Seeding Justice Grand Rapids seeks individuals to serve on its board

Published on May 24, 2023

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Applicants encouraged to apply through June 6


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Seeding Justice Grand Rapids (SJGR) is seeking applications from eligible residents of Kent County and Grand Rapids to serve on its board. Those who are dedicated to equity, social justice, authentic community engagement and relationship building, and have knowledge of the harm caused by the war on drug policies are encouraged to apply.

SJGR, a newly formed local nonprofit created as a key strategy of the Cannabis Social Justice policy of the City of Grand Rapids, is an independent 501(C)(3) organization designed to help undo harm in Grand Rapids caused by inequitable war on drug policies and systemic racism. It aims to undo this harm through the implementation of equitable data-driven community investment strategies.

Eligibility requirements to serve on the board include:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be a resident of the state of Michigan.
  • Must have lived in Kent County/city of Grand Rapids for a period no less than 7 years.
  • Must not be an elected nor an appointed government official other than the one City of Grand Rapids City Commissioner selected by the nonprofit to serve.
  • For conflict-of-interest reasons, a person must not have a direct nor indirect financial interest in, financial benefit from, nor business ownership at any level of a cannabis business and/or cannabis industry. This includes but is not limited to business ownership, consulting services, supplier, and contractual services with the cannabis industry.
  • For conflict-of-interest reasons, a person must not be a staff person, representative, nor serving on the board of a Grand Rapids neighborhood association nor any organization with the authority to report on compliance with Good Neighbor Plans issued to the City.
  • Must not have a conviction in a court of law for a crime involving moral turpitude, fraud, any felony and/or a crime involving minors. Other criminal convictions do not automatically make a person ineligible. Consideration will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The SJGR board is both a working and a governance board with initial priorities to collaborate in the creating of a strategic work plan to identify investment guidelines, priorities, and inclusive processes.

Having a board that reflects the diversity of persons disproportionately targeted and harmed by the war on drugs is important to SJGR. Applicants are encouraged to apply by June 6 via this application form.

The SJGR board will review applicants on June 8 and advance the slate of board members through the City’s Committee on Appointments process for this initial full board. The SJGR Board seeks to fill eight open seats on the board for a total of eleven (11) board members. Subsequent board members will be appointed by a process to be defined by the initial board and adopted into by-laws for the organization.

SJGR is funded through financial contributions from various cannabis businesses in the city of Grand Rapids as part of their voluntary social equity commitments and/or transfer agreements selected during their annual compliance evaluations. These funds collected by the City of Grand Rapids will be used to contract with Seeding Justice Grand Rapids to undo harm in Grand Rapids impacted by inequitable war on drug policies and practices. It is expected that SJGR will then sub-contract with local groups and organizational partners to achieve its contractual outcomes.

The current board is comprised of Joe Jones (board president), Erika Gonzalez (board vice president), mayor Rosalynn Bliss (board secretary) and the City’s chief financial officer, Molly Clarin (board treasurer). Treasurer Clarin will transition off the board once the new board is seated.


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