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Accepting Applications: Local org seeking community members to co-create equitable outcomes for city

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Public Agency at WMCAT opens two-week application process beginning August 24, 2020 for ‘Community Catalyst’ program; in-depth approach to examine and influence the systems in our city that affect us all.



Public Agency at WMCAT teaches the methods and mindsets of equity-centered design to transform the way teams communicate, innovate, serve, and lead. Our methods are grounded in human-centered design, a problem-solving process that has roots in the design field. It’s a tool that has long helped people understand and solve complex problems, keeping people at the center. When embedded with equity principles, we believe it’s capable of community transformation. Utilize Equity-Centered Design to overcome challenges without known solutions within teams and institutions by reimagining processes, programs, and systems. Learn the focus, mindsets, and methods for building a new reality. 


Created by West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT), Public Agency at WMCAT is a consultancy embedded within the Grand Rapids-based non-profit. They use equity-centered design to help organizations foster a culture of equity, action and innovation. Public Agency’s trained professional facilitators teach the methods and mindsets of equity-centered design to transform the way teams communicate, innovate, serve and lead. Learn more at



Public Agency at WMCAT, an equity-centered design consultancy and social enterprise that is embedded in Grand Rapids-based nonprofit West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, officially opened the application process on August 24, 2020, seeking a new cohort for its tuition-free Community Catalyst program. The program is looking to engage a diverse cross-section of 8 community members who bring different lived experiences to co-create equitable outcomes for Grand Rapids. The application process is open from Monday, August 24, 2020 - Monday, September 7, 2020 and interested applicants can apply here.

Grand Rapids has been simultaneously ranked as one of the top places to live, and one of the worst places to be a person of color. The reasons for this are numerous and stretch across interlocking systems such as economic development, housing, education, and criminal justice. The Community Catalysts program was created as an innovative response to these and other community inequities. 

“The [Community Catalysts] program equips individuals with tools and knowledge to innovate on a systems-level while working with organizations and businesses that are committed to co-creating equity-centered policies and programs that impact our city,” explained Brandy Arnold, program manager at Public Agency at WMCAT.This type of collaboration is critical if we want equitable outcomes prioritized when solving complex issues in our communities.”

Program participants learn through a curriculum built around equity-centered design, leadership and collaboration, and systems awareness. By the end of the program participants will:

  • Understand the basic processes and tools of Equity-Centered Design

  • Develop their capacity to lead across difference 

  • Better understand the impact of interlocking systems that shape our region and their situatedness within those systems

  • Apply their learnings in real-time through a community challenge with a local partner

Following the program, Catalysts will have access to contracted, paid work opportunities, such as community listening facilitation and project coaching, through Public Agency at WMCAT. 

The program will begin on October 8, 2020, and include seven program days from 8:00am - 5:00pm with the final day on November 20, 2020. All program days will be in-person at WMCAT which follows strict health and safety guidelines for COVID-19. The program will be moved online if a shut-down is ordered. More details regarding which days the program will be held on can be found on the application form here

Recognizing there is leadership in every community, Public Agency at WMCAT is seeking applicants of all backgrounds and lived experiences. If applicants move on to the next round, they will be asked to interview with the staff. From there, finalists will be chosen and notified by the end of September.

Public Agency at WMCAT facilitates professional, tailored workshops, training, coaching sessions and leadership development with clients locally and globally. Using equity-centered design, Public Agency at WMCAT helps clients foster a culture of equity, action and innovation.  

Most recently, WMCAT acquired rights to a highly-regarded anti-racism assessment and Public Agency will use the tenets of this assessment for a newly re-designed application that will work in conjunction with their current services. They are currently scheduling initial conversations with potential clients to begin services in 2021. More information on the new anti-racism process can be found here


Find the application at under "Community Catalysts" and apply by September 7, 2020!


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