Diversity breeds strength in the workplace, community, social innovation coverage

Diversity: an almost ubiquitous term when it comes to so many aspects of business. Yet, when it comes to the topic of strengthening in any subject, diversity is key. Here’s to a happy new year in social innovation, and a promise to deliver stories that truly showcase the strength in diversity that West Michigan has to offer.
Diversity: an almost ubiquitous term when it comes to so many aspects of business. Yet, when it comes to the topic of strengthening in any subject, diversity is key.

Stock portfolios, exercise routine, university concentrations, marketing strategy, and even farming schedules rely on diversity to provide robust and reliable results. The synopsis of a University of Minnesota study conducted by Lisa M. Leslie, Mark Snyder, and Theresa M. Glomb, “Who Gives? Multilevel Effects of Gender and Ethnicity on Workplace Charitable Giving," indicated that organizations with diverse makeups were more charitable than more homogenous ones when it came to calls for aid outside their workplaces. That study indicated that charitable giving increased across all employees increased with the amount of female and minority representation. In an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, writer Corinna Wu cited the study, adding, “all in all, these results send a compelling message to organizational leaders who want to strengthen the connection between their company and their community.”

West Michigan—and Grand Rapids, in particular— has been touted as having a very charitable population, both with money and time. Whether or not that stems from diverse workplaces is questionable. The 2010 census lists that the racial makeup of Grand Rapids was 59 percent non-Hispanic or Latino white, 20.9 percent African American, 15.6 percent Hispanic or Latino, 0.7 percent Native American, 1.9 percent Asian, 0.1 percent Pacific Islander, 7.7 percent other races, and 4.2 percent from two or more races. There is a marked majority of non-Hispanic or Latino white citizens in Grand Rapids, most of them listed as German, Dutch, English, Irish, and Polish.

On the topic of coverage in UIX Grand Rapids, we have found no shortage of minorities and women involved in acts of social innovation (actually, the 2010 census lists 100 females in the city for every 95.8 males). Perhaps that also indicates a glut of organizations that are strongly connected to our community.

This month we began the new year with Susan Julien Larimore’s piece on the work of Jody Deems-McCargar and husband Wright McCargar with the Crescendo Foundation, bringing the gift of music to local youths. New writer Marla Miller has an upcoming profile on Shorouq Almallah, the behind-the-scenes connector at Grand Valley State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). Foundations set up by Dr. Dale Williams and son Andrew Williams help in the manufacturing of the K-light (a solar powered lantern with phone charger) to help women in third world countries make a living, and will be featured in a piece by Kevin Lignell. And later on in January, a piece by Kelly LeCoy will focus on Kyle VenHousen, director of the Kala Project, a manifestation of the desire and passion to share stories that inspire action and wouldn’t otherwise be heard.

Here’s to a happy new year in social innovation, and a promise to deliver stories that truly showcase the strength in diversity that West Michigan has to offer.
 
Matthew Russell is the project editor of UIX Grand Rapids
Signup for Email Alerts