Report outlines responses to Mayor's Community Conversations Initiative

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The Community Research Institute (CRI) at Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center for Philanthropy has issued a report that outlines key findings from a series of community conversations that occurred in response to questions from Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell in his 2012 State of the City address.

The findings in the report, “Community Conversations About the Children of Grand Rapids,” are an aggregate of responses from a broad cross-section of more than 750 adults and youth who gave their feedback at community meetings throughout the year.

“I think that this report illustrates that the mayor was successful in inspiring meaningful conversations at the community level,” said George Grant Jr., dean of the College of Community and Public Service at Grand Valley. “In terms of meeting the needs of our children, the findings provide Grand Rapids citizens with both a good idea of where we are as a community, as well as guidance for where we might focus our efforts in the future.”

The report suggests a multi-year approach for addressing several complex issues facing children in Grand Rapids. Some suggestions include pursuing a balanced approach to prioritizing youth needs, collaborating on projects based on shared goals, and taking stock of existing infrastructure and resources available in Grand Rapids to build on the multitude of quality, youth-serving programs that improve the well-being of the city’s youth.  

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy is an academic center focused on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the charitable sector. Their work involves conducting research, teaching effective practices, and providing pathways to service. They work extensively in West Michigan and throughout the state of Michigan, nationally and internationally. 

They make a difference by enhancing the impact of foundations nationally and nonprofit organizations regionally, improving the quality of community decision-making with community members in West Michigan, and encouraging a habit of civic engagement among students, staff, and faculty at GVSU. 

For more information, visit gvsu.edu/jcp.