News & Blog: Advocate Spotlights


Tommy Allen’s leadership has left its imprint throughout our community. As an artist, a writer, a content creator, a volunteer, and an activist, Tommy has made it his mission to be deeply engaged in some of the most important work in our community. 

Patti Caudill, City of Grand Rapids Diversity and Inclusion Manager, worked with Tommy during his tenure on the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission (CRC). She writes of him, “Tommy’s care and passion for this city and its residents drives everything that he does.” Patti goes on to say, “He is committed to making Grand Rapids a more equitable home for everyone.” 

Tommy’s leadership on the city’s Community Relations Commission is a powerful demonstration of this commitment to equity. As chair, Tommy helped usher through significant revisions and expansions to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance. Greatly strengthening protections against discrimination in the city, this updated ordinance was approved unanimously by the city commission in August 2019. 

Tommy understands that equity and inclusion is absolutely essential for a strong and vibrant West Michigan. As Publisher of Rapid Growth Media, he has continually expanded the voices represented in the weekly online magazine, challenging the traditional “economic development” story model by bringing unique and diverse perspectives to the conversation. 

“I’ve known Tommy for over 30 years,” writes Literacy Center Executive Director Wendy Falb. “His dedication for strengthening community goes much deeper than any job or board service. I’m so grateful for the responsibility he has taken to make our city more welcoming, more equitable, and more understood.”

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