Sandra Upton’s first book

When Sandra Upton stepped up to talk about her first book, she looked onto the faces of the top leaders doing diversity and inclusion work across West Michigan. Many think of the renowned Grand Rapids-based DEI expert as their mentor.

Feature Story Many Michigan families live below what is known as the ALICE line (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). A new grant program hopes to lift 100,000 Michigan ALICE families out of poverty in the next five years.

LEO Impact Grants will go toward helping Michigan’s struggling families

The MI Impact Grant program would distribute $15 million in awards to 10 nonprofit organizations around the state and hopefully lift 100,000 families out of working poverty over the next five years.

Feature Story Dwelling-Place-Small

Dwelling Place’s new leadership team reflects focus on people-first initiatives

With plans to make 2024 a year of significant investment and growth, Dwelling Place has expanded its leadership team to take on new roles. 

Longform MDHHS staff early 20th century.

State of Michigan public health celebrates 150 years of service to Michiganders

The State of Michigan’s public health system recently celebrated its sesquicentennial: 150 years in service to Michiganders. To mark the occasion, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has shared a nice collection of sesquicentennial information on its website.   

Longform Dr. Kelsey Sala-Hamrick is the Michigan Public Health Institute's MI ACE project director.

200-partner collaborative raises awareness about impact of adverse childhood experiences in Michigan

Partners in the Michigan ACE Initiative are working to raise awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), prevent ACEs, and foster resilience among children who have experienced them. 

Feature Story Holly Campbell, deputy director of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and Dr. Pennie Foster-Fishman, project leader for the Northwest Michigan Community Health Innovation Region Behavioral Health Initiative.

Northern Michigan health department spearheads effort to expand behavioral health workforce

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan's cross-sector collaboration involves a wide range of stakeholders who are pitching ideas and taking action on recruiting and retaining behavioral health care professionals across the region — and beyond.

Longform Chris Uhl

What’s next for housing in Kent and Ottawa counties

As Kent County grows faster than the rest of the state, the community looks at ways to address its ongoing housing shortages. Through government entities, upcoming developers like Housing Next, and seasoned community development financial institutions like IFF, Grand Rapids has a collaborative plan in place to address the issue.   

Feature Story There is something truly freeing about holding up the keys to one's own space. Bri beamed as she showed us her home, which was filled with plenty of morning sunlight.

Visualising change: A photo essay on Dégagé Ministries' groundbreaking Complex Care Housing program

Rapid Growth Publisher Tommy Allen stepped inside Dégagé Ministries' new Complex Care Housing building, the first in the state to address chronic homelessness among women with complex needs who struggle to maintain permanent housing.One of its newest residents was his guide.

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Ford Airport one of first airports to use sign language boards powered by AI

The Grand Rapids airport is one of the first in the nation to try out new technology powered by AI that is being used successfully at train stations in the United Kingdom. 

Feature Story Beatrice-Salgado-Small

‘Proud of what I do’: Preschool teacher honored for going above and beyond

Beatrice Salgado, a preschool teacher at the Early Learning Center in Grand Rapids, is one of 10 frontline workers who received the 2023 Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards.

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