Nonprofit wins $100K social enterprise grant


The West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology helps high school students unlock their artistic creativity and adults develop the skills to gain employment in the health care industry. Photo via

A downtown nonprofit has won a $100,000 grant to help fund a business-to-business entrepreneurial training program for teens and young adults.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently said that it has awarded the grant to the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, or WMCAT, in Grand Rapids.

The grant will support WMCAT’s screen printing social enterprise, which will also provide revenue for WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech program.

Laurie Craft, program director, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, said the program will create "multiple outcomes": meaningful employment; entrepreneurial and financial skills; revenue to sustain the program; and the promotion of high school graduation and "pathways to post-secondary education."

WCMAT’s screen printing program comes after WMCAT acquired Ambrose, a formerly Holland-based after-school design program and screen printing business, earlier this year.

The idea behind the new program, which Ambrose is now part of, is to employ teens and college students who are WMCAT alumni in the program, helping them learn about business management and develop their careers.

Adam Weiler, Ambrose’s founder and now WMCAT’s director of social enterprise, is directing the new program.

Kim Dabbs, executive director, WMCAT, said the nonprofit is "grateful" to the foundation for investing in "this innovative work and helping us bring Ambrose to WMCAT."

Dabbs added that the program is part of WMCAT’s mission to “provide a culture of opportunity.”

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