This February it will have been 5 years since Dan Banta and I started GRAPE. From the outset, GRAPE’s primary focus has been to provide quality daytime speaker events. And we continue to promote small group ideas as well (ie the leads group). However, now that GRAPE has reached 4000 members its time to take to the next logical step. That is, to become more of a community resource.
Accordingly, GRAPE is moving to seek formal non-profit status as a 501c(3).  Helping me navigate this long and lengthy process is Jeshua Lauka and Curtis Burdette.  And as part of this process, we’ll be sending out formal applications for board membership in a few weeks.

For now, Thomas Furmato  of Idea Dots will continue to help me videotape speaker presentations for our YouTube channel.  Curtis Burdette is now putting together a professional quality newsletter for our members. And we have tentative plans to try interview-podcasting with Max Friar as host. And me, I’ll be in charge of the blog.  GRAPE’s mission remains the same, to foster learning, collaboration, and social networking for local business professionals.

Speaking of which, we have two exciting events coming up. On Thurs February 20, GRAPE will be hosting as its speaker Dan Gaydou, President of MLive Media Group. This event (tickets here) will be lunch-catered at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation from 11:30-1:00pm.  And on Tues evening Feb 11, we’ll be hosting Shawn Miller, well-known entrepreneur, as speaker at The WareHaus in Holland (give a Like!). Reserve your ticket here.

Finally, in order to help move GRAPE in the right direction, we’ll be sending out an 8-question survey to members shortly. Please take a few minutes to provide us with some feedback.

I’m very optimistic about GRAPE’s future. Our membership has grown 45% for each of the past three years and I expect it to grow the same rate this year. With becoming a non-profit and continued growth, we’ll be able to offer even greater benefits to members in the future.