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Guiding Light Receives $20,000 Grant from SpartanNash Foundation

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For the third consecutive year, Guiding Light has received a $20,000 grant from the SpartanNash Foundation, which has provided a total of $70,000 to the nonprofit since 2016.

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About Guiding Light 

Founded in 1929 as the West Fulton St. Mission, Guiding Light has grown into a robust recovery and re-engagement community designed to help those living at society’s margins fulfill their God-given potential. The nonprofit has been building on a near century of compassion and celebrated 90 years of serving Grand Rapids in 2019. Through its Back to Work, Recovery and Iron House programs, Guiding Light works with men struggling with addiction and homelessness to return to society. Since 2017, Guiding Light has earned a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, which underscores our commitment to accountability and transparency. For more information, visit

About the SpartanNash Foundation

The SpartanNash Foundation was formed in 2015 and is the charitable giving arm of SpartanNash. It is focused on providing financial support to nonprofit partners who align with its mission to end hunger, provide shelter and support our military heroes. With a combined total legacy of more than 100 years, the SpartanNash Foundation represents the best of its predecessors, the NFC Foundation and the Spartan Stores Foundation. The SpartanNash Foundation is a Michigan nonprofit corporation and is tax exempt under IRC 501(c)3. It is a non-operating private foundation. To learn more about the SpartanNash Foundation, visit

Guiding Light today announced it received a $20,000 grant from the SpartanNash Foundation that will help support the nonprofit’s Back to Work program.  

This is the third consecutive year Guiding Light has received a $20,000 grant from the SpartanNash Foundation, which has provided a total of $70,000 to the nonprofit since 2016. Back to Work provides a short-term stay for men who are experiencing homeless and seeking full-time employment, along with support for their job searches. 

“We are so grateful for the SpartanNash Foundation’s continued support of our organization and our work,” said Stuart P. Ray, Guiding Light’s executive director. “This grant will allow us to continue to support men who face significant barriers to finding and keeping full-time work, including debt, lack of housing, lack of transportation and other challenges.”

Men in the program are able to work and save money while they pay down debt and rebuild credit histories before they look for more permanent housing. They are given shelter, meals and all the tools and resources needed to safely find a job, including access to computers for job research and creating resumes, job coaching, life skill courses, budgeting guidance and other essentials for success. 

During 2019, 336 men went through the Back to Work program. When they arrived at Guiding Light, the average debt per man, not including child support, was $10,127.

The SpartanNash Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SpartanNash, the nation’s fifth largest food distributor and a leading distributor of grocery products to military commissaries around the world. Their local West Michigan grocery stores include Fare, D&W Fresh Market, Ada Fresh Market and Forest Hills Foods. The SpartanNash Foundation is focused on providing grants to nonprofit community partners to provide hunger relief, secure shelter and support our military heroes. The Foundation is funded by the company, with contributions from its family of associates.  

“Guiding Light’s Back to Work program is transforming the lives of West Michigan men in powerful and sustainable ways,” said Meredith Gremel, SpartanNash vice president of corporate affairs and communications and executive director of the SpartanNash Foundation. “By creating a stable environment and providing training, counseling, and pathways to employment; the Back to Work program is breaking a cycle of failure and rebuilding lives. We are grateful for the opportunity to support their vital mission.” 

As part of the Back to Work program, Guiding Light also provides a safe place for the men to live, along with their meals, for the first four months as well as financial support for first month’s rent and deposits after they transition to an independent apartment or house.

To learn more ways to support Guiding Light’s Back to Work and other programs, visit or contact Development Director Starla McDermott at [email protected] to make a donation. 

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