Urban Core Collective builds diversity with $2M grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation


Members of Urban Core Collective’s Transformational Leadership program to develop diverse leaders. Courtesy Urban Core Collective

The new Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Urban Core Collective has been awarded a $2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to advance its mission of supporting people of color and marginalized families in the city — and developing diverse leaders. 

Urban Core Collective is a group of six nonprofits: Grand Rapids Urban League, Baxter Community Center, United Methodist Community House, Family Outreach Center, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

The grant awarded Thursday is to be used to cultivate a Community of Practice among the nonprofits to meet the needs of families living in the city's "vulnerable neighborhoods," according to UCC.

The grant will be administered over the course of three years by the initiative’s fiduciary, Heart of West Michigan United Way.

“With shrinking government dollars for social services, increasing community need for the services each of these organizations provide and all indications that this increased need would not be abating any time soon, we felt this would be a strategic effort to support,” said Andrew Brower, associate program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“These organizations represent hundreds of combined years of service to the community," he said. "They chose to come together, and they have a shared purpose to identify and discuss options for possible collaborations, leverage their collective resources and, ultimately, improve service delivery to African American, Hispanic and low-income children, youth and families living in vulnerable neighborhoods in Grand Rapids.”

UCC will use the funds to provide resources for local community organizations to increase the support services for minorities and families living in troubled neighborhoods.

UCC will also develop future leaders in the communities to become participants in the growth and development of West Michigan’s inner cities — through its Transformational Leaders program.

“The Urban Core Collective will increase the cultural, racial and ethnic diversification of multi-sector leadership in the Grand Rapids area,” said Joe Jones, president of the Grand Rapids Urban League.

“We believe that successful people and neighborhoods overcome the negative side effects of systemic racism through equal access to education and the resources to live physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy lives.”

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