Nonprofits, Small Business & Startups, and Sustainability

Nonprofit wins $200K for B Corp initiative

December 19, 2016
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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

An initiative to encourage more Grand Rapids companies to become B Corp certified has received a $200,000 boost.

Grand Rapids-based Local First said last month it received the grant from The Wege Foundation in Grand Rapids to support its Good for Grand Rapids initiative, which is set to launch in early 2017.

The nonprofit said its Good for Grand Rapids initiative will “inspire, support and celebrate” Grand Rapids companies that dedicate their businesses to creating “high-quality jobs, fostering stronger communities and protecting our air, land and water.”

Specifically, the initiative will offer technical assistance for businesses going through Local First’s B Corps Quick Impact Assessment and educate small businesses about the B Corp "movement."

The initiative will be set up to engage companies interested in becoming certified as a B Corp, by discussing how they can make positive environmental and social impacts, while earning a profit, regardless of their size or industry.

B Lab, a nonprofit based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, issues B Corp certifications.

There are 15 Michigan-based businesses certified as B Corps, including 13 from the Grand Rapids area, such as Cascade Engineering, Gazelle Sports, The Gluten Free Bar, Bazzani Associates, Betterway Imports and Highland Group.

Mark Van Putten, president of The Wege Foundation, said Local First is working “tirelessly” to grow the number of B Corps in West Michigan, and as a result, the region is leading the way in terms of launching B Corps.

“We are proud to see even more companies move in this direction in the coming years,” Van Putten said.

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