NIA Centre hits $50K funding milestone

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In November, the NIA Centre opened a 1,369-square-foot community engagement center at 300 Commerce Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy NIA Centre

A nonprofit working to establish an African American cultural center in Grand Rapids has met its $50,000 fundraising goal in order to receive a matching grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

The NIA Centre said Monday that it has raised the $50,000 that is 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.

NIA Centre will use the funding to build organizational capacity, conduct research and partially support the salary of an executive director.

“Despite the economic setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic, our community stepped up,” said Robert Upton Jr., chair of the board of directors at the NIA Centre. “The NIA Centre is now taking well-financed steps that will directly impact the region’s culture and economy. It is a major milestone in our quest to establish a world-class African American cultural center in Grand Rapids.”

According to Upton, the African American cultural center will be an inclusive, transformational gathering space for people of all ages to connect, build, learn and be inspired.

“We are excited to see the NIA Centre continue (its) efforts to establish an African American cultural center in Grand Rapids,” said Janean Couch, program director at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. “Places of culture and community are critical for Grand Rapids to be a truly welcoming place where all people can thrive.”

In November, the NIA Centre opened a 1,369-square-foot community engagement center at 300 Commerce Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. The space is being used to continue plans for the African American cultural center, serving as a temporary office for staff and board members, as well as a co-working and meeting space for NIA Centre membership and programming. Meeting space also is available for rent in the center.

More information about NIA Centre events, programming, membership details and rental information is available at its website.

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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