West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance


Latest Developments

On Friday, August 25, Governor Rick Snyder
was hosted by the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance at the U.S.S. Silversides Museum in Muskegon.  Almost 100 people were in attendance to hear updates on WMPA projects such as the Regional Dashboard, Watershed Sustainability, and Broadband.  Additionally, the group was briefed on the Governor’s Infrastructure Asset Management project, a pilot program involving the 13 county West Michigan Region 4 area and the SEMCOG area in eastern Michigan.  Governor Snyder highlighted the work that is being done and relationships that are being built not only throughout West Michigan, but also with eastern Michigan.


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley joined GVMC and the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance at the Debut of the West Michigan Regional Dashboard - Over 150 people gathered February 17 at the Frederick Meijer Gardens to witness the debut of the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, a single source of information for business, government and the public which includes 34 economic, social and environmental indicators. Click here to connect to the Dashboard. Click here to view the M-Live story. Click here to view WOODTV Story. Click here to view the Grand Rapids Business Journal story.


On October 3rd, The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance hosted a Public Engagement and Grant Prioritization meeting at the L. William Seidman Center of Grand Valley State University in Downtown Grand Rapids.  The event was attended by over 120 people representing business, higher education, community development, adult education, transportation and planning organizations, economic development, the philanthropic community, and local officials, as well as members of the general public.  Special guest U.S. Senator Gary Peters was the featured speaker.

Attendees viewed presentations and voted to prioritize grant requests previously submitted and deemed to be of regional significance based on established criteria.  Voting results will help determine priority for over $200,000 in grant funding.

The event was the culmination of the 2016 grant cycle for the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance which represents the 13 county Region 4 of Governor Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative.  Over the past three years the Regional Prosperity Initiative has brought over $700,000 in funding to West Michigan. Click here to view the presentation and results.



The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance, the 13 County Region 4 of Governor Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative, Releases Update on 2014 Priority Projects.

Click here to view.

The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance will hold a Public Engagement and Grant Award Meeting October 3, 9:00 a.m. at the L. William Seidman Center of Grand Valley State University. For More Information Click Here.

U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga Meets with West Michigan Prosperity Alliance - June 2016

John Weiss, GVMC Executive Director and Chair of the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance, hosted over 70 people at the June 20 Regional Prosperity Initiative meeting in Ludington featuring special guest, Congressman Bill Huizenga.




The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance is seeking nominations for 2016 project funding. Please review the nomination form and nominate any project you feel meets the criteria.  All nominated projects will be considered.  This effort seeks to find projects that will impact West Michigan and help us to focus our efforts on a regional basis.  We are looking for the “big idea” projects that will have significant impact on West Michigan and allow the region to prioritize and coalesce our efforts in the future.  This email is being distributed to over 400 individuals in the 13 county region.  We encourage you to distribute it to anyone you feel might be interested. 

Questions and returned forms should be directed to Steve Bulthuis at sbulthuis@the-macc.org


Lt. Governor Brian Calley Meets with West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance 6/22/15

Lt. Governor Brian Calley praised west Michigan cooperation as a means to serve citizens and get beyond the many artificial borders that exist in our state. The Lt. Governor praised our area as a place where cooperation across political boundaries had a head start over other areas of Michigan. Click here for full report.

Ludington Daily News - Cooperation

Ludington Daily News - Shared Interest


The Next Regional Prosperity Initiative Steering Committee Meeting will be held 11/4/15, 10:00 - 12:00 p.m. at WMSRDC 316 Morris Avenue, Suite 340, Muskegon


News Reports on the West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance Port of Muskegon Project 3/3/15:

Daily Journal, Elkhart Truth, MLive, WZZM 13, Grand Rapids Business Journal

The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance (WMPA) is pleased to announce funding in the amount of $230,250 for five projects of Significant Regional Economic Importance. The WMPA was formed in January 2014 as part of Governor Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative. The Alliance serves a 13 county region in West Michigan. It is one of the largest regions in the state with 130 miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline, over 90 school systems, 13 colleges and universities, 431 units of government, and a geography roughly the size of New Jersey. The population exceeds 1.5 million residents. Over 10,000 employers create $5.7 billion in economic output. To see full story click here.

125 Attend West Michigan Prosperity Alliance General Session - Over 125 residents, business leaders, educators, economic developers, and government leaders from throughout West Michigan attended the Third General Session of the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance.  The meeting was held at the Kirkhof Center at  Grand Valley State University.
Click here for more information.
Click here to view the PowerPoint Presentation.

