Community Collaboration Grant

Due to COVID-19, the Community Collaboration Grant program is paused. Please contact the Kutsche Office of Local History if you are interested in the program. - (616)331-8099

The Kutsche Office of Local History helps give voice to diverse communities through history. Today, the Office uses a historical perspective, deep community connections, respect for storytelling, and academic rigor to strengthen communities throughout West Michigan. It does so by bringing together faculty, students, historians, and community members to facilitate conversations and develop programs that leverage the lessons learned from the region’s past.

The Office designed this grant program to provide meaningful opportunities for faculty working with students and communities in West Michigan. The program focuses on engaging faculty in the humanities and social sciences working with a community partner on celebrating, documenting, and preserving the voices of West Michigan’s diverse communities. Faculty projects must reflect the rigorous, methodologies of their discipline. The faculty member must also supervise and mentor a student as part of their research project. Mentored research opportunities facilitate students’ ability to experience the transformative nature of research, as well as develop professional skills.


Tenure track and tenured faculty are eligible. Preference is given to faculty who have been at GVSU for at least one year and have an interest in building their research in a way that will engage undergraduate students. Please note that the grant cannot be awarded to support a student’s independent study (499), Honors Thesis, or S3 project.

The faculty must already have an existing agreement with a community partner or they need to demonstrate a plan for sustained work with the community partner. Projects should reflect a strong commitment to nurture a strong relationship with the community. Please note that the grant cannot be awarded to faculty who have yet to identify a community partner.

Marilyn Preston, 2018-2019 Recipient

Marilyn Preston, 2018 Community Collaboration Grant Recipient

2018-2019 Community Collaboration Grant Recipient

Marilyn Preston, “L’dor v’dor: Oral Histories of the B’nai Israel Congregation”  

Marilyn Preston is an Associate Professor in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department at Grand Valley State University. Her work explores narrative identity, queer and critical pedagogy, sexuality education, autoethnography, and the interplay between institutional and personal identity development.  The Community Collaboration Grant funded project involves the collection of oral histories from members of the B’nai Israel Synagogue in Muskegon, Michigan. B’nai Israel has been in operation for nearly 130 years, and the congregation has been shrinking in the last three decades. This project’s goal is to capture a record of the temple, the congregation, and Jewish life in Muskegon. Many of the current temple members have been a part of the B’nai Israel congregation for their entire lives, thus they have rich memories of growing up Jewish in Muskegon, the rise of Jewish community, and the ongoing disappearance of Jewish life on the lakeshore.

Kathryn Remllinger

Kathryn Reminger, 2017 Community Collaboration Grant recipient.

2017-2018 Community Collaboration Grant Recipient

Kathryn Remlinger, "How Much Dutch? The Linguistic Landscape of Holland Michigan”

The project focuses on the intersection of language use, language attitudes, identity, and tourism in public spaces to understand their effects on what it means to be "local" and on shaping the identity of the city. More specifically, this ethnography explores how people create meaning through and with language in the multimodal linguistic landscape of Holland, Michigan, a small city and tourist destination on the shore of Lake Michigan. The project examines how language use in the public spaces that make up the city discursively reimagine Holland as a “Dutch” city. This reimagining affects particular ways of understanding larger sociocultural meanings about ethnicity, place, and their relationship to language use and language attitudes