Johnson Center, city leaders launch GRgives movement

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss announces the GRgives initiative.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss announces the GRgives initiative.
Leaders from the Johnson Center, the City of Grand Rapids, and area nonprofit organizations announce the launch of GRgives.
Leaders from the Johnson Center, the City of Grand Rapids, and area nonprofit organizations announce the launch of GRgives.
Johnson Center Executive Director Kyle Caldwell
Johnson Center Executive Director Kyle Caldwell

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and leaders from Grand Valley’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and several area nonprofits gathered November 1 to announce the launch of a new local giving initiative called GRgives, a city-wide Giving Tuesday initiative.

The idea of GRgives is based on the concept of Giving Tuesday, a national movement that promotes giving time, talent or treasure to nonprofits on Tuesday, November 29,during what is often a consumer-dominated holiday season.

GRgives is intended to help local nonprofits find volunteers, build awareness of their organizations and invite donations from the public in the greater Grand Rapids area.

"I am honored to represent this city, which is one of the most generous in the country," Bliss said. "There are so many ways to give back, and GRgives is one of the great things that happens when people get together and give back to each other."

The launch of the GRgives campaign isn't all about donating money, said George Grant, dean of the College of Community and Public Service at Grand Valley. 

"There are so many ways that people can get involved in this movement, including donating time or talent to an organization that they are passionate about," Grant said. "The goal is to encourage people in the Grand Rapids area to give back to the community in any way they personally can."

The launch of GRgives is a cooperative effort between the City of Grand Rapids, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and more than a dozen area nonprofit and community organizations.

"GRgives celebrates generosity by providing people with an opportunity to give more, give smarter and give great," said Kyle Caldwell, executive director for the Johnson Center. "This philanthropic movement unites charities, corporations, small businesses and individuals to show that our community giving is not about one day, it is a movement."

By coupling a local philanthropic movement with a national day of giving, organizers said they hope to drive a record level of philanthropic giving to nonprofit organizations throughout West Michigan on Giving Tuesday.

"This is a community that has shown time and again that it comes together to make a difference when it matters," said Diana Sieger, president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. "Together, our city's social sector has proved that it is one of, if not the strongest in the country. Let's take advantage of that on Giving Tuesday."

GRgives allows nonprofits to tell the Grand Rapids community about their work and gives them one location to promote donation and volunteer opportunities. The website,, also gives the West Michigan community a place to find easy ways to give, volunteer or donate locally. 

Any nonprofit organization can register on the website, After registering, donors will be directed to each individual nonprofit's giving or volunteer site. 

Follow the GRgives movement at for updates, and join the conversation using the hashtag #GRgives on Twitter.