West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has received a grant from the Environmental Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation of Muskegon County for a shared capacity investment in partnership with Muskegon County Department of Public Works to improve sustainability program publicity, recycling education and networking in Muskegon County.

WMSBF will pilot a satellite program in Muskegon County based on its Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum program in Southwest Michigan, hosting local networking and education events and promoting local sustainability news and resources through social media, a newsletter, and earned media.  If successful, the pilot will create a community of practice for Muskegon County organizations, professionals and stakeholders interested in sustainability and sustainable business, with linkages to the regional sustainable business network, providing a vehicle for local and regional collaborative projects, access to resources, and educational opportunities.

The pilot will operate initially under the Sustainable Muskegon brand, an initiative of Muskegon County DPW.  WMSBF will also provide local small and medium-sized businesses waste audits and other resources as part of its Imagine Trash Partnership Program.

“We are very excited to partner with Muskegon County to promote sustainability on the Lakeshore,” said Daniel Schoonmaker, Executive Director of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.  “This is a great opportunity for our organizations to improve their services and provide value to local businesses.”

Muskegon County and WMSBF first collaborated on the Michigan Municipal Solid Waste Characterization and Valuation Project in 2015, which highlighted economic opportunities in Michigan, West Michigan, Kent County and Muskegon County.  Earlier this year, the two organizations began a dialogue on why the study results had not received a comparable level of publicity as it had elsewhere in the region.  They found that other meaningful sustainability news from the county’s sustainability office, parks department, public works and economic development office were also not being leveraged to promote sustainability.  Further, a 2008 recycling baseline study highlighted a need for a program to assist businesses in launching recycling program had recently been affirmed through a stakeholder process and not yet addressed.  The pilot project aims to address both concerns.

As part of the effort, WMSBF is hiring a Muskegon Regional Coordinator Intern for at least a nine-month engagement.  Interested students and recent graduates should apply at wmsbf.org/muskegon.

Further information on the Muskegon Regional Coordinator Intern position is available here.

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County was created in 1961 to improve the quality of life for Muskegon County residents. As a publicly supported community endowment, the Foundation receives and manages contributions from thousands of community citizens and organizations committed to the future of Muskegon County.