Living Sustainably: Workshop targets positive community impacts by business

By Hanna Schulze, Local First
Helping businesses make positive social and environmental impacts on their community is the focus of a workshop called “Raising the Bar for Business” to be held in Holland on April 12.
Local First has partnered with the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance and Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute to host the workshop. Together they will share how to integrate both social and environmental justice values into business plans.

Those who attend will walk away with tangible methods to retain and attract talent, broaden their customer base and create lasting financial sustainability. Refreshments will be provided by Joe 2 Go.
The Holland workshop kicks off the six-part spring lineup of the 2018 Measure What Matters Workshop series, part of the “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign that celebrates West Michigan companies using their business as a force for good in the region.
“A key part of Good for Grand Rapids is providing educational resources to local businesses through our Measure What Matters Workshop series,” said Elissa Hillary, Local First president.
“Our workshops equip business owners with the tools and information they need to demonstrate a positive social and environmental impact on our community. Building upon last year’s success, we have a great series planned for 2018 and welcome any business owner or community member who has an interest.”
“Local First continues to provide impactful events like the Measure What Matters series, where business owners and decision-makers can gain knowledge, access resources and create an action plan that helps address critical issues like diversity in small businesses and renewable and efficient energy use,”
said Christine Lindeman, relationship and operations manager for Sytsma Wealth Strategies and a previous Measure What Matters attendee.
“It’s energizing to be around people who care so much about our community and the individuals who live here.”
The spring schedule for the Measure What Matters workshop series covers a variety of topics, from building healthier teams to best practices for environmental sustainability. Series participants will also learn more about the Good for Grand Rapids campaign and Local First’s Quick Impact Assessment.
In addition to the April 12 workshop, set for 9 to 11 a.m. at Herrick District Library in Holland, subsequent workshops will include “Affording Retention: Building Healthier Teams” and “Putting the ‘Eco’ in Economy,” both of which will be held in Grand Rapids. Go to to find out more.
 Local First’s mission is to lead the development of an economy grounded in local ownership that meets the basic needs of people, builds local wealth and social capital, functions in harmony with our ecosystem, and encourages joyful community. For more information about Local First and its efforts to promote a sustainable local economy, visit

If You Go
What: “Raising the Bar for Business” workshop on positive social and environmental impact
When: 9-11 a.m., Thursday, April 12
Where: Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
How: Free for Local First members and non-members. Register at business

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.