Entering month three of our region’s response to COVID-19, we see the fragility of economic stability and the frayed ties of emotional health. But we also see the immense strength of the fabric that binds a community together. 

Who are your people? WMCAT holds up social capital as foundational to our work with families. Social capital is our networks; it is who we turn to for answers, to grow professionally and to find meaning personally. It is the weave that binds together personal, family and community prosperity. 

Being a part of our students’ social capital is one of the most meaningful roles WMCAT can play in building community. This week I’d like to spotlight two tangible ways the WMCAT team is leveraging social capital for family and community prosperity. And how you can take action to join us. 

Emergency Fund for WMCAT Families

With gratitude to the Kent County Coronavirus Relief Fund, Consumers Energy, and WMCAT donors, we created a fund to help our families with immediate needs. WMCAT contacted all of our students for conversations around support.

At this time we have addressed more than 30 requests from families who need assistance with rent, utilities or car repairs as they await the return of employment and/or relief from government stimulus. WMCAT will continue to be a part of their network of support. You can contribute to this emergency fund or support our continued work toward family prosperity today

Bound As One – Supporting Small Businesses

Social capital is important to Juan Garcia, manager of Ambrose at WMCAT, our screen printing social enterprise. As the pandemic forced the closing of businesses in his community, Juan wanted to help his neighbors.

This led to Bound As One, a project encouraging patrons of local businesses to purchase Ambrose at WMCAT’s custom-designed and hand-screen-printed t-shirts and tote bags to support their favorite neighborhood spots. With 50 percent of the proceeds of each purchase going to the featured local business, Bound As One creates an immediate impact. Shop the Bound As One collection here

Thank you for being one of the threads that binds our community together. Thank you for checking on neighbors, contributing to nonprofits like WMCAT, purchasing a t-shirt or meal to support a local business, and sharing your compassion with friends and family. 

With gratitude,

Daniel Williams
President + CEO
West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology


P.S. WMCAT’s social capital extends to the many partners who join us in providing equitable access to opportunity. Check out how a couple of WMCAT’s partners, Urban Core Collective and Public Thread, came together to help protect neighbors.