Our History

Grow & Lead: Community and Youth Development is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping rural communities build capacity in youth, adults and organization to create change in their communities. Located in Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, GLCYD uses research, consultation, and innovative program development to help youth, adults and nonprofit organizations identify opportunities to create a more sustainable and healthier youth environment. GLCYD promotes the 40 Developmental Assets developed by the Search Institute as a youth development framework. Over the years, building assets in youth has become part of a common language in the organization’s local community. In addition, a broad commitment to positive youth development has been achieved.

Grow & Lead began as a part of the Kellogg Youth Initiative Partnerships, a 20-year effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to improve the youth environment in Michigan. Marquette and Alger Counties were considered the rural remote site of this Kellogg long-term youth development effort. In 2000, the Kellogg Foundation turned the initiative over to the local community to prepare it for independence from the Kellogg Foundation and sustainability beyond Kellogg funding. The new nonprofit was called the Marquette-Alger Youth Foundation.

Prior to 2001, we provided grants and capacity building services in Marquette and Alger Counties to community-based organizations, schools, governmental units, and their extended communities for the purpose of identifying, strengthening, and sustaining the healthy development of youth. Our work has grown and evolved over the years as the needs and opportunities have changed. One major change was the decision in 2004 by the Board of Marquette-Alger Youth Foundation to expand its programs to serve the entire Upper Peninsula. With this expansion, the name was changed to Great Lakes Center for Youth Development. In 2017, the name changed again to Grow & Lead: Community and Youth Development to better reflect the organization’s capacity building nature.