Paying It Forward in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is known for its warmth of spirit – just ask anyone who’s ever visited!

Our hospitality extends far beyond the casual “have a nice day” variety. A genuine treat-each-other-as you’d-like-to-be-treated spirit permeates the city. It’s the essence of Pay It Forward – the concept of repaying a good deed done for you by doing a good deed for someone else.


We Pay It Forward with dollars: The Chronicle of Philanthropy named Grand Rapids the second most generous city in the U.S., based on the amount of discretionary income our residents give to charity.

We Pay It Forward with time: Volunteering in America reports that Grand Rapids residents volunteer 23.3 million hours each year – nearly 32 hours per person.

We Pay It Forward with imagination: Grand Rapids “Secret Santas” ignited a nationwide phenomenon in December 2012 when they anonymously paid off store layaway bills for strangers.

We Pay It Forward with vision: Some of our most prominent businesspeople repay the city that helped them succeed by funding projects that benefit the entire region. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, DeVos Place Convention Center, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and Van Andel Research Center are just a few of the iconic sites that were “paid forward” by local philanthropists.

You will feel this Pay It Forward mentality while you’re here – expressed through genuine welcomes, eager-to-help attitudes and so much more.

What happens in Grand Rapids shouldn’t stay in Grand Rapids.
We want visitors to take our Pay-It-Forward experience home with them and keep the kindness chain going in their hometowns and across the country. That’s what this website is all about – sharing ideas and stories and inspiring each other to make the world a better place. It’s fun. It feels good. And it doesn’t have to cost a thing!