About Bridges of Hope, Allegan County

Bridges of Hope HistoryBridges of Hope, Allegan County is a grassroots initiative that grew out of Good Hands Plainwell, which provides nutritious food for Plainwell school children who are in need of assistance. Some of the individuals working on the Good Hands Plainwell project noticed the need to address additional issues for people living in poverty. In 2011, they began meeting with other concerned community members and spent 2 ½ years investigating available models for helping people move out of poverty, not just live in poverty. With the help of over 40 volunteers (and counting) that have provided transportation, food preparation, childcare, workshop facilitation, time on the Board of Directors, and more, the rest is history…


  • Incorporated by the State of Michigan in March
  • Founding Board Members: Gail Hill, President; Nancy Heilig, Vice-President; Kim Shafer, Treasurer; Claire Milne, Secretary; Pastor Kari Fast; Karen Koehn; Tom McAffee; Donna Gorton; Lexanne Mastenbrook
  • Granted 501(c)3 status by the Internal Revenue Service in August
  • Offered our Summer Enrichment Program
  • Collaborated with Community Action of Allegan County (CAAC) to offer a pilot Getting Ahead workshop in the fall (funded by a cooperative grant between CAAC and Bridges of Hope, Allegan County for short-term funding through Allegan County United Way)
  • Received the Charles and Betsy Hill Donor Advised Grant and the United Methodist Church Kalamazoo District Emerging Ministry Grant


  • Offered our Summer Enrichment Program
  • Sent two representatives to the National Poverty Conference to network and gain more knowledge from the plethora of information provided about the Bridges model in October
  • Trained five Getting Ahead Facilitators and offered two Getting Ahead workshops
  • Trained a Bridges out of Poverty Facilitator
  • Hosted four Staying Ahead gatherings
  • Received the Rural Partners Grant, the United Way Short-Term Matching Grant, the ACCF Legacy Grant, and the ACCF TAG Grant


  • Hired a part-time Administrative Assistant in February
  • Worked with a social work intern from Western Michigan University February through June
  • Offered the Bridges out of Poverty workshop in April and October
  • Began our Housing Help Program in May
  • Offered our Summer Enrichment Program
  • Moved into our new office space at 108 E Grant Street, Plainwell, MI 49080 in August (provided rent-free as a donation by Deborah Clark of Clearwater Financial)
  • Offered three Getting Ahead workshops
  • Began an R Rules workshop, which carried into 2017
  • Hosted numerous Staying Ahead gatherings
  • Trained one R Rules Facilitator
  • Trained two Getting Ahead Facilitators
  • Became a United Way Partner Agency in December
  • Received the ACCF Legacy Grant, the ACCF TAG Grant, the ACCF Senior TAG Grant, the Delano Foundation Grant, the UMC Kalamazoo District Ministry Grant, the United Methodist Unified Grant, the ELCA SW Michigan Synod Grant, the Walmart Foundation Grant and funding from the Anna R Pipp Endowment and Women Who Care


  • Continued the R Rules workshop started in 2016, as well as another in Fall, 2017
  • Offered 3 Getting Ahead workshops
  • Received the UMC Kalamazoo District Ministry Grant, United Methodist Unified Grant, Delano Foundation Grant, ACCF TAG Grant, ACCF Legacy Grant, and a Perrigo Company Grant
  • Received quarterly gift cards from Meijer Corporation
  • Offered a Bridges out of Poverty workshop for community leaders
  • Offered 10 Staying Ahead activities


  • Offered a Spring Getting Ahead workshop in Plainwell
  • Continued to offer regular Staying Ahead meetings
  • Received the Anna R. Pipp Endowment Grant, ACCF Legacy Grant, Walmart Foundation Grant, and UMC Grant, Women Who Care Grant
  • Obtained Better Business Bureau (BBB) status

990-N Archives

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Workshop starting February 18. Email us at bridgesofhopeallegancounty @gmail.com to register.



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Category: Bridges out of PovertyN/A: Building the Bridge begins

N/A: Building the Bridge begins
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