Our History

The Student Advancement Foundation (SAF) was created in 1993 to provide a channel for the community to contribute supplemental funds for GRPS activities and programs.  In the subsequent 10 years, it had a number of individual successes, but limited overall impact.

In 2003 we reorganized to strengthen our capabilities, focus our vision and mission, and to better respond to the changing and growing needs of our district’s students.  Since redefining as an impact organization, the SAF completed successful campaigns to provide tools and enrichment experiences students need to excel in:

  • Literacy
  • The Arts
  • Environmental Education
  • Math/Science
  • Physical Wellness

Since 1993, we've raised almost $8 million to support student achievement in Grand Rapids Public Schools.

The SAF credits its achievements to the extraordinarily generous people who live and work in this community and have a desire for our city’s public school students to thrive.  We offer a special acknowledgement to those individuals who believe all children deserve a chance to succeed and play such a vital role in making it a reality in Grand Rapids, the SAF Founding Scholars.  We are deeply grateful to each of them:

  • Peter Cook*
  • Doug and Maria DeVos
  • Rich and Helen DeVos
  • Fred and Linn Keller
  • David and Linda Mehney
  • Fred* and Lena Meijer
  • Charles and Stella Royce
  • Peter and Joan Secchia
  • Peter Wege
  • John Wheeler

*In Memoriam