Building the Network: GRPS Alumni Association

Alumni: (noun) former students or graduates of a particular school, college or university.

The GRPS family includes thousands of alumni.  From parents to business leaders and athletes to community advocates, these alumni represent the proud history of GRPS throughout every aspect of the City of Grand Rapids.   This month, GRPS welcomes hundreds of new graduates to its alumni roster.  Some will start internships or jobs, others will continue in a technical school or college.  All will take their place in the fabric of our community.

Equally important, GRPS’ alumni are a potential network and support system for our current student body.  But the question remains, how to best engage alumni to grow and sustain the network?

Over the past year, SAF and GRPS partnered with Leadership Grand Rapids on a Community Trustee Project addressing this issue.  Leadership Grand Rapids, commonly known as LGR, is a program of the Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership.  Over nine months, around 30 community leaders explore every aspect of our city to gain a more comprehensive understanding of our community’s challenges and opportunities.  As part of the curriculum, the class participates in a Community Trustee Project, which specifically addresses a need within the nonprofit community.  Nine members of the class of 2016 tackled the question of GRPS alumni.

The LGR team delved deep.  Speaking with current and future alumni, they found that our GRPS family wants to stay connected to the school district and each other, to volunteer and support current students and to build a network for career development.  Speaking with other K-12 schools, colleges and universities, they learned that an alumni network is a critical resource for the school- as ambassadors, as volunteers and as donors.

As a result of this research, the LGR Team proposed a long-term plan to develop and implement a GRPS Alumni Association.  The vision for the GRPS Alumni Association is to create lifelong connections by engaging GRPS alumni and to provide resources to support our diverse and talented students from our family of schools.  The alumni association will seek to meet three main goals:

  • Develop a collaborative and sustainable relationship between SAF/GRPS and GRPS Alumni.
  • Create an accessible network of GRPS alumni who support our work financially, with time, and through advocacy.
  • Support a GRPS alumni network that strengthens our community through jobs, professional relationships, and opportunities to stay connected.

SAF is ready to take the next step, but we cannot do it alone!  Are you interested in helping to develop the GRPS Alumni Association?  Over the next 12 months, SAF is seeking alumni and other interested individuals to serve on an advisory team.   What do YOU want and need in an alumni association?  How can we make the alumni association easy for you to access and to use?  How can we best reach alumni to share this new resource?

Contact SAF today to join our Alumni Association Advisory team.

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