Dear Partners
and Friends,

One hundred years of care for community using the tools of philanthropy. One hundred years of legacy. One hundred years of partnership and collaboration. One hundred years spent gaining a deeper understanding of equity.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s mark on this community over the last century has been significant, but we will not rest on our successes/wins of the past. Our centennial is more than a commemoration; it’s a kickoff of a new century of service and impact with partners like you leading the way. We have taken some time to pause and celebrate the countless individuals, families, nonprofits, community leaders and more who have built Michigan’s oldest community foundation through their resources, skills, networks, influence and dollars. But we won’t stop there. Our sight is set on our next century of service and impact in Kent County. And we are kicking that off by engaging with community partners in new ways to shape our future focus.

Over this past year, we have spent significant time exploring our history, impact, growth and learning through the core components of our work together—philanthropy, or care for community; legacy; collaboration; and equity. What has resonated most, has been the growth and learning. The lessons we’ve learned over the last century have evolved our approach and sharpened our focus. We’re grateful for all the individuals, families, nonprofits, community leaders and more who have kept coming together to create a better community. Here are eight lessons.

The Community Foundation belongs to the community. To that end, you have taught us the importance of building a more inclusive philanthropic culture and practice in Greater Grand Rapids.

You have taught us that our community benefits from the passion and commitment of philanthropists who represent many different backgrounds and traditions of giving.

You have taught us that charity and justice are not interchangeable terms, and that we must focus less on giving money and more on eliminating the systemic causes of inequity.

You have taught us that in many ways our systems unintentionally prioritized historically white systems, voices, experiences, leadership styles and preferred processes.

You have taught us that we have a role to play in increasing equitable outcomes across systems by supporting the conditions for a healthier, more robust and increasingly resourced ecosystem of people of color-led nonprofits and movements.

You have taught us the importance of investing in systems-level work that addresses the root causes of the issues our community faces.

You have taught us that the people closest to the pain, are also closest to the solutions. So, we listen to community members in a variety of ways to inform our investments and aim to invest in projects that are community-led in voice, scope of work and the iterative process for change.

Most importantly, you have taught us that the learning never stops.

Besides the reflection, learning and planning for the next 100 years, this year our partners have been busy responding to current needs and stewarding our resources for the future. We have welcomed 29 new funds, many of which prioritize our organizational commitment to racial, social and economic justice.

Our finance team and Investment Review Committee have stewarded our $387,098,639 in assets while navigating a tumultuous market. Based on our commitment to equitable COVID-19 recovery, we continue to seek a healthy balance of allocating resources to address current critical community needs while also maintaining our endowment to ensure we can respond to future needs. With the support of partners like you, $15,981,899 has been awarded in grants to nonprofits and scholarships to local students through Donor Advised, designated, nonprofit, unrestricted (Fund for Community Good), Field of Interest and scholarship funds held at the Community Foundation.

In this annual report, we share stories of partnerships that demonstrate our approach to trust-based and community-led philanthropy. These stories are just a few examples of how our work with partners like you is leading us toward realizing our community’s vision for the future.

We hope you are as inspired as we are to kick off a new century of service and impact together in Kent County. We know that the work we will do in the years ahead has the potential to have an everlasting impact on our community.

With deepest appreciation and gratitude,

Diana R. Sieger

Kyle Caldwell
Board Chair