College’s Latino business center wins grant


Carlos Sanchez. Courtesy Ferris State University

A local foundation has donated a three-year grant valued at $150,000 to a university’s Latino business center.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation awarded the grant to Ferris State University’s Latino Business and Economic Development Center.

Awarded from the foundation’s Fund for Community Good, the unrestricted funding will be used for programming that helps address issues of workforce development, economic disparity, civic engagement and overall leadership development in Grand Rapids’ Latino community.

“The Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant will help fund programs that equip young Latino professionals with the skills, resources, and confidence needed to become leaders at work and in their own communities,” said Carlos Sanchez, the center’s director and a foundation board member. “Our Latino entrepreneurs will be more prepared to launch and expand successful businesses and empowered to take ownership of their future.”

With the increased funding, LBEDC leaders expect to add more programming and networking opportunities for participants.

“Grand Rapids Community Foundation is committed to working with community partners like Ferris State University to build an inclusive economy to grow a thriving community,” said Diana Sieger, the foundation’s president. “This program amplifies the ability for our region to thrive due to the focus on diversity.”

Since its inception in 2013, the LBEDC’s Latino Talent Initiative has graduated nearly 100 individuals and has seen 50 people participate in the 11-week Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative program since 2017.

Under FSU President David Eisler’s direction, the university has worked to develop young Latinos into leaders.

“The Latino community in the United States is rapidly growing and will continue to have a profound impact on society, culture, the workforce, our economy and our businesses,” Eisler said. “By ensuring that we are developing strong leaders who understand themselves as professionals and the importance of civic engagement, Ferris is helping Michigan move forward.”

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