Guiding Light is celebrating that its “three-legged stool” of rescue, recovery and re-engagement is translating into jobs and spending in the region.

In the past 12 months, the Grand Rapids nonprofit had a $13.5-million economic impact on the community, as it put 614 individuals back to work, mostly into manufacturing jobs.

Starla McDermott, the nonprofit’s development director, said those 614 individuals participated in one or more of Guiding Light’s services, which include Guiding Light Recovery, an addictions recovery program for men; Back to Work, a program that provides a short-term stay and support for homeless men as they job hunt; and The Job Post, an in-house hiring and recruitment enterprise.

McDermott said Guiding Light calculated its economic impact by multiplying the clients’ average annual wage post hiring ($21,840) by the number of individuals back in the workforce. She said the impact on the community is two-pronged.

“One, we help these individuals get back to work,” McDermott said. “They’re paying rent, transportation, buying groceries and they’re putting it all back into the economy.”

“(Two), we’re completely donor-funded; we don’t get government funds, and our baseline is a $2-million budget. So, they’re spending more than what we spend to help them get back to work.”

You can read the entire article on the website of our partner, the Grand Rapids Business Journal, or pick up this week's edition of the Business Journal on your newsstand.