With the pandemic reaching the one year mark soon, non-profit organizations all across the country are struggling to find ways to fundraise so they can continue running programs and taking care of the people they serve.  Unfortunately, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, when you can’t get people together and show them a good time or help show off the cause you’re working for, to help raise money.

That’s why 14 local West Michigan artists have joined in with a dozen local non-profit organizations to try to help them raise some funds as Grand Rapids continues to draw visitors during the winter months with the World of Winter festival.  Starting this weekend through the 28th of February, as you’re walking around looking at the different ice sculptures and other art installations, you’ll also notice a number of 4-foot-by-6-foot heart-shaped artworks stationed around downtown Grand Rapids.  It’s called “Have a Heart GR” and the idea is that each Heart Artwork is also attached to one of the 12 local non-profits, so as you approach the big hearts, you’ll also see a QR code that you can scan and make a donation to that charity.

“These beautiful artworks provide everyone an opportunity to support local groups helping make Grand Rapids a better place to live and work,” said Barbara Lash, a Grand Rapids artist and creative consultant who imagined and coordinated the installation. “We want to encourage people to think more deeply about the community around them and how they can get more involved in its growth and equity. And we want to shine a light on the folks bringing their hearts to our city everyday - artists and community organizations.”

Here are the dozen great non-profits that you can help out when you see the “Have A Heart GR” hearts:

  • be nice - The West Michigan Mental Health Foundation
  • Black Book Exchange
  • Blandford Nature Center
  • Carol’s Ferals
  • Church of Social Justice
  • The Diatribe
  • Grand Rapids Mutual Aid Network
  • The Grand Rapids Pride Center
  • GR Bicycle Coalition
  • The Hispanic Center of West Michigan
  • Red Project

Also big thanks to the 14 local artists who got together to make the "Have a Heart GR" murals, and help out some great organizations:

  • Sarah Jean Anderson
  • Eirann Betka-Pope
  • Tyree Broadway
  • Shannon Clauda
  • Sierra Cole
  • Barbara Danger
  • Bux Dhyne
  • Beth Godleski
  • Kenzi Goss
  • Tanya Harris & Alex Hassen
  • Kate Meyer
  • Monica Stegeman
  • Renee Therriault

The "Have a Heart GR" installation is sponsored by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., and is part of the World of Winter GR festival, so the heart murals will be all around downtown Grand Rapids starting this weekend through the end of the month, including the Monroe Center social zones, Rosa Parks Circle, and in front of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

More info about Have a Heart GR can be found HERE or about the World Of Winter GR festival HERE.

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