Published in Nonprofits
A rendering of the Women’s Resource Center’s new headquarters planned at 816 Madison Ave. SE on Grand Rapids’ southeast side. A rendering of the Women’s Resource Center’s new headquarters planned at 816 Madison Ave. SE on Grand Rapids’ southeast side. COURTESY RENDERING

Women’s Resource Center relocating to expand, make services more accessible

BY Monday, June 06, 2022 03:03pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The Women’s Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides workforce assistance for women, plans to relocate and expand its services to the city’s southeast side.

Currently located at 678 Front Ave. NW on the city’s west side, the Women’s Resource Center purchased the 6,234-square-foot building at 816 Madison Ave. SE on March 16 for $680,000, according to property records. An affiliate of nonprofit housing developer ICCF Community Homes previously owned the property.

The Women’s Resource Center plans to renovate and construct an 842-square-foot addition to the southeast corner of the building. The Grand Rapids Planning Commission will consider a special land use permit for the site plan at its Thursday meeting. 

Grand Haven-based Architektura PLC will serve as the architect for the project, and Ada-based Erhardt Construction is the contractor. Nonprofit officials hope to move into the new offices by the first quarter of 2023. 

The Women’s Resource Center focuses on helping women return to the workforce, including those re-entering from jail or prison, and provides support for low-income women struggling with housing and utilities costs. 

The center serves about 600 women on an annual basis, which the organization hopes to increase to at least 700 women with the new additional space and location, said Tatum Hawkins, director of development and communications at Women’s Resource Center.

“We just know there are more women in the community we have not been able to reach,” Hawkins said. “Because we are located in a corporate office area, we’re not as accessible to the women in our community that really need our help. Our new office will be right in the heart of the 49507 ZIP code, and on several bus lines. We are excited to join the third ward community.”

The new space also provides the Women’s Resource Center more capacity to host onsite programming such as workforce development training, expand its business center, have a child care drop-in center, and expand the nonprofit’s business boutique that provides women with professional clothing and accessories. 

“We recognize that child care is a challenge for women, so this new location will have a child drop-in center, which is not a day care, but if a woman is meeting with her career coach or participating in a workshop, she can bring her child along with her,” Hawkins explained.

The organization has planned the relocation “for a while,”  and developed a feasibility study around a capital campaign for the development, Hawkins said. Launched publicly on April 28, the Propel Campaign has raised $1.6 million of its $2 million goal. 

“The Women’s Resource Center continues to be a needed resource in our community,” Hawkins said. “The needs of women in the workforce change and they are still relevant today. We’re excited to be nimble and change with the needs of women in our community, while also being able to recognize there are a lot of women in our community that need our services and might not be aware they are available at no charge.”

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