Rachel VerWys, Curate's founder, has over twenty-five years of life and work experience in diverse contexts and a variety of communities from Southern California to Western Michigan. This experience ranges from uncovering big ideas over cups of coffee with a neighbor to the building of city wide collaborations. Her formal education includes a BSW degree (Calvin College) and an MSW degree (University of Southern California) with an emphasis in community organizing, planning and administration. She has been a part of holistic community development on multiple levels, in her own neighborhood, city, and the broader community. Her areas of focus include: education advocacy, social enterprise, collaboration building, and operational development.
Co-Creator SEE: Solutions to End Exploitation, catalyze the movement toward a collective impact framework to create a community free from human trafficking through collective story telling, cross sector collaboration and creative possibility
Common Good Fellow: An inaugural fellow connecting with international leaders currently leading an initiative that exists to eliminate personal economic isolation or increase social good and well-being
Board President with Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders championing the mission to strengthen youth and adult leaders.
Co-chair of the The Potter's House School Diversity Committee, a Christ Centered Urban School, a committee facilitating the development of equity and racial reconciliation through the school's curriculum, policies, and culture.
Advisory Board Member Calvin College Social Work Department
Neighbor passionate about walking alongside people, organizations and communities to seek justice, develop leaders and commit to work that leads to renewal and equitable communities of transformation.
Curate is a consulting enterprise that helps organizations and neighborhoods develop strategies for identifying their own strengths and planning for a mutually beneficial and transformative vision. Curate's service integrates a place's context, diverse narratives, and leaders into the work for creative and meaningful community impact.
LISTEN : Curate utilizes a distinctly participatory facilitation method (sometimes called human centered design) which creates space to hear and learn from one another. Recognizing unique narratives guide conversation and inform the work, Curate believes it is important to take time to listen to one another and include voices that at times have been marginalized or not included.
DESIGN: There is no single prescription for organizational growth or change. Curate lets key principles and an asset based paradigm guide the conversation and design. This applies to strategic planning, facilitated conversation, team building, and community development training.
GATHER: Collective listening and shared space allow imagination, focused conversations, and planning to lead toward vision and a shared future. Curate believes that community engagement, dialogue and mutual learning is critical to the development of measureable impact and outcomes. Community, networks and collaboration grow when there is an intentional place for leaders to gather, connect and commit to work together.
FLOURISH: Strong partnerships position people, organizations, neighborhoods and communities to grow and flourish. Curate is committed to bring about a future in which nothing is missing or broken, where neighbors and leaders of all walks of life have opportunity and can take part in meaningfully transforming their communities.