Johnson Center documentary features Mantella, community leaders

A documentary released August 18 by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley interviewed President Philomena V. Mantella and dozens of area academic, political, and civic leaders, sharing their thoughts on developing an inclusive and equitable community.

The project, part of the center’s Inclusive Growth collection, addresses the imbalance between the region’s economic development and expansion, and the economic inequalities facing segments of the population.

“As one of GVSU’s academic centers, the Johnson Center team understands for a community to thrive, the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion must be integrated into practices of nonprofit organizations and municipalities,” said Mantella.

“I’m very grateful for their leadership on this video and look forward to the conversations that will stem from this project.”

To view the 21-minute documentary, visit the Johnson Center's video page.

The center’s distinguished scholar in residence Juan Olivarez and research associate Trish Abalo worked with Grand Rapids commissioner Rev. Joe Jones to develop the project. 

One of the documentary’s examples involves median household income in Kent County. 

For white households, their median income is $67,000. Asian households see a median income of less than $63,000, while Latinx households are at $46,000, and Black households earn $35,000.

Other participants in the documentary included: 

  • Jamon Alexander, president/CEO of West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology
  • Rosalynn Bliss, mayor of Grand Rapids
  • Guillermo Cisernos, executive director of West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Bing Goei, owner of Eastern Floral & Goei Center
  • Stan Stek, vice-chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners
  • Robert S. Womack, Kent County Commissioner 

For more information on the Inclusive Growth program, visit the Johnson Center website.


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