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.
Mike is a software developer and one of the founding members of Rapid Development Group in Grand Rapids. He landed in Grand Rapids after graduating from Illinois State University in 2001. He lends his time to organizing local technology groups and conferences and is especially passionate about creating more diversity in the tech industry. Mike loves being a part of an Eastown community that values diversity and inclusion and seeks to do his part to keep it that way. The accessibility of public transportation allows Mike to take the bus to and from work each day where he catches up on the latest books and podcasts that challenge his understanding of the world we live in. Mike grew up loving the This Old House program. Outside of work Mike’s hobbies revolve around home improvement that focuses on preserving the character of his old Dutch Colonial on Gladstone where he lives with his wife and three kids. Mike’s family enjoys taking walks together to explore all the great parks, restaurants, and stores Eastown has to offer.
Andrew is a lifelong (moved here at seven months old) Grand Rapids area resident, Drew finally found in Eastown a place and community that he could call home. Since 2015 he has spent a large majority of his free time in Eastown enjoying its walkability, the local scene, and guiding friends through tenant troubles and has lived and worked in Eastown for the past two years. Drew has high hopes for GRand Rapids and especially Eastown in sustainability, increased greenery, and art. He believes that the growth of the neighborhood should include current residents rather than pushing them out. When heʼs not helping people jump-start their day at That Early Bird Cafe, he can be found walking Eastown, reading too much news for his health, and enjoying the company of friends in the bars and restaurants of Eastown.
Noah is passionate about making this world a better place and feels that it all starts at the local level. He is an attorney and Program Director for a small non-profit whose mission is to provide legal self-help services to residents of Kent County, especially those who cannot afford and attorney. Noah and his wife have been around the world, both studying abroad before settling down in Grand Rapids. Theyʼve lived in Eastown for almost three years. And plan to stay, watching the world go by outside our Wealthy St. front door. Noah enjoys walking to the many local establishments the neighborhood has to offer, attending concerts, and being active, which includes playing soccer for Eastown FC this past Summer. He has volunteered with ECA at Streetfair and park cleanups and would love to give back more through service on the Board.
Staci has been a dedicated volunteer at every major Eastown event and most of the smaller ones since January of 2017, when she first came to the ECA as a volunteer. After recently moving to Eastown, she is excited to finally have the opportunity to live in this community that she has loved for years, and is eager to expand her commitment to the Eastown community by joining the ECA board. Staci has dual Masters Degrees in Social Work and Public Health and is invested in improving health outcomes in communities by reducing barriers and creating equitable access to healthcare resources and services. As a director for a local non-profit, Staci also has extensive experience in grant writing, budget management, as well as providing and evaluating community education and training programs. Staci is an avid trivia fan and can be found at Harmony Brewing Company nearly every Sunday playing trivia and spending time with friends and neighbors in the Eastown Community.
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.
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.
Pamela has been an Eastown resident since 2006 (seven of those years renting). She, with her partner Jack, bought their home in Eastown in 2013. Pamela has been actively involved in the ECA since 2007. She chaired the events committee for five year and has and continues to help organize Eastown events. Pamela served on the board after being appointed in 2008 and successfully running for a seat in 2011. For the past seven years, youʼve likely seen her and Mr. Santa as she and Jack have dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Santa for the Eastown Holiday Shop Hop and Tree Lighting! Pamela welcomes the opportunity to serve on the board again. She says, “Eastown is like no other, and I want to do my part in serving all of our residents. I canʼt imagine living anywhere else! Keep Eastown Weird!”
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.”
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.