Local First, an organization that is dedicated to promoting local businesses in Grand Rapids and West Michigan announced on Wednesday that they received a $200,000 grant from the Wege Foundation to build awareness and help support their “Good for Grand Rapids” Campaign.
“We are ecstatic to find out that the Wege Foundation was willing to support our efforts," executive director of Local First Elissa Hillary said. "We are thrilled, absolutely thrilled by it, and the funds will go towards the creation of a campaign we are hoping to launch in 2017."
The 'Good for Grand Rapids' campaign will help to engage companies interested in exploring or becoming certified as a Benefit Corporation better known as a B-Corp.
“This is a campaign that will bring together companies to help them see how they can use their business as a source for good, to solve environmental and social challenges here in our community,” Hillary said.
A B-corp is best described as a for-profit company that has been given a special certification by the BLAB and meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. While there is currently 13 certified B-Corps in Grand Rapids, the 'Good for Grand Rapids' campaign is hoping to see that number rise.
“Let me step back and say certainly not all companies will become certified as B -Corps, but we do see the many of the local business that we work with share the same kind of values as b-corps, I think there is actually and expectation in this region, that if you are going to do business, you’re going to do it responsibly,” Hillary said.
Local First is the largest organization and advocate for locally owned businesses in the Midwest, representing over 800 member businesses throughout West Michigan.