Partner Story

Expanding GVSU’s Storytime GR

Grant Recipient

Grand Valley State University

Awarded Amount


At the July 2021 board meeting, the Steelcase Foundation board of trustees approved a three-year $105,000 grant to Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to expand its Storytime GR programming. For over 10 years, Storytime GR (formerly Storytime in the Park) has been providing free books and ice cream to families in an effort to ensure students have high-quality age-appropriate books in their homes and to reinforce behaviors to encourage reading for pleasure through a weekly community event.

With the three-year grant Storytime GR will expand from one site at Garfield Park to include sites at Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Parks to reach additional families throughout the city. The sites were chosen collaboratively in partnership with Grand Valley’s College of Education, the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Library, Read GR, Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association, Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, Scholastic Books, and Schuler Books to ensure locations reached a diverse group of families, especially Black and Latinx families, and families of lower socioeconomic status where they may have less access to books in the home.

In addition, in summer 2020 Storytime GR began distributing books through “Book Pantries” and food pantries to ensure children and families had access to books to continue weekly reading habits as in-person gatherings were not feasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re excited to continue supporting Storytime GR as it expands its reach to serve additional children and families to develop a love of reading for generations to come.