$300K grant to help fund racial equity push in GR

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Community College’s first African-American president will help lead a task force aimed at erasing racial disparities in Grand Rapids.

Dr. Bill Pink, who will take over the helm of GRCC on May 1, will co-chair the Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative along with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, according to the city.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing a three-year, $300,000 grant for the initiative, which Bliss outlined during her State of the City address last month.

As part of the program, community leaders and neighborhood representatives will meet to create a plan to increase equitable employment and curb racial differences within the city. The initiative also calls for creating a digital racial equity dashboard for transparency and accountability purposes.

The group particularly wants to boost job creation and employment in W.K. Kellogg Foundation focus neighborhoods. The city says WKKF neighborhoods are more racially and ethnically diverse than the rest of Grand Rapids, and are home to roughly one-third of its population. However, approximately 48 percent of residents in these neighborhoods live in poverty, according to the city.

Grand Rapids is one of several cities nationwide chosen as a fellow for the Rose Center for Public Leadership, which addressed equity during a meeting with city leaders last month. The city says it is also working with the National Equity Project to train top city managers to improve racial equity in very department.

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