The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance (WMPA) was created in 2013 when ten prosperity regions were identified and created across the state. The WMPA is also known as Region 4. The purpose of the WMPA initiative was to increase communication and collaboration as well as better coordinate and integrate investments around economic development, workforce development, and infrastructure. In Fiscal Year 2020, the RPI program was eliminated from the state budget.
Over the past eight years, the WMPA worked together to organize, build trust, and increase collaboration across the 13 county region. These efforts received recognition for providing leadership within the region and serving as a model for other regions in the state. A major focus of the WMPA’s Regional Prosperity Plan was to identify projects of regional significance. Since 2013, the WMPA received over $1,000,000 in grant dollars, helping to fund more than 16 projects of regional significance. The process of selecting projects included a call for project submission with specific evaluation criteria requirements sent out to over 1,000 agencies and individuals; review of projects to determine if requirements were met, and then public voting at regional summits. The WMPA was the first to develop a public process to share Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) funding and award projects. This public involvement process involved hundreds of people.
With the elimination of the program at the state level, the WMPA steering committee worked to define the future of this successful local initiative. The executive committee recently agreed it was time to move forward and distribute the remaining dollars to local projects/initiatives as has happened in the past. It is unlikely that future state funding is possible for this initiative.
The below projects have received the remaining funds of $200,298.80.
- West Michigan Regional Dashboard: $10,000 to support and maintain the dashboard through 2026
- Sustainable Watershed Funding Initiative: $45,000 for continued work of this initiative as the effort moves state-wide
- West Michigan Agricultural Technologies & Regional Food Systems Initiative: $100,000 to coordinate the initiative and leverage grant funding through the Economic Development Administration
- Infrastructure Asset Management Activities: $45,298.80 for continued support of integrated asset management within the region
The WMPA’s foundation of collaboration has been established and groups that want to partner and work together should continue to do so without the structure of the RPI. As a strong partner in the WMPA, WMSRDC is proud of the accomplishments, successes, and relationships established as a result of this initiative.