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  • Great Lakes Urban

Scaling Change: An Update from Grand Rapids

We enjoy bringing you updates from key partners, including Bates Place Neighbors (BPN) of Grand Rapids, MI. We recently interviewed Wayne Squires, BPN's Executive Director.

Wayne, I know there are some changes with your team. Can you share?

I am so excited about some new additions to our team. Tecca Jones and Jerry Baker have joined BPN as Connectors. They both have personal histories of living and working in our area and bring significant connecting and organizing experience. Jerry served on our staff from 2017 to 2020, and then stepped away to devote more hours to a family caregiving role. He’s re-engaging at BPN with joy and anticipation. Tecca has been serving as a connector in the Baxter neighborhood the last three years or so, and will continue with that work while also assuming connecting tasks and responsibilities in the BPN area. I am so grateful that their backgrounds and unique gifts will allow us to continue growing the neighborhood story.

I hear that the Connector work will be expanding in Grand Rapids. Is that right?

That's right. Grand Rapids Classis East of the CRC has provided matching funds to two congregations, Neland Chruch and Madison Church. The combined Classis and congregational funds are making it possible to add two new Connectors to the Grand Rapids mix. It's not every day that institutions are ready to invest in the work of discovering neighborhood gifts, connecting neighbors to each other and to resources, and mobilizing residents to work together across differences for the common good. Needless to say, I am super excited to see the asset based community development movement growing locally! The support of Great Lakes Urban allows us to provide training and coaching.

Thanks, Wayne, for your time and leadership! We're excited to see how things progress!

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