Located on the West Side of Grand Rapids, Steepletown is transforming lives within the urban core communities of Greater Grand Rapids through education, workforce development, and community empowerment. This creates hope that is rooted in opportunity, which ultimately leads to a sense of well-being and economic security.
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime” – Chinese Proverb
In 1993, three neighboring Catholic Churches on the City’s lower West Side- St. James, St. Mary, and the Basilica of Saint Adalbert – shared a vision to address the changing realities and needs of its neighbors. As a result Steepletown was founded and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1994, whose mission is “to promote neighbor helping neighbor live with dignity and hope.” Steepletown accomplishes this mission through creative programs and innovative services, and by engaging in some system-changing community collaboratives.
Much has happened in the 25 years Steepletown has operated a community-based center on the City’s West Side. From its modest beginnings with only a part-time Director back in 1993, Steepletown now has sixteen full-time and ten part-time staff. And yet Steepletown operates on the basis that change which is going to truly transform lives takes the effort of as many as possible. This understanding of the need to create community partnerships and collaborations results in much deeper and more beneficial outcomes for the individuals walking through the doors of Steepletown. The strategy behind Steepletown’s efforts is to create a network of opportunities for those living on the West Side and the surrounding communities.
Steepletown can “teach a man to fish”, but these community partnerships and collaboratives are critically important in order to complete the picture, i.e. helping this newly educated fishermen gain access to the lake or river where the fish can be found, equipping them with a boat and fishing gear, teaching them how to clean and cook the fish and how to survive, or at least not go hungry, when the fish aren’t biting. This illustrates the complexity of life and why there is a need to reach across to other organizations and systems to create a more seamless, comprehensive approach that can truly transform lives.
Welcome to the neighborhood!
The efforts to create community partnerships and collaborations results in much deeper and more beneficial outcomes for the individuals walking through the doors of Steepletown.
One of Steepletown’s core values is Racial Equity & Inclusion. The Board recently adopted organizational policies and practices to move Steepletown’s culture to being more racism-free.