Baxter Community Center

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

Baxter Community Center was founded in 1969 as a response to the civil strife, profound racial tension, and significant unmet needs in the core city of Grand Rapids. For the past 44 years, they have fulfilled their mission to be A Christian Response to Human Needs, ensuring that the burdens of today do not become the barriers of tomorrow. Their four main pillars of programming are: Child Development Center, Wholistic Health Clinic, Mizizi Maji Mentoring, and Marketplace. These pillars help individuals and families meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs creating a future rooted in hope and reflective of their own potential. This organization provides our neighbors with foundational needs such as food, childcare, medical care, and clothing. All funds stay local.

  • Their Child Development Center serves nearly 70 children and their families; 30% of whom have an annual income of less than $15,000.
  • Their Wholisic Health Clinic makes it possible for Baxter to serve an average of 1,500 under or uninsured people per year.
  • Their Mizizi Maji Mentoring Program serves 30 youth ages 8-18 and introduces them to the 3.0 Gets to Go: Education Through Travel initiative. Students that maintain academic excellence throughout their school year are rewarded with life changing trips that have taken youth to Canada, South Africa, and across the United States.
  • Their Threads Program mentors 12 adult women through the community and craft of quilting, sewing, and thread work and organizes an annual community quilt show.
  • Their Marketplace offers a food and clothing pantry where more than 14,451 individuals each year received the emergency assistance they need to get by. The Marketplace also offers daily senior computer classes, senior exercise, budgeting classes, and free tax preparation, bringing just under $2 million in tax refunds and credits back to 1,500 people in our community annually. They also deliver over 500 holiday baskets each year. Their new greenhouse program provides fresh produce for the food pantry, and over 300 people have gotten involved in gardening, cooking, and canning workshops, free vegetable seedling distribution, and community events.

From this issue

Tasha Blackmon was born to teenaged parents, who worked hard to provide for their family and stressed the importance of education.
When he was just 18 years old, Larry DeShane, Jr., Center Administrator at Grand Rapids Pride Center, summoned the courage to tell his parents he was gay.
According to data from Burning Glass Technologies, the current welding workforce is projected to need over 470,000 welders by 2022, yet only 3.4 percent of those currently doing those jobs are women.
West Michiganders have it good: When it comes to destinations we can visit in a day, the options are abundant.