Community SPOKE

Community SPOKE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is “to enhance the quality of life for all Ottawa County residents through a strategic, coordinated, and systemic response to human service needs.”

Background: Created in 2013 out of a partnership between the County of Ottawa and the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance and formally incorporated in 2015, this collaborative effort sought to bring together top leadership from both government and nonprofit agencies to tackle some of the greatest challenges experienced in the health and human services sector. The vision of Community SPOKE is a “a community working together to create the most effective systems for health & human services in the country, so that; all individuals can become interdependent, productive, and contributing members of the community.” Community SPOKE achieves its mission and vision through two primary activities.

Description of Activities: First, Community SPOKE utilizes data to identify the greatest needs in our community, facilitates a collaborative process involving cross-sector input (business, government, nonprofit), and works towards a shared solution and implementation strategy. The greatest value that Community SPOKE brings to the table is the ability to create a neutral space for these conversations to begin and serve as a neutral facilitator of these processes.

Second, Community SPOKE works to create the ecosystem by which true collaboration can take place in the community. The ecosystem for successful collaboration includes eleven identified objectives such as strong collaborative leadership, good data collection and sharing, aligned funding, cross-sector buy-in, and public/private partnerships to name a few. Community SPOKE implements several strategies to achieve these objectives such as having a process for onboarding new community leaders, facilitating a bi-monthly roundtable of health and human services leaders, engaging in public policy, and the sharing of best practices for designing collaborations and engaging constituents in collaborative work.


Examples of Community SPOKE’s past accomplishments include:

  1. Helped to launch the affordable housing collaborative in Ottawa County called Housing Next in 2014
  2. Facilitated the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for Ottawa County in 2015 and 2018
  3. Facilitated the strategic plan for Ottawa Food (local food collaborative) in 2015 and 2018
  4. Helped coordinate the launch of the Ottawa Pathways to Better Health program in Ottawa County in 2016 (a “community health worker” model)
  5. Coordinated the effort to help pass the first ever Mental Health Millage in Ottawa County in 2015
  6. Conducted a study into the transportation needs and desires of older adults as part of the Age-Friendly Holland/Zeeland Initiative in 2017-18

Community SPOKE Organizational Structure: Community SPOKE is comprised of two staff members, governed by a board of directors, and led by a membership of 40+ local health and human services leaders predominately representing government and nonprofit organizations.

Community SPOKE Member Organizations and Collaboratives

  • Arbor Circle
  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Call 211
  • Center for Women in Transition
  • Community Action Agency
  • Community Action House
  • Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland
  • County of Ottawa
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Evergreen Commons
  • Good Samaritan Ministries
  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
  • Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
  • Greater Ottawa County United Way
  • Great Start Collaborative
  • Housing Next
  • Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance
  • Lakeshore Housing Alliance
  • Life Circles Pace
  • Love Inc of SE Ottawa County and Grandville
  • Outdoor Discovery Center
  • Ottawa Area Intermediate School District
  • Ottawa Community Schools Network
  • Ottawa County Community Mental Health
  • Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Ottawa County Juvenile Court
  • Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department
  • Ottawa Food
  • Ready for School
  • Senior Resources of West Michigan
  • TCM Counseling
  • Truancy Collaborative of Ottawa County
  • Watershed Strategies
  • West Michigan Works

Community SPOKE Governing Board:

  • Beth Larsen, Center for Women in Transition
  •  Elizabeth Kidd, Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland
  •  Jeanette Hoyer, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
  •  John Shay, County of Ottawa
  •  Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  •  Lynne Doyle, Ottawa County Community Mental Health
  •  Patrick Moran, Greater Ottawa County United Way

Community SPOKE Staff:

  •  Patrick Cisler, Executive Director
  •  Robin Lane, Project Coordinator


Contact Us if you are interested in learning more about Community SPOKE.

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