The UCC is intended to function as a community of practice in that the UCC will work to improve services to the community of color through improved sustainability and capacity of each member organization and knowledge sharing and service collaboration among member organizations.

The UCC is made up of organizations that engage in supporting programs and services that increase capacity within communities of color in the Grand Rapids urban core, to enhance life quality of their residents. The members of the UCC include Baxter Community Center, Family Outreach Center, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, Grand Rapids Urban League, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, and United Methodist Community House.

Our Focus

  • Economic Stability
  • Education
  • Social and Community Context
  • Health and Health Care
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment

Mission Statement

To increase the capacity and accessibility of supportive services that address the core needs of people of color and marginalized families residing in Grand Rapids.

Vision Statement

Grand Rapids families and neighborhoods will maximize their full human potential, thus redefining the negative stereotypes associated with living in the urban core.

Core Value Statement

We believe that successful people and neighborhoods overcome the negative side effects of systemic racism through equal access to education and the resources to live physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy lives.

Executive Team

Joe Jones
Joe JonesGrand Rapids Urban League
Joe Jones currently serves as President/CEO of the Grand Rapids Urban League. Full Bio »
Veneese Chandler
Veneese ChandlerFamily Outreach Center
Dr. Chandler is committed to advocating for the needs of the underserved, people of color, low-income individuals, families and children with specific needs in the areas of family preservation, mental health and substance abuse. Full Bio »
Shannon Wilson
Shannon WilsonGRAAHI

Shannon Wilson is an up and coming community leader focused on improving the health and well being of residents in the Grand Rapids Area. Full Bio »

Roberto Torres
Roberto TorresHispanic Center of West Michigan
Roberto Torres is the Executive Director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. He started on January 20, 2015. Prior to joining the Hispanic Center, Torres served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Full Bio »
Richard Clanton
Richard ClantonUnited Methodist Community House
As a resident of the City of Kentwood since 1992, Richard has been actively involved in and committed to local communities. Full Bio »
Melanie Beelen
Melanie BeelenBaxter Community Center
Melanie Beelen has been the Executive Director at Baxter Community Center in Grand Rapids Michigan since 1996. Full Bio »

Our Members