Since he started The Wege Foundation in 1967, Peter Wege has always advocated collaboration. He knows the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and he’s seen the synergy created when several partners work together for a common cause. The most recent example of Peter Wege’s style of doing business is called Green Grand Rapids, a collaborative effort to map out the future of the city’s parks, playgrounds, trails, trees, sidewalks, storm-water facilities, and green space. The collaborative goal is to expand recreation, improve public health, and extend the city’s green spaces rather than its parking lots.
For the next 18 months, this $583,000 project will solicit community input through meetings and online forums. The Community Media Center will oversee the discussions on what citizens want in their city’s outdoor living space. The funding partners include the Grand Rapids City Commission, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Wege, Frey, Dyer-Ives, and Grand Rapids Community Foundations.
Peter Wege has always cherished and supported the city of Grand Rapids where he was born and where his father started Metal Office Furniture in 1912. Recognizing that the surrounding suburbs are directly affected by the health of the inner city, Peter’s history of investing in downtown Grand Rapids is long and generous.
When Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell set up a Community Sustainability Partnership for a green city, Peter Wege was the first person the mayor came to. The Wege Foundation jumped in by supporting the Sustainability campaign with $100,000 a year for three years. Last summer when Grand Rapids could not afford to maintain the city’s pools, The Wege Foundation donated $50,000 so the city’s children had a place to swim.
Green Grand Rapids is far from the first good cause in the city The Wege Foundation has given to. And it’s likely not his last either!