The Perks of Volunteering -- and it’s not just Satisfaction

Do you sing in your church choir, read adventure stories to a Grand Rapids Public Schools student or dispense dixie cups of water to runners who pass by during the Fifth Third River Bank Run? These are the types of activities that will earn you points to redeem at local business through the program later this year.

The first-of-its-kind reward points program is a collaboration between the City of Grand Rapids and the nonprofit organization, Local First, which encourages citizens to recycle. It's based on the recycle cart you bring to the curb weekly. The cart contains a microchip and assesses the weight of all the materials you save from entering the refuse system. The more you save, the more points you earn. That's the first phase of the program that was launched earlier this year.

The rollout of the volunteer portion hopes to incorporate your good deeds and may even be used as a fundraising tool for grassroots projects in your neighborhood. Do you want playground equipment in your local city park? The new functionality of the program is planned to allow you to rally your fellow neighbors to earn points through recycling and/or volunteerism, combine the points and redeem them with the city for that slide and swings the entire community will enjoy.

The initial rollout of the program has had fantastic success, with over 100 people/hour becoming members in the first few weeks.

"It's not quite lipdub growth, but it is has surpassed our expectations for the first phase," says City Manager Greg Sundstrom. "Local First is a great partner to work with." 

That success has converted into cost savings on the collection of refuse for our city -- a trend they hope to continue as the development of phase two is underway.

What does this mean for you? It's creating a better city, improving our economy and our environment. It's providing you rewards at local businesses. And, it's soon to be a way for you to impact your own community in positive ways with your neighbors.

Want to be a do-gooder? Here's how:
Sign up for by texting "GR" to 40491 or visiting the website 
Follow on Facebook 
Learn more about Local First 
Find information about Grand Rapids' single stream recycling

Source: Greg Sundstrom, City of Grand Rapids
Writer:  Jennifer Wilson, Do Good Editor
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