Think about this: providing enough meat to make more than half a million meals for people in need. That's over 100,000 pounds of meat, and much of it is venison.

That's the remarkable result of of Tom Cullimore's work through his effort called HOPE: Help Other People Eat. 

The Next Idea

Parents of children on the autism spectrum face significant challenges in getting the right education, support and other life tools for their kids. But the difficulties don’t go away when these kids grow up. Can they live alone, support themselves, be a part of society? And what happens when their adult caregivers age out of watching over them?


The mistrust and misconceptions between police and the minority communities they serve can run both ways.

That's why the Michigan State University Police Department is hosting a communication session bringing together community leaders and citizens with police officers from all over mid-Michigan. 

The Next Idea

One proven way to give local businesses a boost is by grouping them together and building a brand. Think Detroit’s Greektown or Corktown, or Little Italy and Chinatown in other cities.

Jamiel Robinson is working to make that happen for black-owned businesses in Grand Rapids.

Robinson is founder and curator of the group Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

The Next Idea

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and went to school where most of the kids looked like me. During the Jewish holidays, teachers didn't assign work because so many of us were absent. There might have been five or six African-American kids in my high school, and no one wore a hijab in public.

I’ve always been curious about the way other people live. My journey as a journalist and author and writing professor has taken me to find common ground in people different from me. I visited a mosque, attended a candlelight service in a Catholic church in Ireland, and spent a plane ride to Israel having a deep, powerful conversation with a Palestinian man going to see his family. As I developed my writing craft, I continued to seek out stories that showed the similarities in people, the beliefs we share, and the customs we have in common.

Community members gather to hear free music from the new street piano in Traverse City.
Cheyenne Herron

A brightly colored piano was unveiled in Traverse City on Thursday evening. 

It sits in the middle of a new gathering space near the intersection of Front and Park Streets downtown. About 50 people of all ages stopped by to enjoy the warm evening and some free music.  

From left: Richard (Kyle Carter) Vickie (Macie Goodspeed) Janet (Madi Shank)
Joann Muma

Friday is the opening night of The Manistee Civic Players’ stage rendition of 1970s hit television show Free to Be… You and Me. Kate Botello sat down to talk with the director of the production, Connar Klock. He lives in Kalamazoo, but he’s originally from the Manistee area and was asked to come back to direct this show about gender neutrality and social constructs. Behind the bouncy and upbeat music, Free to Be… You and Me addresses serious themes that are still relevant today. 


Sue Schooner has never taken a social work class, nor has she ever had children. But that didn’t stop her from creating and leading Girls Group, an organization that empowers young women to complete high school and be the first college graduate in their families.

The creation of Girls Group led to a change of heart for Schnooner.

Jay Allison is an award-winning independent broadcast journalist. He produces 'The Moth Radio Hour.'

Imagine several raconteurs relaxing on a front porch swapping true tales on a warm summer night in Georgia. There's probably plenty of iced tea, maybe a few cans of beer, and the occasional fluttering of a moth's wings can be heard as it flies to the cozy glow of the porch light.

Those laid-back, informal gatherings eventually gave rise to The Moth storytelling events, which are now held around the world. The format remains simple — live stories told by everyday people without notes. The show stops in Traverse City on Friday night at the City Opera House.

The Next Idea 

There was an article in the Detroit Free Press last month about a family’s efforts to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign. The goal was to fix up a decaying home so that their mentally disabled relative didn’t have to move into a nursing home. As the article pointed out, the family asked the public for help, “and much of the public reacted with outrage.”

This hurts my heart. As someone who’s been working for the last five-plus years on building a non-profit in Detroit, I have seen firsthand how reluctant – even afraid – we are to help people here.


Peaceful protests continued through the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer Friday night.

It's the latest conflict between police and the communities they protect.

Can a brightly decorated bench make a downtown area more attractive?

A group of artists in Lapeer, Michigan says absolutely!

Artist Jim Alt belongs to the group. He has launched something he calls The Bench Warming Project in downtown Lapeer.

Alt says the goal of the project is to give downtown a collection of public artwork that hopefully could help bring people back to the community. 

He set a fundraising goal of $1,000 on  So far, the project has raised more than $2,100.

Alt and his team of artists have finished 4 benches, and they expect to have a total of 21 benches done by next week or so.

*Listen to the full story above.