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To provide a forum to connect, inform and inspire our diverse community about today’s economic issues and relevant topics of the day.

Inclusive Economic Growth Statement

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids is committed to economic prosperity for all by adhering to the following beliefs:

  • We believe inclusive economic growth is essential to fulfilling our aspiration to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable West Michigan community where all members can prosper and achieve quality of life.
  • We believe our forums/platforms should be accessible to ALL people interested in, and contributing to, the economic health of our community regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education, or differences in ability.
  • We believe that our mission to provide a forum to connect, inform and inspire our diverse community positions us to leverage our collective experience, knowledge, and influence, to empower the next generation of business leaders.
  • We believe that our offerings/programming and events should reflect diverse perspectives, life experiences, heritages and foster a climate of belonging.
  • We believe the value proposition of diversity, equity and inclusion is one of abundance that benefits all of us and will enhance our community’s potential to be more innovative, entrepreneurial, and economically competitive.

Who We Are

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids is an association of individuals interested in, and contributing to, the growing economic health of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. Men and women from every sphere of activity are invited to hear the views of outstanding, nationally-known speakers who address our regular meetings.

The club’s semi-monthly 15+ events, a season held on Mondays from September through June, afford members the opportunity whether meeting over lunch or zooming with their contemporaries in the community. Average attendance is near 600 for in-person and 400 for our virtual events.

The Club serves as a forum for current events, and as a meeting place for present and future leaders of the community. With affordable annual membership fees of $195/$250, allows the opportunity for any individual who wishes to join nearly 1000 members.

Club History

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids promotes an interest in growing the economic health of Grand Rapids, providing its members and guests with information on new and ongoing issues in government, society, and the economy.

Founded in 1976 by the late George J. Slykhouse, an attorney with the law firm Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, the first Economic Club meeting was held in November 1976 and included 30 charter members.  Today, the organization is thriving with over 1000 annual members.

Through the years, The Economic Club has been steadily growing by offering excellent programs and leadership.  The board of directors comprises leaders in business and industry around the Grand Rapids area, including current Chair, Christina Keller, President & CEO of Cascade Engineering, and Vice Chair, Sean Welsh, Regional President of PNC. The Economic Club prides itself in offering luncheons/events/webinars and hosting keynote speakers on a diverse array of timely and relevant topics.

The Economic Club hosts high-profile keynote speakers at its annual signature dinner.  The roster of annual dinner speakers has included world leaders Margaret Thatcher and John Major, former prime ministers of Great Britain; F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa; Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel; and Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan.  Other notable keynote speakers include Secretaries of State, General Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeleine Albright, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Queen Noor, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, BONO and Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush, Sir Richard Branson and more.  During this event, The Economic Club also presents the Slykhouse Community Leadership Award and Business Person of the Year award to individuals who have contributed their time, talent, and support to the economic development of Grand Rapids.

The Economic Club has instituted scholarship funds and study-abroad programs that are awarded to students locally and regionally who wish to pursue educational opportunities in business and economics.  The “Economic Club Scholarship Fund” and the “George J. Slykhouse Scholarship” both award two $2500 scholarships.  The study-abroad program, created in 2000, provides financial assistance in the form of two $2500 scholarships, to allow students to study business in other countries.  The annual scholarship amount awarded each year is $15,000 and all of these programs are managed by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

Proudly, the Club provides an endowment fund to Junior Achievement for a program aimed at a diverse, middle school-aged, at-risk student base, on the “Economics of Success.”  These funds will extend the Economic Club’s programs to the youth in the community and increase the participation of a more diverse base.

Please contact us if you need any additional information so that we continue to connect, inform and inspire!