Club Updates

We are looking for volunteers to coordinate bleacher seating for the Tulip Time Parades and to help with running our Leaders for the 21st Century program. Contact Ed Swart if you are interested.
Russ Miller reported that we have a good number of students who have submitted their application to the Hope College Rotaract Club. We also have some Alumni who live in the area and will be active in the leadership. Way to go Russ!
We continue to look for housing for the Afghan refugee family being sponsored by our club, Holland After Hours Rotary Club, and Central Park Reformed Church.
Kathy DeVries was elected President Elect Nominee and is expected to server as our president for the 2023-24 Rotary Year. Thanks, Kathy, for your willingness to serve.

Ottawa County Department of Strategic Impact

Paul Sachs, Ottawa County Director of Strategic Impact, was our speaker. He described the county "Gateways for Growth" (G4G) program. The department works on planning programs that will ensure the quality of life and economic development in Ottawa County.
Ottawa County was incorporated in 1837 and has been the fastest growing county in the state for a number of years. The population increase between 2010 and 2020 was 12.3% or 32,339 new citizens. Our county population is currently just under 300,000. About 1% of that increase was due to immigration. About 5% of residents in Ottawa County are foreign born.
The G4G program looks for ways to foster inclusiveness in the county and receives funding from 2 non-profit groups, New American Economy and Welcoming America. The benefits of welcoming immigrants are great since 1 in 5 entrepreneurs are foreign born and in 2019 there were 700 new or preserved jobs due to immigrants. Nationally 44% of the Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants.
The initial focus of the county was to collect detailed statistics that could be used to identify and develop needed assistance. The data pointed to the following areas of focus: healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, construction and IT. The data has been supplemented by personal stories from county residents. This research is now available to the county for developing strategies.