We envision a bright, prosperous future where the dignity and human rights of all people in Kent County are actualized by people-centered systems that guarantee equitable access to opportunities, tools, networks, and resources to meet their current and emerging needs.



To advance equitable outcomes for all people in Kent County, we build relationships, foster understanding in the community, reject biased assumptions, and lead policy and process change within systems of transportation, food and nutrition, efficient energy, economic and workforce development, and housing.

Action Areas


  1. Data & Understanding
  2. Action & Advocacy
  3. Community Learning
  4. Connecting
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Governance Committee

The Governance Committee of the ENTF was formed in 2013.   Seven organizations came together to take on leadership roles and guide the ENTF.  A formal Memorandum of Understanding was created and Heart of West Michigan United Way was named the fiduciary and employer of record for the ENTF.  The seven participating organizations are:

  • Co-Chair: City of Grand Rapids - Connie Bohatch
  • Co-Chair: Kent County - Paul Petr
  • West Michigan Works! - Tawana Brown
  • City of Wyoming - Rebecca Rynbrandt
  • Heart of West Michigan United Way - Michelle VanDyke
  • Department of Health and Human Services - Tracey Fountain
  • The Salvation Army - Pilar Meyer-Dunning


Wende Randall
Director, ENTF

Emily Madsen
Data Analyst

Janelle Vandergrift
Kent County Food Policy Coordinator
616-459-6281, ext. 668

Brianne Czyzio Robach


The Kent County Essential Needs Task Force operates as the Basic Needs workgroup for KConnect. We are a collaborative partner in their efforts. To learn more about their work visit: