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Norman Bent

After two decades as an administrator at Wayne State University, Norman Bent decided to take a year sabbatical. But he wasn’t idle for long. Through his involvement in southwest Detroit’s Latino community, he was soon tapped to lead the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies, and a new career was born.

Penny Bailer

City Year Detroit’s Executive Director, Penny Bailer, is a 37-year resident of Detroit with a firm grasp on the vital need for education improvement in Detroit. With a zest that is rare and unmistakable, Bailer oversees the many mentoring, educational, and enrichment programs that City Year offers to the city’s underserved youth.

Laura Hughes

Executive Director Laura Hughes measures her work at the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park not just by the numbers, but by the spark of belief that youth have in themselves – a belief that was likely extinguished until they walked through the doors of the Ruth Ellis Center.  

Cheryl Simon

Cheryl Simon gained her wisdom and knowledge from years in Detroit’s nonprofit sector before taking on the coordinating role with Detroit Food Policy Council, a group shaping food policy and championing a more just and environmentally conscious local food system. She invites those most impacted by food policy to the table to partake in both the discussion and the decisions. 

Malik Yakini

In 2006, Malik Yakini organized a meeting of about 40 people to discuss food security issues; at that meeting, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network was born. Yakini recently won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his work to ensure social justice, food equity, and food security for the people of Detroit.

Minsu Longariu

Minsu Longariu, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Michigan, believes in the power of people coming together to create change. Whether that happens around a restaurant table or in a community meeting, Longariu says that working together is the best way to overcome big challenges.

Susan Reed

Supervising attorney Susan Reed is inspired by the strength and resiliency of her clients at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. The center is creating a more equal future for all children and building a base of support for immigrants in the communities where they live. 

Thomas Costello

Inspired by his Jesuit education and the Jesuit philosophy of service to others -- and deeply committed to a more just and inclusive world -- Thomas Costello ditched the private sector in 2008 to become president of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

Lisa Mitchell

Working to end racism, Lisa Mitchell, executive director of Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism (GRACE), brings workshops and assessment programs to educational, nonprofit and workplace settings through a program called Partners for a Racism-Free Community.
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Can systemic racism impact infant mortality?

Even when controlling for poverty, education level, and tobacco use of a mother, maternal and infant health outcomes are far worse for minority populations than European-American women. What's causing the continued disparities? And what can West Michigan do to ensure all babies born here have the best chance of reaching their potential? Zinta Aistars reports on Strong Beginnings, one local program working to give all families a fair start.

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Company Supports 4th Grade Field Trips to Lake Michigan

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Youth Decide Where Grant Dollars are Spent

For Grand Rapids students who serve as trustees-in-training on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, giving back to the community goes hand in hand with empowering students to succeed. 
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