Click here to see project ranking.

Governor Snyder has challenged the 10 economic development regions to develop comprehensive plans to better coordinate and integrate investments around economic development, workforce development and infrastructure.  To advance the development of a plan for the 13-county West Michigan economic development Region 4, a work group representing several organizations assembled in November of 2013 and submitted a $250,000 grant proposal to the State of Michigan. 

In its application, the work group proposed the completion of a 5-year Regional Prosperity Plan by October of 2014.  Program and project initiatives leading to enhanced cooperation and collaboration of workforce, infrastructure and economic development efforts will be the outcome of the planning effort.  In essence, the plan will identify efforts that will improve the economic competitiveness of the region.  Metrics of accomplishment and success will be developed to track the implementation of the proposed 5-year plan that will commence in 2015.

A 30-person Steering Committee was designated to prepare the 5-year plan which began meeting in January of 2014. In seeking out the representatives to the Steering Committee, it was necessary to include representation in economic development, workforce development and infrastructure expertise and geographic balance from the entire 13-County region.  The representatives and their affiliation are provided below:


MPO and Planning Commissions

  • Grand Valley Metropolitan Council – John Weiss
  • Macatawa Area Coordinating Council – Steve Bulthuis
  • West Michigan Regional Planning Commission – Dave Bee
  • West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission – Erin Kuhn

Economic Development Agencies

  • Barry County Economic Development Alliance –Open
  • Lakeshore Advantage –Jennifer Owens
  • Muskegon Area First – Ed Garner

Workforce Development

  • West Michigan Works! – Jacob Maas
  • Michigan Works! West Central – Paul Griffith

Higher Education

  • Muskegon Community College – Dan Rinsema-Sybenga
  • Grand Rapids Community College – Bill Pink
  • West Shore Community College – Crystal Young

Adult Education

  • Allegan Adult and Alternative Ed - Brenda Nyhof
  • Holland/Zeeland Adult Education – Michael O’Connor
  • Kent ISD - Pat Walstra

Community Development

  • 8Cap - Dan Peterson
  • Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership - Kiesha Guy
  • Paula Huyser – Ottawa County

Other Members

  • Michigan Department of Transportation – Erick Kind
  • Talent 2025 – Kevin Stotts
  • West Michigan Chamber Alliance – Andy Johnston
  • GVSU - Simone Jonaitis
  • Kathy MacLean - Ludington / Scottville Chamber of Commerce
  • Mecosta County Development Corporation – Jim Sandy
  • The Right Place, Inc. -  Rick Chapla


  • Bob Chapla - Community Foundation for Muskegon County


This type of integrated and collaborative planning effort has never been undertaken before in the 13-County Region 4.  However, the design and efforts of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance certainly inspired in-part the Governor’s vision for greater regional collaboration among the many organizations that impact economic development efforts.  This initial planning effort can and should set the stage for an even bigger initiative in the future, especially involving private sector interests who need to embrace and support the value of this type of initiative as essential to their economic success.

This planning initiative is voluntary and not mandated by any legislation or executive order issued by the Governor or anyone else.  Our success will be determined by an openness to listen, learn and consider doing economic development differently than in the past.  The stage is being set for a high profile, public process that results in greater service delivery efficiencies, a better trained work force and new entrepreneurial efforts.




Measurements of Success
Balanced Representation of Sectors All Sectors Represented Proportionately
Ratio of Grant Funding Raised to Prosperity Grant Focus Effort in 2015. Current Pledge $5,000
Number of People Involved 500 +
Creation of Ongoing Communications Program Communications Plan
Hours Participants Send Working Together Approx. 100+
Jointly Supporting Each Other's Grant Efforts Assisting with Other Issues ie: Michigan Works
Potential Meetings with Surrounding Councils Met with All Regions 7/29/2014
Number of Endorsements by Regional Partners of 5-Year Plan Oct. 10, 2014 - Endorsed by All Partners
Development of Potential List to Benchmark Region  
Successful Development and Potential Implementation of 5 Prosperity Projects Completed Oct. 10, 2014
Creation of Interest to Continue Prosperity Initiative Work Into the Future All Members are Interested in Continuing. Possibly Adding Non-Profit Foundation
Completion of the Grant Requirements Completed


Agendas & Minutes
9/26/14 - 1st General Session Meeting 5/3rd Ball Park - 125 people attend  
1/14/14 - Muskegon; 22 people attend
Agenda - Minutes
1/28/14 - Holland; Plan Subcommittee
2/27/14 - Grand Rapids; 25 people attend

