Board

About the board:

Participation in the Eastown Community Association’s board of directors is a chance to help shape the growth and future of the Eastown neighborhood. The ECA aims to maintain a high level of diversity on its board of directors, which is measured in several different ways, including professional expertise, cultural background, personal experience, and broader connectivity within West Michigan.

In addition to assisting in the growth and future of the neighborhood, Board Members commit to the following:

  • Attending monthly board meetings
  • Actively participating in at least one Eastown Community Association Committee
  • Serving as a Block Captain and actively work to build the Eastown Community Association’s Block Captain network
  • Attending and participating in Eastown Community Association events
  • Actively participating in the ongoing fundraising efforts of the organization
  • Serving a minimum two year term

2019 Eastown Community Association Board of Directors

 

David Jirousek – President

David enjoys giving back to the community as a “go-to” volunteer in Eastown. Serving as a community planning consultant,  David works with citizens, boards, and elected officials on planning, zoning, and development related issues throughout the state. In his spare time, you may see him cruising around on a bike, running his dogs, tending to his garden, or representing Eastown United on the Wilcox Park soccer field. David is proud to call Eastown home and has been a resident since 2013.

 

Amanda Sterling  – Treasurer

An Eastown resident since 2011, Amanda Sterling is a Grand Valley State University alum, a grants manager for Michigan State University, an amateur photographer, and is active in local politics. She began attending the Eastown Streetfair and Bizarre Bazaar well before she ever bought a place in Eastown and always knew this quirky little pocket of Grand Rapids was exactly where she belonged. She is passionate about protecting the environment and would like to see Eastown become an even more bicycle and pedestrian‐friendly part of the city. In the warmer months, you’ve likely seen her riding her blue Schwinn cruiser around the neighborhood in her pith‐style helmet.

 

Shannon Cunningham

CunninghamShannon_2014_nrShannon serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, a law firm located in downtown Grand Rapids. She is responsible for new business development, firm branding initiatives, fostering strategic relationships, public relations, and external communications. She also leads all aspects of marketing and business development functions to achieve firm growth, profit, and visibility goals. Shannon graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and obtaining a minor in Spanish. In addition to her position at Smith Haughey, Shannon is a member of the American Marketing Association and the Legal Marketing Association and writes for both The Rapidian and the Eastown Community Association’s Eastown Access. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of West Michigan and is a mentor through Kids Hope USA and Burton Elementary. Outside of work, Shannon can be found strolling or running through Eastown and its surrounding neighborhoods, working on her Eastown fixer-upper or enjoying local Grand Rapids brews and eats. Shannon joined the ECA board in 2013 and currently serves on the ECA’s Access Committee.

 

Matt Feyen

Matt is a longtime Eastown resident, who had the good fortune of growing up in Eastown.  After going out of state for college and doing some international traveling, he returned to Eastown when he was in his mid 20’s and has been here ever since.  He lived on the 400 block of Ethel for 8 years, then on Milton by Youell for about 8-9 years, and has now been on Rosewood by St. Stephens with his wife and 2 boys for the past 8 years.  Matt is an active Eastown landlord and has fixed-up a number of old homes in Eastown—he loves being in a walkable community and working and living locally!  Matt has seen Eastown and surrounding neighborhoods change a lot in the past few decades— most changes have been for the good—but others not so much.  He wants to do what he can to keep things moving in a positive direction. He has degrees in Political Science and Spanish.

 

Kathy Wiegers

Kathy started out as an Eastown renter during her college years and then bought her first home with her husband, Marc, on Auburn Street in 1999. They have enjoyed raising their two children, now teenagers, in this amazing neighborhood. A graduate of Calvin College, Kathy became a Licensed Home Daycare provider and has cared for many Eastown children over the past 17 years. Kathy served for ten years as a block captain (back when block captains and the ECA Neighborhood Organizer would deliver the Access by hand to neighbors), has researched old buildings and homes and written articles about them for the Eastown Access, and helped to start the Sigsbee Park Committee. She also coordinated with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to organize a tree planting at Wilcox Park for Neighborwoods Month a few years ago. Community is an important part of the Wiegers’ family life, and they love that even with the exciting new growth and changes in the neighborhood, Eastown still has a small town feel where you can know your neighbors, mail carrier and neighborhood police officer by name.

