Amplify GR launches new Scholar Strong program with three SE Grand Rapids schools

Amplify GR launches new Scholar Strong program with three SE Grand Rapids schools

Scholar Strong offers funding for STEAM, literacy, college and career readiness, and
leadership development programming

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 2019) –Amplify GR, a local nonprofit, recently partnered with three Southeast Grand Rapids schools to introduce Scholar Strong – a mini-grant program designed to support our community’s students by encouraging teachers and staff to develop and implement innovative and experiential instructional projects that motivate and challenge students to learn and achieve. The three area schools include: Dickinson School, Hope Academy of West Michigan and River City Scholars Academy.

Under this program, more than 20 teachers from the three area schools have received grant funding for learning experiences revolving around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), literacy, college and career readiness, and leadership development. Scholar Strong mini-grants allow teachers to apply for up to $500 in funding from Amplify GR for classroom projects and learning activities.

“Our youth are vital to the future of our city, and with adequate opportunity and investment, they demonstrate strong potential and can contribute to their own communities,” said Amplify GR education director, Ashanti Bryant. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with local and national organizations to provide resources to the next generation, and we look forward to expanding our relationships with community schools and organizations for the 2019-20 academic year.”

The Scholar Strong program also seeks to assist teachers by providing resources that reduce the financial burden many feel by having to purchase supplies for their classrooms. According to a national survey, 94 percent of traditional public school and 88 percent of charter school teachers have paid for classroom supplies out -of-pocket due to budget shortfalls.

“The Scholar Strong mini-grants gave our staff the opportunity to finance projects we’ve dreamed of implementing but didn’t have funding for previously,” said Dickinson Elementary School teacher Heather Quamme. “Through the grants, we’ve provided our students with a wide variety of experiences that will further enrich their lives.”

Scholar Strong grants have funded classroom activities such as a STEAM workshop, student-led community gardens, and off-site learning experiences, including a prey and predator simulation at Blandford Nature Center and visits to the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

“We appreciate the Scholar Strong grants because we are able to provide additional opportunities and experiences for our students,” said River City Scholars Principal Holly Hilary. “We hope other organizations will join Amplify GR in this wonderful initiative providing vital support to our students and teachers. By working together as a community, we can have a tremendous impact on the future of our children.”

In addition to supporting community schools through the Scholar Strong program, Amplify GR recently partnered with the World Literacy Foundation to provide local elementary students up to five books to take home on World Book Day. This summer, the organization is rolling out additional education-based programming in conjunction with community partners to help reduce summer learning loss.

To learn more about the Scholar Strong, visit

Elise Pelletier