Agenda - Minutes

3/17/14 - 2nd General Session Meeting - Grand Rapids; Amway Ballroom - 200 people attend
4/30/14 - Big Rapids; 20 people attend
5/29/14 - 2nd Regional Meeting; Ludington - 75 people attend - Handouts
6/6/14 - GVSU Grand Rapids w Gov. Snyder; 205 people attend
Agenda - Minutes
7/29/14 - St. Joseph - All RPI Recipient Regions - Michigan Association of Regions
Agenda - Minutes
7/31/14 - Holland - 17 people attend - Handouts
8/5/14 - Grand Rapids; 6 people attend - General Session Planning
8/18/14 - Muskegon - 35 people attend
9/25/14 - Grand Rapids - General Session Planning
Agenda - Minutes
10/10/14 - Steering Committee Meeting
Agenda - Minutes
10/10/14 -3rd General Session Meeting GVSU Allendale
12/9/14 - Executive Committee Meeting
Agenda - Minutes
1/29/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
2/19/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
3/2-3/15 - Education & Economic Summit
Agenda - Minutes
4/28/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
6/22/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
Agenda - Minutes
7/22/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
9/30/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
11/4/15 - Steering Committee Meeting
2/15/16 - Steering Committee Meeting
4/18/16 - Steering Committee Meeting - Strategic Planning - WMSRDC Offices - Noon
5/16/16 - Steering Committee Meeting
6/20/16 - Steering Committee Meeting - Harbor View Marina, Ludington - Noon
8/15/16 - Steering Committee Meeting - Herman Miller Design Center 2:00 p.m.
9/19/16 - Executive Committee Meeting - GVMC Offices 2:00 p.m.
10/3/16 - Public Engagement and Grant Awards Meeting - 9:00 a.m. - L. William Seidman Center, GVSU Agenda - Presentation & Results
10/11/16 - Executive Committee Meeting - GVMC Offices
Agenda - Minutes
10/17/16 - Steering Committee Meeting - GVMC Offices
11/21/16 - Executive Committee Meeting - GVMC Offices
3/20/17 - Executive Committee Meeting - GVMC Offices
4/17/17 - Steering Committee Meeting
5/11/17 - Executive Committee Meeting
Agenda - Minutes
8/25/17 - Steering Committee Meeting - Muskegon
10/16/17 - Steering Committee Meeting - Muskegon


Other Documents
News Articles
GVMC Weekly Updates
RPI 2015 Phase II Application - Submitted 10/29/14 Phase II Partnering Organizations' Letters of Support    
Complete Project List State of Michigan RPI Website M-Live 8/18/13 Weekly Update 10/4/13

Projects Presented Oct 10

Project Ranking

RPI Steering Committee GR Business Journal 10/11/13 Weekly Update 12/19/13

Regional Prosperity 5-Year Plan

Appendix A

Grant Application - Phase I Fremont Times 1/29/14 Weekly Update 1/9/14
RPI General Session Presentation 10/10/14 Letters of Support - Summary, I, II, III Ludington Daily News 5/30/14 Weekly Update 1/24/14
Prosperity Alliance General Session Save the Date! MI Biz 9/14 Weekly Update 3/7/14
Regional Prosperity Presentation 3/14     Weekly Update 3/22/14
Communications Plan     Weekly Update 6/06/14
Grant Funding Awarded to Projects 2/2015     Weekly Update 8/25/14
Invitation to Region 4 Sessions at Governor's March 2015 Education & Economic Summit  

News Reports on Port of Muskegon Project


Daily Journal, Elkhart Truth, MLive, WZZM 13, Grand Rapids Business Journal


Weekly Update 10/17/14

Weekly Update 3/27/2015



Ludington Daily News 6/2015

Cooperation, Shared Interest

Weekly Update 6/26/2015

Weekly Update 12/4/2015

      Weekly Update 2/19/2016
2016 Regional Prosperity Grant Application 2016 Cover Letter & Letters of Support   Weekly Update 8/26/2016
2016 Regional Prosperity Project Voting Meeting Results     Weekly Update 10/6/2016
2017 Regional Prosperity Grant Application 2017 Resolution & Letters of Support   Weekly Update 10/14/2016

2018 Regional Prosperity Grant Application

2018 Resolution & Letters of Support    










Grand Valley Metropolitan Council
678 Front St NW, Suite 200 • Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504.
Phone: (616) 77-METRO (776-3876)• Fax: (616) 774-9292