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About Us

header-aboutOur Story


Our roots stem from the highly acclaimed and nationally recognized DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, a program that has been transforming the lives of urban youth ministry leaders since 1998. Graduates of the 15 month training in Grand Rapids found themselves transformed by all that they had learned, and began the work of training others.

GR Initiative for Leaders, referred to as GRIL, is a faith-based organization created by alumni of the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (DVULI). GRIL invests in emerging leaders by providing training over a nine month period using the scripturally based DVULI curriculum to help leaders expand or develop the core values of balance, accountability, empowerment, interdependence, leverage, and diversity (working towards a racism-free community). This process helps leaders plan and implement personal, professional and ministry growth more effectively with the youth and the people they serve. Our Mission is to strengthen leaders to transform communities.

Each year groups of leaders come together in one of GRIL’s programs (Adult Breakthrough and Emerge Leadership Programs, Community Leadership Trainings (CLT), GRIL U Teen Faith-Based Program, and Ambassador Programming) for nine months of intense leadership development training for personal and community impact.

GRIL’s Staff

  • Denise Fase, CEO
  • Tyreece Guyton, COO
  • Amy Westra, Adult Curriculum Coordinator
  • Marcus Thomas, Coach



The Micah center

Board of Directors

  • Rachel VerWys – Chair
  • Kenya Brown – Vice Chair
  • Rick Rivera – Secretary
  • Ben Brewer – Treasurer
  • Ciarra Adkins
  • Dave Baker
  • Jestine Brown
  • Kelvin Jackson
  • Tamasha James
  • Kris VanderStelt
  • Laurie Zuverink