GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When Darian Quinn graduated from East Kentwood High School and decided to pursue a business degree at Grand Valley State University, the plan was to live at home while going to school. Now, thanks to a new scholarship and internship program launched by Mercantile Bank, Quinn is able to attend Grand Valley and live on campus. He’s one of three students at the college benefitting from the newly launched Mentoring, Aspiring, Preparing program, MAP, and the Mercantile Bank Business Scholarship.

The two programs are designed to help foster diversity in the banking industry while giving students a glimpse at the different types of jobs in finance while supporting their financial needs. The MAP program is geared towards students in historically marginalized and underrepresented communities. It’s a four-year development of the students leadership in both personal and professional settings while giving them direct access and experience to a number of different careers in the banking world.

“At Mercantile we are dedicated to empowering people to take charge of their financial future. Part of this
dedication starts with access to scholarships and career training while still in school,” Mercantile CEO Robert
Kaminski said. “We have robust high school co-op and college internship programs, but are looking for ways to enhance the leadership development components, and continue to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry. Both the MAP program and the Mercantile Bank Business Scholarship are designed to help students gain the equitable access required for success. We are pleased that GVSU is just as passionate as we are in providing students with leadership skills, both inside and outside the classroom.”

The second joint effort between the bank and GVSU is the Mercantile Bank Business Scholarship. Each year, up to four high-performing incoming freshman at the college, are selected to receive the money. The $15,000 scholarship is provided to the student annually, totaling $60,000 over the course of their college career. It was created to benefit people of color in the community, a way for Mercantile to ensure diversity and a commitment to youth in the financial industry.

Helping to coordinate the new MAP program, Misti Stanton, the Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Mercantile, works closely with the first three students picked for the inaugural year. She recognizes the importance these two programs play in developing new leaders in the banking world.

“Graduating with less debt, with measurable work experience is an important part of helping
students to launch successful careers and give back to their communities. Our program aims to help
students realize their potential, as well as pair them with a mentor at Mercantile Bank who is also invested
in their success,” Stanton said. “Not only will they work with their mentors to gain valuable knowledge, but they have the support and encouragement of the entire Mercantile team.”

Learn more about Mercantile’s community commitment, here.