"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration,
wonderful things can be achieved."

 

Jim Davis
Executive Director

Previously participating with some of the Collaborative’s work through Keystone Community Church, Sibley Elementary School, and with a work group addressing affordable housing and displacement, Jim came into the role as Executive Director with some solid professional and local relationships to bring the Collaborative’s mission forward.

As Board Chair and President of one of the Westside Neighborhood Associations, as well as Planning Commissioner as appointed by Mayor Bliss, Jim spends a lot of his time both inside and outside of work focused on community.

Jim’s first career focused on performing and teaching music. He credits that experience in preparing him for the professional world, and the essential equity work he enjoys so much. “Music brings people together from all walks of life and allows them to create art as equals.” With this in mind, Jim applied for the Executive Director role with the hope he could bring the brilliant work of the Westside nonprofit community to more areas in the local neighborhoods.

Fun Fact: Jim’s airband, The 79ers, has played several venues for hundreds of people where he performs as Butch Mitchell, the groups rhythm guitarist and lead singer.

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Karl Williams
Director of Community Resources

Coming to us from Saginaw, Michigan, Karl received a scholarship to study at Iowa Central Community College where he began to take note of the racial disparities as just one of eight African Americans at the college.

Before the Westside Collaborative, Karl worked in Grand Rapids for Americorps, resourcing the community and connecting local residents to resources before being recruited to work for The Other Way Ministries. Karl is now seen as one of a trusted Westside leader and continues to evolve in how he connects neighbors and organizations to new opportunities.

Fun Fact: The best concert he ever attended was The Parliament Funkadelics in the Civic Center (now the DOW Center) back home in Saginaw.

 
 

Isabel Garcia
Director of Leadership Development and Education

Originally from Mexico City, she has always been passionate about art, dance, and education, especially as they pertain to youth. A graduate of Union High School, Isabel’s love and passion for Grand Rapids’ Westside runs deep. Isabel served as a lead staff member with the YMCA prior to taking on a role with the Westside Collaborative.

Isabel now serves Collaborative members through her efforts with Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), and local colleges and universities. She champions developmental programs for youth and adults within the Westside Community.

Fun Fact: Not everyone knows that Isabel danced professionally for three years between 2001 and 2004.

 
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