Meet Our Team
Amplify GR has a small, but dedicated team that is passionate about increasing opportunities for everyone in the neighborhoods we serve. Get to know our team!
Kim Duncan is Amplify GR’s Administrative Assistant. A lifelong Grand Rapidian, Kim joined the team because she is passionate about serving the community. As the organization’s administrative assistant, Kim greets all guests who stop by the office and is the friendly and helpful voice on the other line when someone calls for more information.
Kim is an active volunteer with Oakdale Neighbors and is passionate about helping youth achieve their fullest potential.
Kim is an avid baker and enjoys advocating for and educating people about the benefits of essential oils.
As the Operations Coordinator for Amplify GR, Bethany Underwood is the behind-the-scenes rock star that keeps everything running smoothly. Bethany has an extensive background in project coordination and community engagement, having held past roles as an executive assistant and volunteer archivist. Her career has taken her to cities across the U.S., including Oakland, CA and Indianapolis, IN, but as a Detroit-native, she settled back into the Mitten state full-time in 2015. In 2017, she started her role as the operations coordinator at Amplify GR. Bethany is proud to come to work each day to widen education and career pathways for all neighborhood residents, while supporting initiatives committed to business development and growth.
In Bethany’s spare time, she winds down with a good book and practices yoga.
Bethany owns a small business and keeps herself busy designing greeting cards and gift baskets.
With more than two decades of experience in social work and education, Ashanti Bryant joined Amplify GR in June of 2018 to serve as the organization’s Education Director. In his role, he coordinates all partnership efforts with community schools and is leading the charge to increase community access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities. Ashanti acts as a liaison to Amplify GR’s neighborhood schools and collaborates with other nonprofit organizations and government officials to develop, fund and leverage new educational initiatives in support of student achievement in community schools. Ashanti also heads Amplify GR’s education program Scholar Strong, an initiative supporting the community’s children and school teachers.
A native Detroiter and Grand Rapids resident since 2006, Ashanti is passionate about investing in Michigan schools. He is proud of Amplify GR’s commitment to working with residents, partners and local schools to create stronger neighborhoods for future generations. Ashanti is thankful for the opportunity to work with local residents, teachers and community members toward a common vision for children and families. Outside of work, Ashanti enjoys writing, dancing and making memories with his family and friends.
As a self-proclaimed movie connoisseur, Ashanti spends his free time reviewing new film from any genre.
A Grand Rapids native, Jon Ippel serves as the Executive Director of Amplify GR. Jon comes to the organization with 15 years of community development experience. Prior to joining Amplify GR, he worked in local government in the areas of city administration, sustainability and community development. Jon feels passionately about the momentum in our city and is committed to ensuring more residents in our community benefit from community growth through a holistic approach focusing on education, housing, jobs and entrepreneurship, and community wellbeing.
Jon is proud of the partnerships Amplify GR has formed with neighbors, nonprofits and local businesses alike. These relationships afford Amplify GR the opportunity to provide additional resources to both residents and businesses in the community.
Outside of work, Jon enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and two kids.
Jon is a foodie and is always looking for and trying out new restaurants in Grand Rapids – especially those in the 49507 community.
Engagement & Relationships Manager
Latesha Lipscomb is a Grand Rapids native who has a passion for working to better the lives of the underprivileged in the city’s urban core. Latesha previously served as the Community Engagement Project Manager, facilitating the Heartside Quality of Life Study for the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department. The Quality of Life Study was a multi-layered process intended to foster neighbor participation and involvement to positively impact experiences through urban planning and design, with the overarching goal of producing increased equitable outcomes for all. Latesha focused on lifting resident voice, building leadership capacity in the neighborhood, and empowering the community to recognize that they are the change they have been waiting for. Latesha also held past roles with organizations such as the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and the Inner City Christian Federation, where she tirelessly advocated for those with quieter or muted voices in the city’s most vulnerable communities.
Latesha is a graduate of Boston College where she studied Political Science and maintained a focus study in Faith, Peace & Justice. She studied American Government and Public Speaking through Junior Statesmen of America at Yale University and went on to graduate from Boston College Law School in 2005. Ms. Lipscomb adheres to the Jesuit ideal of “service to all mankind” and describes Community Engagement as her “purpose driven life”. You can also find Ms. Lipscomb serving on several local boards and committees like the Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Goal 2 Alliance, the Mayors Census 2020 Complete Count Committee, the Great Start Collaborative Parent Coalition, and the DGRI Downtown Neighbor Network. Through these assorted collaborations with local groups, Latesha’s body of work is a shining example what authentic community partnership looks like and what everyday people can achieve when supported by a champion.
Latesha loves to curate experiences for audiences and takes pride in hosting events that are empowering and uplifting for women in transition and teen girls. Latesha is girl power in the flesh and firmly believes that the future is female!
Retired, Osterink Construction
Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation
HourGlass Testing Solutions/WMCAT
Father Jose Quintana
Shrine of St. Francis Xavier & Our Lady of Guadalupe Church