WGNO Hires New Director

    GRAND RAPIDS —West Grand Neighborhood Organization last week introduced its new executive director to the community.

    She is Cecily Near, who recently took over the reins of WGNO, one of the largest organizations of its sort in the community.

    John Helmholdt, president of the WGNO board, noted that Near brings the organization experience in fund-raising, membership development and business ownership.

    “In light of looming city budget cuts and a stagnant economy,” Helmholdt said, “now more than ever nonprofit organizations like WGNO must work to achieve self-sufficiency and not have to rely on government funding for everything.

    “Cecily has the fiscal discipline and management skills of a small business owner and the hands-on fundraising and membership development experience that will help ensure the highest level of community service to our members and to residents of the West Side,” he added.

    WGNO, located at 625 Broadway Ave. NW, exists to help with a broad range of community concerns such as housing, communications, business, education, social action, community affairs and crime reduction.

    The organization is the home of the Turner Gateway Project.

    It also is a strategic partner with the Stockbridge Business Association District and the West Leonard Business District, both of which lie within the WGNO’s service area.           

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