What We're About

How fortunate we are, as a micro-society living in West Michigan, to be surround by hundreds of hard-working nonprofits. Our vision in the Westside community is not to undermine or eliminate those doing good work in our schools, churches, stores, and public spaces. We want to lift them up and connect them with other organizations who are working hard too.

Our specific role in the community plays itself out in three main ways:

1. We are realigning a system of service within the nonprofit community. We oversee and encourage the subtle and/or vast shifts in services provided by our member organizations to better refer clientele to one another. We're hoping this generates a more holistic approach to community needs and will more effectively sustain relationships with those who are served by our members as they continue to develop and grow outside of each non-profit’s specific service area.

2. We organize appropriate teams to address common issues facing our member organizations and community members that fall outside of any one agency’s specific mission and/or purpose. Rather than asking nonprofit members to address issues that fall outside of their expertise and/or funded purpose, the Westside Collaborative creates work groups comprised of 50% or more Collaborative Member staff or board, residents impacted by the issue being addressed, and representation from marginalized communities (race, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, economic class, etc.). When approaching issues, we also insist on 40% or more non-white group membership to create authentic dialog and equity within the strategic sessions.

3. We promote hope in our community by ensuring that our members’ services and programs are available to ALL neighbors. We serve as a collective voice in endorsing, challenging, and opposing policy and development that impacts the residents of our geographic community. Community issues are collected by nonprofit members, these issues are compiled and put back to the membership at large, where four annual initiatives are chosen based on urgency and significance of potential impact and/or improvement.