Last month, 58 community members and five local leaders came together
to share their experience, knowledge, and expertise on critical issues facing our
community. This event was our first Community Conversation, and it gave community
members a platform to tell us about their concerns and aspirations for Kent County.

Why hold an event like this? Simply put, we wanted to hear from you. As members of
this community who are living, working, learning, struggling, and thriving here every
day, we recognize that every single one of you is an expert on life in Kent County. As
United Way assesses its impact on the people of Kent County, it is imperative that we
hear from all of you.

This event is also a call to action. Inside this report, you will find the insights, hopes,
and ideas of a diverse group of people who live and work here. We hope that this
report will spark conversations and, ultimately, lead to action around the challenges
and opportunities identified in these pages. We hope that it inspires you and reflects the spirit, strength, and resilience of our community.


Michelle Van Dyke

Michelle Van Dyke
President/CEO, Heart of West Michigan United Way


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