News & Blog: Community


Latesha Lipscomb is receiving the Literacy Center's 2022 Ledy Award for Community Engagement [sponsored by Fifth Third Bank] at our Spellebration event on March 23, 2022. 

Latesha Lipscomb is a Grand Rapids change agent. As a community activist, entrepreneur, public speaker, and mother, Latesha has made it her mission to build bridges and create inclusive, welcoming environments in her hometown.

After earning both a BA and a law degree from Boston College, Latesha returned to Grand Rapids to put her strong analytical and advocacy skills to work with organizations such as Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, ICCF, and Family Futures. In 2017, she was hired by the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department to facilitate the Heartside Quality of Life Study,3_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy.png serving as an important advocate for those in our city’s most vulnerable communities.

Since 2019, Latesha has been doing community-building work within larger Boston Square neighborhood as the Director of Engagement at Amplify GR, an organization dedicated to ensuring residents can participate and benefit from neighborhood growth in Grand Rapids’ 49507 neighborhoods. “Latesha’s ability to cultivate relationships, break down barriers, and align common understanding is unparalleled,” shared Jon Ippel, Amplify GR’s Executive Director. “At AGR we serve to create the conditions of bringing people together for the purposes of innovating ideas and connecting resources. And Latesha has a tremendous passion and talent for creating the conditions and wisdom to both advocate for the neighbors we serve and create meaningful experiences to bring together new coalitions.”

Christy Knetsch, Executive Director of New City Kids, recognizes Latesha’s ability to bring people together. “Latesha consistently finds ways to authentically celebrate people in our community, ensuring that others feel seen and valued, regardless of their status.” Christy goes on to echo exactly why the Literacy Center selected Latesha for this year’s Ledy Award for Community Engagement: “from Heartside to Boston Square, residents have seen the pathways that lead to prosperity grow wider and more welcoming because of Latesha’s steadfast commitment.”

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