A note from WMCAT’s president and CEO that originally published in the Spring 2021 newsletter.

Welcomed. It’s what I felt when I started working at WMCAT in 2015. And it’s what I’ve felt immensely since I moved into the role of President and CEO earlier this year. You, our WMCAT donors and friends, have made me feel welcome; you’ve celebrated my work; and you’ve shared your support and encouragement. Thank you.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about our community. I am from, and of, Grand Rapids. I grew up in the 49507 zip code, and it is where we raise our daughters. This is my city, but I also acknowledge that Grand Rapids has carried the legacy of willful and intentional racism, discrimination and ‘othering’ more than many other cities. We are a community that is reckoning with our history of systemic discrimination, engaging in conversations about how we move forward without leaving our people behind. I am proud that WMCAT is a part of that work, and that your support propels it forward. 

WMCAT is committed to pursuing equitable outcomes. And to me that’s personal. Our Teen Arts + Tech Program is engaging teens that walk the high school halls I once walked. WMCAT’s Adult Career Training is helping families, like the one I grew up in, move toward economic security through meaningful employment. Our Step Year program provides a space for young adults with big ideas to find their unique post-secondary pathway. 

If you’re wondering how you can support me in this new role, the response is simple: support WMCAT. Make a donation at wmcat.org/donate, send someone looking for a career to our website to learn about tuition-free training, or tell a young person about our studios in art and digital media. I am grateful to be on this journey with you.

Jamon Alexander

President + CEO