 

Dan Wells

Dan Wells has been a resident of Eastown since 2005. He moved here from New Mexico with his wife Lynee, and they have lived on Robinson Road since then. Professionally, Dan works to help redevelop Brownfield properties and create great urban places across the state, and has served on the Historic Preservation Commission and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He is mainly concerned with enhancing Eastowns already great walkability, and improving amenities and safety for residents who wish to walk, ride bikes and bus.

 

 

Marta Johnson-Ebels – Vice-President

After a handful of years renting in Eastown, Marta decided to lay down roots officially with a home purchase in 2009. She was excited to move to a diverse neighborhood with a school right down the street (formerly Sigsbee Elementary), and parks and restaurants within walking distance. While Marta is impressed with so many developments and improvements in Eastown over these past 7 years, she is also concerned about how segregated our city as a whole remains and that Grand Rapids was recently ranked as the worst city economically for African Americans. She would like to develop ways we can address these issues alongside efforts to support the continued (and impressive!) improvement of our local schools, Congress and Campus Elementary. Together with her husband and daughter their family enjoys living alongside the best neighbors one could ask for on Logan street. Marta brings passion and a diverse background in social enterprise, innovative finance, community organizing and environmental policy to the ECA board.

 

Becky Dickenson – Secretary

Becky and her wife Michele are proud residents of Eastown since 2010, with Michele originally from Chicago and Becky relocating from Oklahoma. They were drawn to the area because of the relaxed vibe, the walkability of the neighborhood and the diverse (and cherished) local businesses – and they have not been disappointed. Becky’s interests lean toward the arts and humanities including theatre, film, contemporary art and creative writing. She vehemently supports are the Arts, at-risk youth, woman’s issues and solutions for the homeless, by way of these amazing local organizations: Actor’s Theatre, West Michigan Gay Men’s Chorus, Girls Choral Academy, Planned Parenthood, Well House, and Our LGBT Fund made possible by Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

 

Jose Perez

Jose headshot

Jose Perez has been a business owner for the last five years, and he recently took over as the pastor of Uptown Church. He believes being a part of the ECA board will bring him closer to the heartbeat of the city where he can discover a greater understanding of the ways that Uptown Church can help the community. Since becoming a pastor at Uptown, he has helped in cleaning up local parking lots and has offered their parking lot to the ECA for several events. Jose hopes to increase Uptown Church’s level of involvement in the community and to help grow Eastown, itself. Jose was elected to the board in 2016.

 

Alice Mennenga

Alice has lived in Eastown for 46 years. Alice and her husband Don are retired. She is a former Board member and Eastown business owner. She is active in our Host Neighbor (formerly Block Captain) Program. Her main areas of interest are public safety, and green space. Alice has raised three daughters in Eastown. Even though our brick and mortar business is no longer operating, She is still repurposing furniture and making personalized signs, and other designs using reclaimed wood. “Eastown is great place to retire. It’s fun to enjoy all the new things happening in Eastown.” Other interests include biking, camping, reading, (she’s in 3 book clubs) gardening, and porch sitting.

 

Dakota Reihl-Davis

Originally from the Lansing area, Dakota and her husband Jeremy moved to Grand Rapids in 2014. After being serial renters throughout the city, Dakota and Jeremy recently purchased a home in Eastown; a neighborhood they had grown to love for its diversity, walkability, and unique character. Dakota is a Real Estate Development Associate for Inner City Christian Federation and is a passionate advocate for affordable housing throughout Grand Rapids.  Her position at ICCF has allowed her to collaborate with many area non-profits, community leaders, and passionate neighbors on a variety of community issues and opportunities; something she feels truly privileged to do. Outside of her professional life, Dakota loves spending time with her puppy, trying out new restaurants, and enjoying some of our amazing local music. Community is an important aspect of Dakota’s life and she is excited to positively contribute to her’s as a member of the ECA board.”

 

Kristen Sarkipato

Kristen started as an Eastown renter during her college years. After completing her BS in Sociology at Grand Valley State University in 2007, Kristen and her husband purchased a home on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. Drawn to the diversity and vibrancy of the Eastown community, they decided to return to Eastown and buy their forever home. They’ve been in their Eastown fixer-upper for a year now. They have enjoyed watching their two boys (5 & 8) play with wonderful new neighbors and enjoy the beautiful green space at Wilcox Park. Kristen’s background in the social services has provided her with experience engaging with local agencies and the community at large. She is passionate about maintaining the diversity, vibrancy, and uniqueness that is such a big part of Eastown’s identity. When not attending school events, she can be found hiking, camping, mountain biking, and drinking local brews at Harmony Brewing Co.