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City of Grand Rapids announces MyGRCity Points | Community Spirit

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City of Grand Rapids announces MyGRCity Points

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2010

Recyclers and volunteers can earn MyGRCity Points
and support local businesses

Ready to earn rewards for recycling, volunteering, and making our city a better place to live?
Join the City of Grand Rapids, Local First of West Michigan, and CEOs for Cities to launch an innovative community engagement program—MyGRCity Points. This new web-based incentive program encourages people to volunteer to help build a stronger Grand Rapids community, while earning reward points that can be redeemed at local businesses for discounts on products and services. MyGRCity Points will operate on a platform that links people to local businesses and to local government.
Created by the City of Grand Rapids, MyGRCity Points is being developed and managed in partnership with Local First, a Grand Rapids organization that promotes local businesses and encourages purchasing local products and services, and CEOs for Cities, a national network dedicated to building and sustaining the next generation of great American cities.
Customers can earn MyGRCity Points for recycling with the new Single Stream Recycling Program and by volunteering to support the City and the community. Points earned can be redeemed at local businesses for discounts on products and services.
MyGRCity Points links people, organizations, local businesses, and city government. Individuals are rewarded for engaging in activities that support a high quality of life in our community. Customers support local businesses with increased foot traffic and the City of Grand Rapids strengthens its platform to support local businesses and build a stronger community. The MyGRCity Points program will be rolled out in three phases beginning later this year and be fully implemented by the end of 2011.
A win-win-win for citizens, local businesses, and city government
Local First will manage the points program with a web-based system individualized for every customer. Elissa Sangalli Hillary, Executive Director of Local First, said “We’re excited to participate in a program that will enable businesses to prosper while helping to improve the City and community overall. MyGRCity Points promises to be a powerful economic engine that links local residents with local businesses.”
CEOs for Cities is a civic lab of today's urban leaders catalyzing a movement to advance the next generation of great American cities. Carol Coletta, President and CEO of Chicago-based CEOs for Cities, hails MyGRCity Points as a creative application of community talent and resources. “The City of Grand Rapids consistently demonstrates its ability to innovate. In this case, the City has put together a unique package of local benefits to drive good citizenship powered by technology that creates wins for government and the people of Grand Rapids. I continue to be impressed with the entrepreneurial approach of this government,” said Coletta.
Grand Rapids Mayor George K. Heartwell said, “I share Carol Coletta’s excitement. MyGRCity Points will use technology to motivate citizens to work together, shop locally and make Grand Rapids a better place. This program is an excellent example of how we are transforming city government by engaging citizens and supporting local businesses. This is an example of city government creating a platform for change to embrace a sustainable future.”
“MyGRCity Points creates a win-win-win for citizens, local businesses and city government by linking community stewardship, local economic development and a citizen-centric government with an easy-to-use rewards program like concepts already used for credit cards,” said Greg Sundstrom, City Manager. “With MyGRCity Points, individuals are rewarded for taking actions, like participating in the City of Grand Rapids/Kent County Single Stream Recycling Program and volunteering in city projects that support a high quality of life in our community. Another benefit is more customers are supporting local businesses with increased foot traffic. The City of Grand Rapids is committed to strengthening support for local businesses and building a stronger community that benefits all of us, now and in the future.”
MyGRCity Points Roll-Out Plan
Later this year, a customer can go online and register for a MyGRCity Points account. The account is free and uniquely identifies each individual participating in the program. A customer can receive MyGRCity Points whenever they recycle or participate in a MyGRCity Points event. A MyGRCity Points participant does not have to be a City resident, but all events will take place in the City and all businesses where points can be redeemed will be local. Earning MyGRCity Points will help to make ours a better community and help to keep local businesses strong. The MyGRCity Points program will be rolled-out in three phases beginning later this year and be fully implemented by the end of 2011.
Soon, the City will begin to promote additional local activities, events, and initiatives where MyGRCity Points can be earned. Anyone who participates will earn MyGRCity Points simply for making their community better. For example, an event could be a City park clean up. If you help, you earn MyGRCity Points. Another example might be, volunteer for a City festival or at a community non-profit, you earn MyGRCity Points. The possibilities are nearly endless. Imagine earning MyGRCity Points for volunteering with your neighborhood or business association, helping children learn to read, planting flowers in a park, or mowing a City-owned vacant lot in your neighborhood.

Phase I—Recycling Incentive Program
At first, customers will earn points based on how much they recycle. City residents who signed up for the City’s free Single Stream Recycling Program and place their free recycling cart at their curb on collection day will automatically receive points based on the volume of recyclables that the City collects. Each City recycling cart has a Remote Frequency Identification (RFID) chip imbedded in the cart to permit the City to identify the customer and automatically credits the customer’s account with MyGRCity Points every time they recycle. It is easy and free.

Phase II—Neighborhood Engagement
Citizens can post neighborhood projects they organize and invite others to join them in taking action. Citizens can also find projects organized by others and sign up to participate. For example, a resident may post a project to start a block beautification program with flower and tree plantings and invite neighbors to join in, or invite residents to help shovel snow from sidewalks for senior citizens, by posting a project. By organizing projects at a neighborhood level, residents can corral volunteers around projects important in their community. Scheduled launch—early 2011.

Phase III—City and Community Engagement
Customers will receive MyGRCity Points for volunteering to support the City and our community. For example, volunteer at a City festival, serve on a City Board or Commission, help a public school child learn to read, or help a local non-profit organization. By helping to make ours a better community, you can be rewarded with MyGRCity Points. Scheduled launch—late 2011.

For more information about MyGRCity Points
Call the City of Grand Rapids at 616-456-3000 or Local First at 616-808-3788, email info@grcity.us or visit http://points.grcity.us