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Local businesses report positive change in West Michigan

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Local First releases mid-year report highlighting how local companies use their business as a force for good.

Local First released its mid-year Good for Grand Rapids Report, which highlights data on businesses that have taken the Quick Impact Assessment over the first six months as a part of Good for Grand Rapids.

“Our data show businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries are making a significant positive impact in our community,” said Elissa Hillary, president of Local First. “We’re thrilled to see so many Grand Rapids businesses taking the Quick Impact Assessment and making it a priority to use their business as a force for good. We encourage more businesses to take the assessment and get involved with Good for Grand Rapids this year!” 

Good for Grand Rapids launched in January. Since then, 47 businesses in multiple sectors, including service, lifestyle, manufacturing and retail have become Good for Grand Rapids by taking the Quick Impact Assessment. Fifteen of these businesses took the assessment before Good for Grand Rapids launched and again during the campaign, and demonstrated significant growth in the following areas:

  • 45 percent showed an increase in positive impact on workers (increased benefits, review process, living wages, etc.)
  • 55 percent showed an increase in impact in governance (creation of mission statement, diversity statement, procedure manual, etc.)
  • 55 percent showed an increase in positive community impact (percent of profits donated, diversity of ownership and spending on local suppliers)
  • 67 percent showed an increase in positive environmental impact (waste/recycle management, building greening initiatives, energy and water usage efficiency programs)

“When I first took the Quick Impact Assessment, I initially thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’ll be able to accomplish everything the assessment is asking me to do.’ The assessment ended up being an eye-opening experience that helped me evaluate and improve my business practices,” said Dick Zaagman, owner and founder of Community Automotive. “I’ve always been committed to social, environmental and community issues, so the assessment helped me identify ways my business is already making an impact and how we can grow our impact.” 

The Quick Impact Assessment, developed by Local First, B Lab and Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), is a free, confidential online tool that helps companies measure their positive social and environmental impact in their local community. The online assessment, which can be taken in about 60 minutes, looks at how companies stack up to best practices including employee wages, community involvement, philanthropy and environmental impact, and can compare their companies to other similar companies around the world.

As a part of Good for Grand Rapids, Local First launched its Measure What Matters Workshop and Mixer series, which provides support, tools and resources for businesses looking for ways to make a positive social and environmental impact while earning a profit. Visit for a full list of events. Local First will also celebrate companies that are Good for Grand Rapids at the end of the year. 

For many companies, taking the Quick Impact Assessment is the first step in determining where they might improve their business. It also helps businesses connect to other businesses making a positive impact in Grand Rapids, like area B Corps. Businesses can take the Quick Impact Assessment at or contact Local First for more information.

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