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Do you have an idea to improve your community?

Bring your ideas forward to Opportunity Empowered for your chance to receive up to $15,000 in funding, voted on by your community!

Opportunity Empowered is a program launched by the Urban League of West Michigan in partnership with Heart of West Michigan United Way. Residents with grassroots ideas can participate in this opportunity to empower community voices by ideating, identifying and prioritizing solutions to community identified issues. 

This is an opportunity for those who may already be operating small scale out of homes and churches, etc. and are looking to elevate their idea.

Opportunity Empowered is looking for local residents who have ideas related to:

  • Small Business/Start Up:
    Small business or small business start up with less than $250,000 in profit annually since start up

  • Next Gen Leader (18-24 years old):
    Young Adult Initiatives for community enhancement and small business 

  • Community Enhancement Projects/Small Non-Profit Organization: Grassroots Launchpad for identifying ideating and prioritizing solutions to issues identified by the community/ Small non-profit within designated areas with budget under 100k & less than 7 years old

Community Ideas💡Community Vote 🗳️ Community Prize Money 💵

  • Residents will bring ideas forward and have the opportunity to receive $5,000-$15,000 in funding.

  • The community will vote on each idea and prize money will be awarded.

  • In addition to the prize money residents will receive coaching and professional help needed to launch their project.

Just think of the possibilities!

  • Has your company generated less than $250,000 in profit annually since start up?

  • Is your business or business idea providing support to GR residents in any of the following zip codes? (49503, 49504, 49506, or 49507)

  • Your business or business idea provides goods/services NOT related to shelter, temporary, or permanent housing for community members?

  • You are older than 24 years old?

​If your answer to all these questions is "YES", please click on the apply now button below.



Small Business / Start-Up


Community Enhancement Projects / Small Non-Profit Organizations

Next Gen Leaders


Opportunity Empowered is part of the Thrive + Prosper movement focused on making Grand Rapids a better place to live, where no one is left out, where all voices are heard and where it’s normal—not newsworthy—for everyone to thrive and prosper. Learn more by visiting

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