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Who We Are

Jon Ippel – Executive Director

A Grand Rapids native, Jon Ippel serves as the Executive Director of Amplify GR. Jon comes to the organization with 15 years of community planning experience. Prior to joining Amplify GR, he worked in local government in the areas of city administration, sustainability and community development. Jon feels passionately about the momentum in our city and is committed to ensuring more residents in our community are benefiting from community growth through a holistic approach focusing on education, housing, jobs and entrepreneurship, and community wellbeing.

Jon is proud of the partnerships Amplify GR has formed with nonprofits and local businesses alike. These relationships afford Amplify GR the opportunity to provide additional resources to both residents and businesses in the community.

Outside of work, Jon enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and two kids.

Fun Fact: Jon is a foodie and is always looking for and trying out new restaurants in Grand Rapids.

To get in contact with Jon, email jon@amplifygr.org.

Bethany Underwood – Operations Coordinator

As the Operations Coordinator for Amplify GR, Bethany Underwood is the behind-the-scenes rock star that keeps everything running smoothly. Bethany has an extensive background in project coordination and community engagement, having held past roles as an executive assistant and volunteer archivist. Her career has taken her to cities across the U.S., including Oakland, CA and Indianapolis, IN, but as a Detroit-native, she settled back into the mitten state full-time in 2015. In 2017, she started her role as the operations coordinator at Amplify GR. Bethany is proud to come in to work each day to widen education, career and pathways for all neighborhood residents and businesses.

In Bethany’s spare time, she winds down with a good book and practices yoga.

Fun Fact: Bethany owns her own small business and keeps herself busy designing greeting cards and gift baskets.

To get in contact with Bethany, email bethany@amplifygr.org.

Ashanti Bryant – Education Director

With more than two decades of experience in social work and education, Ashanti Bryant joined Amplify GR in June of 2018 to serve as the Education Director. In his role, he coordinates all partnership efforts with community schools and is leading the charge to increase community access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities. Ashanti acts as a liaison to Amplify GR’s neighborhood schools and collaborates with other nonprofit organizations and government officials to develop, fund and leverage new educational initiatives in support of student achievement in the community schools. Ashanti also heads Amplify GR’s education program Scholar Strong, an initiative to support the community’s children.

A native Detroiter and Grand Rapids resident since 2006, Ashanti is passionate about investing in Michigan schools. He is proud of Amplify GR’s commitment to work with residents, partners and local schools to create stronger neighborhoods for future generations. Ashanti is thankful for the opportunity to work with local residents, teachers and community members toward a common vision for children and families.

Outside of work, Ashanti enjoys writing, dancing and making memories with his family and friends.

Fun Fact: As a self-proclaimed movie connoisseur, Ashanti spends his free time reviewing the newest film of any genre.

To get in contact with Ashanti, email ashanti@amplifygr.org.

Kim Duncan – Administrative Assistant

Kim Duncan is Amplify GR’s Administrative Assistant. A lifelong Grand Rapidian, Kim joined the team because she is passionate about serving the community.  As the organization’s administrative assistant, Kim greets all guests who stop by the office and is the friendly and helpful voice on the other line when someone calls for more information.

Kim is an active volunteer with Oakdale Neighbors and is passionate about helping youth achieve their fullest potential.

Fun Fact: Kim is an avid baker and enjoys advocating for and educating people about the benefits of essential oils.

Our Board

  • Kenyatta Brame, Cascade Engineering – Chair
  • Cheri DeVos, CDV5 LLC – President
  • Beverly Grant, Ret GVSU – Secretary
  • Bruce Osterink, Ret Osterink Construction – Treasurer
  • Maria DeVos – Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation
  • Father Jose Quantana – Shrine of St. Francis Xavier & Our Lady of Guadalupe Church