Nonprofits, Small Business & Startups, and Sustainability

Local First launches 'Good for Grand Rapids' campaign

February 2, 2017
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Local First takes 10x10 pledge
The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Local First promotes a “local living economy” in West Michigan. Photo via

Local First is rolling out a new campaign aimed at helping Grand Rapids businesses increase their social and environmental impacts.

The “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign launched last week and will encourage companies interested in becoming certified B Corps to get started by connecting them with resources, including the online Quick Impact Assessment that was recently re-designed in a partnership between Local First and B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps.

There are 17 Michigan-based businesses certified as B Corps, including 14 from West Michigan.

West Michigan companies designated as certified B Corps include Cascade Engineering, Gazelle Sports, The Gluten Free Bar, Bazzani Associates, Betterway Imports and Highland Group.

Elissa Hillary, Local First executive director, said the “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign will continue throughout 2017.

She said Local First will host Measure What Matters workshops and mixers in March to help businesses learn how they can be a force for good and to connect them with “values-aligned companies.”

Local First will also be introducing the Measure What Matters Awards in 2018 to celebrate companies that take the Quick Impact Assessment.

“We are encouraging all businesses to take our Quick Impact Assessment, which is a 60-minute assessment that gives businesses a snapshot of the positive impact they’re making in their local community,” she said.

While one of the goals of the “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign is to increase the number of certified B Corps in the community, Hillary acknowledged that not all businesses that participate in the Quick Impact Assessment will complete the B Corp certification process.

“B Corp certification is a comprehensive process that can take businesses up to a year to complete,” Hillary said. “Many companies must determine if they have the time and resources to complete the certification process, as well as provide legal documents to complete the certification.

“Through ‘Good for Grand Rapids,’ we are helping educate businesses about the B Corp certification process and help guide them through the process.”

Hillary said whether companies become B Corp certified or not, Local First’s goal is to have half of Grand Rapids businesses complete the Quick Impact Assessment within the next five years and “help those businesses improve their practices, in order to build a more sustainable vibrant economy and region.”

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, who attended the campaign’s launch, said “Good for Grand Rapids” is designed to “engage all companies” in the discussion about how they can make a “positive environmental and social impact, while earning a profit, regardless of their size or industry.”  

The “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign received a $200,000 grant from The Wege Foundation in November.

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