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Bob Israels Named 2010 Distinguished Community Trustee

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The Center for Community Leadership (CCL), the leadership program of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, is proud to announce the recipient of its annual Distinguished Community Trustee Award, Bob Israels.

“Mr. Israels’ commitment to the Grand Rapids’ community, particularly the revitalization of the West Side, exemplifies what it means to be a community trustee,” explains Kevin Stotts, Executive Director of CCL and Vice President of Community Leadership at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “But even more importantly, his history of giving directly to those in need speaks volumes about the kind of generosity he has shown.”

Israels’ nomination recounts one instance when he became aware of a man in his 30s who was fighting the same type of cancer Israels himself had battled in the 1970’s. The man opted out of treatment because his insurance would not cover the costs of the lodging he would need when he traveled for the care. Convinced that this man could beat the disease the same way he had, Israels covered the man’s transportation, lodging and meals. His selfless giving helped the man to be cured, and continue his life as a father, husband, and small business owner.

Another example tells of the time Israels paid for critical care for a newborn baby when learning that the parents did not have the means for paying for the care themselves. 

“Leading with compassion and a desire to inspire personal growth is the legacy Mr. Israels has created and shared,” continues Stotts. “His gifts of not just financial support, but enthusiasm, dedication and vision have made the Greater Grand Rapids community a better place.”

The Distinguished Community Award embodies CCL’s mission to develop and engage a diverse network of community trustees and is one of the most recognized awards in our community. Israel’s nomination highlighted his success as an effective change agent in critical situations.  

Israels will be honored at CCL’s Annual Fundraiser on the evening of April 21 at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. More information regarding the event can be found online at       

About the Center for Community Leadership
The Center for Community Leadership is a program of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce committed to enhancing and connecting leaders from business, non-profits and government. For more than 20 years, CCL’s diverse portfolio of programming has empowered participants with a comprehensive understanding of our community’s challenges and opportunities, preparing them for their roles as Community Trustees. 
About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
With more than 120 years of experience creating opportunities for business success, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization in West Michigan. Though the area’s largest employers are among its 2,800 member businesses, more than 80% of members are small companies with 50 or fewer employees. By helping members connect, grow and succeed, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is a community partner that provides value for members, enhances the business climate in the area, and advocates for public policy that supports economic growth and vitality.

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