Grand Rapids was built on the banks of the Grand River with an abundance of natural resources. It was built by the industrial, automotive, and technological revolutions that continue to shape its story. It was built by furniture, by cleaning machines, and by beer.
Above all, it was built by people; immigrants and their children, mastering skilled trades and fostering modern startups and learning what it means to work together. With active citizens emphasizing community over corporate dominance, Grand Rapids has fared better than most cities during each economic downturn, from the Great Depression to the Great Recession.
That spirit of fellowship and communal support continues today in organizations throughout the city, particularly at BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions), where young professionals of color connect with others, develop their professional skills, and add value to the community.
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