West Michigan’s 100 Businesses That Care chooses second charity to fund

Christy Knetsch Courtesy New City Kids

New City Kids is the second recipient of a $50,000 donation from the West Michigan 100 Businesses That Care initiative.

A consortium of West Michigan companies led by BDO, Charter Capital Partners, Hylant, Lambert & Co., Mercantile Bank, Miller Johnson and Strategies Wealth Advisors said last week that it chose New City Kids to receive $50,000 — the second charity to receive a donation from the group since it was founded last fall.

New City Kids is a youth leadership development program and after-school performing arts center that focuses on creating a community of spiritual, leadership, academic and musical development for kids ages 6 to 19. In the low-income communities where New City Kids operates in Jersey City and Paterson, New Jersey, Grand Rapids and Detroit, only 9% of residents typically graduate college. In contrast, 92% of the program’s participants have graduated college or are still attending.

“New City Kids is honored to be the recipient of this amazing gift from 100 Businesses That Care,” said Christy Knetsch, executive director, New City Kids Grand Rapids. “This investment will empower teens with leadership, college and career readiness, and workforce development skills that will both impact the children they teach and the future of our great city.”

The donation will enable New City Kids to increase the enrollment in its after-school center and hire 50 teens this fall, in addition to hiring a leader from the community to help launch a second site.

John Kerschen Courtesy Charter Capital Partners

Currently comprised of 106 companies, West Michigan’s 100 Businesses That Care launched in October and is continuing to welcome new members. Each member company donates $1,000 per year, split equally between two West Michigan 501(c)(3) charities. At its inaugural virtual meeting, three charities presented, and Hand2Hand was chosen as the recipient. During its second virtual meeting, finalists included New City Kids, Children’s Healing Center and Special Olympics Michigan.

“New City Kids made a huge impression on our members, and we are so excited to provide them with this $50,000 donation,” said John Kerschen, president and managing partner of Charter Capital Partners and a founding member of West Michigan’s 100 Businesses That Care. “Although we direct our donation to just one charity per giving cycle, it’s important to note that Children’s Healing Center and Special Olympics are both doing great things, and we certainly encourage support for their causes, as well.”

While 100 Businesses That Care is not itself a recognized nonprofit organization or incorporated business, founding members are passionate volunteers who have dedicated time and talent toward making a difference in their communities. All donations are steered directly to the chosen nonprofits. This also enables each active member to realize the full tax benefit of their charitable contribution.

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