NIA Centre appoints executive director

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Sierra Hatfield Courtesy NIA Centre

A nonprofit working to establish an African American cultural center in Grand Rapids appointed a new executive director.

The NIA Centre said Tuesday that after conducting a national search, it appointed Sierra Hatfield to the position of executive director, which had been vacant since early 2020. Hatfield succeeds Gloria Huddleston.

In her new role, Hatfield will oversee the organization’s daily operations, programming and events, as well as develop relationships with donors and community partners.

“As a woman of color from rural Appalachia, I know the value of community and collaboration,” Hatfield said. “Leading the NIA Centre is an opportunity to connect with the West Michigan community and develop resources that enrich lives. I don’t view this position as a job; it’s a partnership with a goal much bigger than any of us.”

Hatfield’s hiring is the latest NIA Centre milestone during the past six months.

In February, the NIA Centre achieved its $50,000 fundraising milestone as part of a matching grant requirement necessary to receive the remaining funds of a $100,000 “The Path Forward” grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

In November, the nonprofit opened a 1,369-square-foot community engagement center with support from the Wege Foundation, to serve as an office for NIA Centre staff and board members, co-working and meeting space for its membership and the site for NIA Centre programming and events.

“The NIA Centre and its board of directors are pleased to have Sierra Hatfield serve as the organization’s executive director,” said Robert Upton, NIA Centre board chair. “We look forward to having Sierra’s vision and enthusiasm help progress the NIA Centre to the next stage in our movement to establish a world-class African American cultural center in Grand Rapids.”

A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Hatfield earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She previously served as a policy analyst at The Council of State Government in Lexington, Kentucky, facilitating national programming on behavioral health access, digital connectivity and workforce issues to U.S. state officials.

The NIA Centre

With roots dating to 2011, the NIA Centre’s mission is to inspire, build, transform and connect people of all ages. NIA is leading an effort to place an African American cultural center that it hopes will be the foremost destination, resource and opportunity for sharing and expressing African American culture.

The NIA Centre provides events and programming in the following six focus areas: arts and entertainment; diversity, equity and inclusion; education; entrepreneurship and wealth building; health care; and research.

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