Street Talk: Patriotic partners prosper


Together with its store guests and company associates, the SpartanNash Foundation raised $300,000 for its patriotic nonprofit partners Team Red, White & Blue; Operation Homefront; and Honor and Remember through a retail scan campaign.

Between June 26 and July 7, store guests who visited any participating SpartanNash-owned retail store or fuel center had the opportunity to donate $1, $5 or $10 at any checkout lane, or round their total up to the nearest dollar to support the trio of patriotic partners.

More than 135 stores participated in the foundation scan, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket and Family Fresh Market.

The $300,000 raised during the SpartanNash Foundation companywide fundraising scan campaign will be evenly split between Team RWB, Operation Homefront, and Honor and Remember.

SpartanNash Foundation grants will be used to connect service members, veterans and their families to their local communities through physical and social activity, provide critical financial assistance and family support services and honor those who lost their lives as a result of defending our freedoms.

“At SpartanNash, we are very excited about the overwhelming support shown for our military heroes during the latest SpartanNash Foundation retail scan,” said Meredith Gremel, vice president of corporate affairs and communications and the executive director of the SpartanNash Foundation.

“As a leading distributor of grocery products to U.S. military commissaries throughout the world, SpartanNash sees firsthand the sacrifices our servicemen and women make to protect our freedoms every day. One of our company’s core values is patriotism, and SpartanNash and the SpartanNash Foundation are deeply committed to supporting our military heroes in the communities we serve.

“Each year, SpartanNash contributes thousands of dollars, products and volunteer hours to military and veterans organizations and events — as well as hiring veterans and their family members as a military-friendly and veteran-friendly employer.”

Since 2016, the SpartanNash Foundation has raised and granted more than $1 million for its patriotic partners through its fundraising scan campaigns, benefiting veterans service organizations including Give an Hour, Fisher House Foundation, Blue Star Mothers of America, Disabled Veterans National Foundation and in 2019, Team RWB, Operation Homefront, and Honor and Remember.

SpartanNash underwrites the cost of the awareness-building and fundraising campaign, as well as contributes funding and encourages associates to volunteer with the foundation’s grant recipients.

“We’re honored and grateful that the SpartanNash Foundation, along with their store guests, recognizes the sacrifices veterans have made on behalf of our nation,” said John Pinter, executive director, Team RWB. “We’re thrilled that this campaign will afford us the opportunity to support more veterans in their post-service journeys.”

Brig. Gen. (ret.) John Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront, said his organization is “extremely grateful” for the support.

“For a second consecutive year, they are helping us give this very special and deserving group of our fellow citizens the opportunity to thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect,” Pray said.

George Lutz founded Honor and Remember after losing his son in Iraq in 2005.

“SpartanNash and its store guests have been faithful partners in our mission to pay tribute to the families of men and women who have given their lives in military service to America,” he said.

“Thanks to the generosity of the SpartanNash Foundation, we have been able to present hundreds of Gold Star families with personalized Honor and Remember flags that express our nation’s profound appreciation for their supreme sacrifice.

“Whenever SpartanNash store guests or associates see an Honor and Remember flag flying beneath the American flag, they can take pride in knowing that they are partners in our mission to ensure that the public never forgets our fallen heroes.”

Grads rate

This spring, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation awarded $545,000 in scholarships to 235 area students.

The GHACF holds over 125 scholarship funds with varying criteria, such as financial need, academic achievements, field of study and whether a student would be among the first in their family in their generation to continue education after high school.

Over $120,000 of the total awards went to first-generation college students, students attending Muskegon Community College or students pursuing post-secondary education in critical career fields in West Michigan — such as skilled trades and manufacturing.

“Our role as a community foundation is to support our students and continue to explore ways to lift them up,” said Lauren Grevel, education and youth initiatives officer at the GHACF. “There is a growing, nationwide conversation among scholarship providers on how to best support and engage first-generation college students, and our scholarship committee and team are no different.”

Jim Schmidt opened the Spartanwill Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to local high school graduates who plan to attend Michigan State University.

“I created the scholarship fund because, from my personal experience, continuing education creates additional opportunities to broaden one’s ultimate outlook and career,” Schmidt said.

Chloe Weigel, a 2019 Grand Haven High School graduate, is a recipient of the foundation’s PEO Scholarship.

“Giving this gift to students is creating a foundation for a brighter future, which will, in turn, facilitate a generation that continues to give their time, talent and treasure,” Weigel said. “These awards are establishing a basis for future philanthropists and successful individuals that will contribute valuable skills and assets to society.”

The next scholarship application will open Dec. 2 at

Health talk

The owners of a West Michigan health care coaching and consulting business have launched a podcast for health care leaders.

Missing Logic co-founders Tracy Christopherson and Michelle Troseth on Aug. 1 launched the podcast “Healthcare's MissingLogic.”

In the series, Christopherson and Troseth interview professionals and use their more than 30 years of combined experience to address such subjects as dealing with opposing views that impede progress, patient and clinician satisfaction, and caregiver burden, with more to come.

The MissingLogic consulting company focuses on how to break through an organization’s polarizing values to develop strategic actions that lead to a sustainable, thriving work culture.

The podcast can be accessed at

On the job

Grand Rapids Community College has been awarded a $140,000 grant to participate in a national effort to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities.

GRCC is one of 80 participating colleges and each is expected to train 150 apprentices over the next three years.

“Registered apprenticeship programs are life-changing for our students, helping them gain an education and skills with little or no tuition debt,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We appreciate the grant, allowing us to provide more opportunities to more West Michigan residents.”

GRCC will use the grant to expand its manufacturing, construction electrician and medical assistant registered apprenticeship programs.

“Registered apprenticeship programs are great opportunities for students, but also for our employer partners,” said Julie Parks, GRCC’s executive director of workforce training. “We work closely with West Michigan employers to learn which skills are in great demand. Apprenticeships are an effective way to build a talented workforce and make our local economy stronger.”

She said the college will recruit new companies and increase outreach in area high schools to raise awareness about the opportunities.

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