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mygrcitypoints Creates Community Campaigns and Gives Points for Volunteering

The City of Grand Rapids is announcing a new phase of that rewards residents for volunteering and permits points donations for community campaigns.

After a successful launch of myGRcitypoints in which Grand Rapids residents increased their recycling by 80% to earn points redeemable for discounts at locally-owned businesses, today launched its second phase in which residents can earn points by volunteering at approved nonprofit events.


The program was announced at a news conference at City Hall today with Mayor George K. Heartwell, City Manager Greg Sundstrom and Maureen Noe, CEO and President of partnering agency Heart of West Michigan United Way.


Mayor Heartwell announced a partnership with Heart of West Michigan United Way (HWMUW) to reward points to City and non-City residents by volunteering.  Grand Rapids will integrate with HWMUW's HandsOn Connect system, which has proven successful in connecting volunteers and volunteer opportunities.  HandsOn Connect is an online volunteer management service which allows organizations to post volunteer opportunities, communicate with volunteers, track volunteer participation, and beginning today, earn myGRcitypoints.


Mayor Heartwell also announced myGRcitypoints Campaigns, where persons with points can contribute points earned from recycling and volunteering to a community-building campaign.  A sponsor can create a community campaign to bring awareness and motivate people to engage in a community cause.


The first campaign will be sponsored by the City of Grand Rapids, as part of the Parks Alive program with the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.  The City will offer a "park makeover" to the City park which receives the most donated points.  People will be able to contribute points through the end of March to their favorite City park.  The winning park will receive a $50,000 "makeover", with the improvements being selected by park neighbors.  There will also be two runner-up parks which will receive $10,000 "park spruce ups".


"United Way connects resources to meet local community needs.  We are excited to partner with the City of Grand Rapids in a way that will benefit everyone in our community," said Heart of West Michigan United Way President and CEO Maureen Noe. "HandsOn Connect will improve opportunities for area residents to leverage their gifts of time with Kent County nonprofits."


City officials are hopeful this phase will be met with the same enthusiasm that the recycling phase did, which has proven to be successful for the City, Local First, and its participating businesses.  The City is seeking to boost civic engagement.


"The intention of myGRcitypoints has been to incent sustainable living and encourage residents to visit locally-owned businesses.  With these new features, can also incent civic engagement and community-building," said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. "We are excited to launch another innovative program that will help transform our City."


The City is encouraging individuals and community groups to sponsor a campaign to motivate interest in community causes.  For example, a local hospital could sponsor a community campaign to encourage a healthy behavior, such as weight loss, that could reward a neighborhood for the greatest weight loss.  A campaign could be set up to encourage reading to children, planting trees, or donating prom dresses.  Campaigns are only limited by our creativity.  Campaigns will help businesses and philanthropic foundations get involved. Businesses can sponsor a campaign in which they offer something of value if a specific amount of points are donated by users. Foundations may offer a grant to an organization if participants donate a certain amount of points.  "myGRcitypoints campaigns can be a tremendously creative way for businesses, foundations, and individuals to work together for the benefit of the community," noted City of Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.


Log on to to learn more about this initiative.


Example of how the Volunteer phase works for a one-time event:

A local non-profit organization is seeking volunteers to help senior residents clear snow from their sidewalks, porches, and driveways.  A volunteer project is set up through the United Way's HandsOn Connect system as a points eligible opportunity.  Any citizen that signs up (with linked accounts) and participates will receive a specific amount of points in for their participation.


Example of how the Volunteer phase works for ongoing opportunities:

A local non-profit organization needs ongoing help with the inventory of trees.  Interested volunteers can help with the tree inventory (at their leisure) by using a tree inventory application that the organization uses.  The application alerts the organization when volunteers have inventoried certain amounts of trees.  When the organization gets an alert that someone has inventoried 10 trees, they will email the volunteer a unique, single-use code that the volunteer can then redeem for points on

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
12:00 PM
01:00 PM


City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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