Nonprofit launches $6M fundraising campaign for new HQ


A partial rendering of the new Kids' Food Basket headquarters planned for northeast Grand Rapids. Courtesy Kids' Food Basket

A local nonprofit has launched a $6-million fundraising campaign to support the construction of a new headquarters on 14 acres of farmland in town.

Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket said this morning it purchased “the largest remaining farmland” in Grand Rapids, at 1919 Leonard St. NE, with the intention of building its new headquarters to facilitate expanding its services to 15,000 children in West Michigan.

The nonprofit that battles childhood hunger also publicly announced the start of its Feeding Our Future campaign to support its growth.

Currently, Kids’ Food Basket’s headquarters is located in Grand Rapids, at 2055 Oak Industrial Dr. NE. The new location will allow the nonprofit to expand beyond its current capacity with room to grow in the future.

“There are almost 29,000 Kent County children who are food insecure, and we currently serve 6,100 — only 21 percent of the need,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, executive director, Kids’ Food Basket. “There are 16 schools on our immediate waiting list for services, but unfortunately, we’re out of space. That’s why Kids’ Food Basket is committed to expanding.

“We believe that it’s irresponsible not to grow.”

A third of the land will be used to build Kids’ Food Basket’s new facility, which will house its warehouse, office and volunteer engagement space. The new building will accommodate more volunteers for an expanded Sack Supper program, allowing for additional volunteer opportunities in longer shifts.

The remaining two-thirds of the 14-acre parcel will be designated to launch an urban growing and experiential learning initiative, growing fruits and vegetables for the Sack Supper program.

“As a working farm that grows veggies and fruits for our Sack Suppers, volunteers can learn about food production, tend to crops and prepare farm products to go in Sack Suppers,” Clark Whitney said.

Grand Rapids-based Orion Construction will build the new Kids’ Food Basket headquarters.

“When the possibility to acquire 1919 Leonard arose, we knew it would be the catalyst for the next phase of their evolution,” said John Wheeler, director of business development, Orion Construction. “Orion Construction not only supports this effort, but we are inspired by their unwavering commitment to West Michigan’s next generation.”

The Feeding Our Future campaign will be led by honorary chairs, Kids’ Food Basket Founder Mary Hoodhood and Hank Meijer, and operational co-chairs, Jay Ertl, Lorna Schultz and Renee Tabben.

The $6-million fundraising goal includes $2.55 million in building costs, $1.67 million in land and site development, $1.35 million in program expansion, $423,000 in furnishings, fixtures and equipment, $160,000 for various expenses and $300,000 in contingency.

The DTE Energy Foundation is matching the first $100,000 donated during the public campaign. Donors can support the campaign online.

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