Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking

Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Grand Rapids, MI


Founded in 1922, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is Michigan's first community foundation. Our mission is to build and manage our community's permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people. The Community Foundation spends only a portion of the earnings from its endowment so that community needs can be met in perpetuity.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation is comprised of both trust and corporate assets. The trust assets are held in perpetuity by trustee banks for the benefit of the Community Foundation. Because the trustee banks file tax returns on these funds, the Community Foundation's 990 includes corporate funds only.

Ruling Year



Ms. Diana R. Sieger

Main Address

185 Oakes Street SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503 USA


community endowment, community foundation, grants to greater Grand Rapids area, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kent County





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public Foundations (T30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Our North Star: For West Michigan to grow and prosper, we must make sure that everyone can apply their talents and creativity to fuel our future. It is only by connecting across perspectives and overcoming inequities that we can build and sustain an inclusive economy and thriving community.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Challenge Scholars

Grant to Kent School Services Network

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The mission of Grand Rapids Community Foundation is to “build and manage the community's permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people."

We are a community foundation, created with gifts from many community donors and invested for growth and preservation for the long-term benefit of the community. A percentage of income from the Community Foundation's endowment is invested in the community in the form of grants, investments, and scholarship with the goal of improving the quality of life for residents of Grand Rapids and all of Kent County. Grand Rapids Community Foundation strives to serve all members of the community by creating a philanthropic vehicle enabling donors to achieve their goals by investing in the issues they care about and creating a lasting legacy. It also serves as a resource for community problem-solving and individual and organizational capacity-building.

Our goals are to:
• Lead significant social change
• Grow current and future philanthropic resources
• Engage donors to make a difference
• Deliver organizational excellence

Grand Rapids Community Foundation engages a variety of strategies to accomplish the broad organizational goals listed above. These strategies have changed and will change over time, as the Foundation responds to the needs of the community:

• Community systems change –We actively engage in the community around our strategic investment priorities: Prosperity, Environment, Health, Engagement, Neighborhoods and Education. We create systems change by leading initiatives, engaging in community advocacy and working toward community improvement.
• Community capacity – We invest in the community through grants, initiatives and impact investments, and leverage regional, state and national resources to the fullest advantage, leading to increased community and nonprofit capacity.
• Philanthropic leadership – We provide community education on the importance of philanthropy and community service, with an eye toward the future and the next generation of community supporters; we serve as a vehicle for giving, by facilitating donor advised grants and scholarships; and we encourage nonprofit sustainability by providing investment services so nonprofit organizations and local communities can create their own endowed funds. We also encourage donor engagement in the community, offering opportunities for donor advisors to co-invest with the community foundation, around our priorities, and theirs.
• Growth and preservation of community assets – We strive to provide the highest levels of customer service to our donors, the nonprofit community and the community at large. We honor donor intent and invest the resources entrusted to us carefully and with intention. We engage in administrative efficiency to enhance and preserve the use of community resources.

Capabilities Grand Rapids Community Foundation has flourished as a philanthropic leader in Kent County for more than 90 years. It employs a staff of 28 experienced, highly qualified individuals; a Board of 12 respected community leaders – including youth representation; over a dozen committees comprised of community volunteers; and thousands of individual donors. The Foundation holds and manages assets of over $330 million dollars and distributed over $13 million in grants and scholarships to the community in its most recent fiscal year. The Community Foundation has won numerous awards for its marketing and public relations materials, grant-making, and organizational excellence. The Community Foundation's capacity to provide resources and tools for the community along with its commitment to accountability, leadership, and stewardship, contributes to its credibility in the community.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation prides itself on establishing indicators for success and measuring its progress against those indicators. Benchmarks are established annually and reviewed for on a quarterly basis. The benchmarks are determined using a variety of resources, including internal tracking, grantee reporting, and assessment provided by external third party assessment, like the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)

Indicators of success include:
• Donor Perception Report (a survey administered every three years by the Center for Effective Philanthropy to measure donor perceptions of the Community Foundation)
• Grantee Perception Report (a survey administered every three years by the Center for Effective Philanthropy to measure grantee perceptions of Community Foundation knowledge and performance)
• Internally established fund development benchmarks (based on field-wide standards)
• Internally established Investment benchmarks (based on field-wide standards relative to growth)
• Fund distribution metrics (based on organizational policy and field –wide standards)
• Externally reported grantee and impact investment outcomes (determined with assistance from the Community Research Institute at Grand Valley State University )
• Progress measures for the Challenge Scholars Program (established with assistance from Foundation Strategy Group, the outside evaluator selected for the project evaluation).

Grand Rapids Community Foundation has had a significant impact on Kent County since it was founded in 1922. Referring back to our mission: “To build and manage the community's permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people" and our goals:

Lead Significant Social Change
• Grand Rapids Community Foundation engagement in community initiatives has led to systems change at the state and local levels. Perspective 21!, led to reform of State Department of Human Services policies related to substantiation of child abuse and neglect, and the Community Foundation-supported Kent School Services Network has been replicated in other Michigan communities. The Challenge Scholars program is serving as a pilot to create a culture that assumes students will pursue post-secondary education, with educational supports and promise of a scholarship for sixth grade students when they graduate from high school. Investments in housing and economic prosperity, environmental issues, access to healthcare and chronic disease prevention have led to changes in systems of care and local policy. The Community Foundation is currently promoting community culture change around diversity and inclusion, working with donors to increase nonprofit cultural competency.
• Nonprofit capacity – Community Foundation grants have always served to increase nonprofit capacity. In addition, we manage a funding collaborative that specifically supports nonprofit capacity-building.

Engage donors to make a difference
• Grand Rapids Community Foundation serves as a vehicle for giving back to the community, providing myriad opportunities for donors to support the causes they care about: donor advised funds, community funds, scholarships, nonprofit agency funds, and unrestricted giving provide the opportunity for donors to create a legacy that will survive them.

Grow current and future philanthropic resources
• The Community Foundation has grown substantially from its initial gift of $25 in 1922 to receipt of gifts and bequests totaling more than $9 million in its last fiscal year alone. Assets have increased to more than $300 million and grant funds distributed in the community totaled nearly $10 million in 2014-2015.
•The Community Foundation has invested heavily in community infrastructure, contributing grant dollars and social capital to many local arts and civic institutions in the community. In addition, we have invested in local educational institutions, and in community and neighborhood planning efforts. We have also provided significant support for environmental infrastructure (Purchase of Development rights, water quality, tree canopy and public open space), affordable housing, and neighborhood business districts.

Deliver organizational excellence
• The Community Foundation's headquarters serve as resource to the community by offering free meeting space to local non-profits. Over 8,100 attendees have visited since November 2008.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

Council on Foundations National Standards


Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?