RCE Grand Rapids-2013

1. Project Title: 
Seeds of Promise 2013 Update
3. Project partner contact information : 
Cascade Engineering
Board Chair
Main Contact: 
Ron Jimmerson
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

Seeds of Promise is a 501C3 organization that is located within the inner city of Grand Rapids, Michigan and is engaged with a community of 2,000 residents that surround the Dickinson K-8 public school. The vision of this neighborhood project is to create a sustainable neighborhood that fully meets the needs and wants of its future residents and community stakeholders as measured by an improved quality of life, abundant service leadership, stewardship of resources, and equal education opportunity. The goal is to seek a balance in economic vitality, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. The mission is to transform the neighborhood by promoting collaborations and partnerships; applying sustainable development best practices; building local resident leadership and trust; deep listening to community voices; and meeting the expressed needs and wants of the local neighborhood community.

Strategies -

"Empowering urban residents to direct their own self-sustaining improvement" is a guiding principle. A key strategy is to enable the local residents and endorsing partners to communicate with each other and provide resources and best practices to address systemic community sustainability issues. The fundamental belief is that every community has the ability to learn, work, and grow together to leverage their own assets and community resources and become more self-sustaining on their own. Seeds of Promise is shaped by three basic guidelines: 1) Those who live in the community need to direct the strategies for the community. 2) Those who serve in the community need to participate and align with the strategy. 3) The community's strategy needs to be self-sustaining with endorsing stakeholder assistance and support being appreciated and utilized to accelerate impact. Some of the partners that provide program support include the Kellogg Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. Currently, the community residents participate in the impact team areas that also include community stakeholder partners. Some of these impact teams now have neighborhood leaders as team leaders. The impact areas include: educational attainment; job and wealth and creation; health and wellness; housing; safe communities; and leadership and governance.

6. Project status
On Going
Seeds of Promise now has 24 Host Neighbors that have signed on and gone through leadership and governance training being offered through the three year Kellogg Foundation Grant. Each Host Neighbor has also developed their own community development project for implementation. The Boy Scout and Girl Scout inner city troop programs at the Dickinson Academy have been most successful for their students. The College of Education students at Grand Valley State University will be offering after school homework coaching for the Dickinson Academy students this fall. Through the Fifth Third Bank community outreach funding, residents and students are receiving financial education. "Pitch" competitions are now taking place among local residents and community members for new business ideas and concepts. A community health survey has been recently completed among local residents and various healthcare providers, including support from the College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University. A new job employment program among local employers and the Department of Human Services will enable resident job training with job positions being available at 5 local companies. There also is a concerted effort being made to increase home ownership levels in the neighborhood. In 2012 Seeds of Promise was able to generate $750,000 of economic impact, the first year that economic impact numbers were being tracked. More information is available at www.seedsofpromise.net
8. Tagging