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( The Grand Rapids Business Journal ) Nonprofit plans Eritrean cultural center

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Friday, 09 March 2018

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Human ResourcesNonprofits, and Real Estate

Nonprofit plans Eritrean cultural center

March 9, 2018
| By Justin Dawes |

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An icon of the Eritrean flag. Photo via

A local cultural organization is requesting zoning approval for a new community center and banquet hall.

The Eritrean Cultural Community and Civic Center submitted a special land-use application for its recently purchased building in Grand Rapids, at 1555 Eastern Ave. SE.

The purpose of the nonprofit is to unite and network with members of the Eritrean culture in Kent Country, according to Teklai Zerom, president of the organization.

She said the organization is meant to help people who have immigrated from Eritrea, a country in Africa, many of whom are refugees.

The goal of the organization is to ensure those who relocate or are born here do not lose their culture and also receive the resources to live “productive and prosperous lives.”

The organization purchased the building in December for $125,000 with a loan through United Bank.

The request says the first floor is where most of the activities will take place, including learning events, gatherings and the provision of resources for those who need food, shelter, counseling or have other domestic-related issues.

The second floor will be used for small classrooms, meeting rooms and offices.

The Grand Rapids City Planning Commission’s  next meeting is at noon on March 22.


Justin Dawes

Justin Dawes is a Grand Rapids Business Journal staff reporter who covers economic development, health care, higher education, nonprofits, travel and tourism, sustainability and the lakeshore. Email Justin at jdawes at grbj dot com. Follow him on Twitter @dawes_justin

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