This blog post is part of Local First’s Measure What Matters series, where we interview Local First Members who have taken the Quick Impact Assessment, and learn about how the assessment has helped them use their business as a force for good and be Good for Grand Rapids.
Started by a group of Calvin College alumni back in the 1993, River City Improv has been making Grand Rapids residents laugh for over 20 years. Since its inception, River City Improv has evolved into a comedy group that’s passionate about making a positive difference in West Michigan through fun and witty humor.
“We love making people laugh – it’s how we give back to the community," said Rick Treur, co-founder and business manager for River City Improv. "Many of our performers also make a positive difference by donating their time and talents to various nonprofits around Grand Rapids."
River City Improv entertains audiences using comedic improvisation. Many of their shows weave together skits, games, and songs with audience suggestions to create a unique show every time. Hosting approximately 20 public shows and up to 40 private shows per year, River City Improv still makes time for volunteering. Some of the ways they give back are by performing volunteer shows or donating free passes to nonprofits for auctions. If a performer is involved with a nonprofit, they can also donate a performance to the organization of their choice.
River City Improv joined Local First in 2010 and Treur recently took Local First’s Quick Impact Assessment to identify more opportunities for River City Improv to make a positive impact.
“Getting involved with Local First seemed like a natural fit for River City Improv because of our commitment to giving back to the community,” said Treur. “We took the Quick Impact Assessment because we like supporting B Corp values and believe it’s important to be mindful of what we’re doing as a business.”
When taking the Quick Impact Assessment, Treur realized there were many practices that he could be tracking and measuring for River City Improv. One of Treur’s major takeaways from the assessment was learning about the significance of buying local and using sustainable products for their shows.
“Even though we are a small business, the Quick Impact Assessment made me realize that there are things we can do better,” said Treur. “You can make a positive impact in the community no matter the size of your business, field, industry or level of community involvement.”
Treur added that getting involved with Good for Grand Rapids has been a great way to strengthen the community by showing support for local businesses.
“Look around at our local businesses in Grand Rapids and you’ll notice that many of them have a global reach and can have a positive impact on the world,” said Treur. "By using our resources for good and being thoughtful about how we run our business, we can make a difference in our local community, West Michigan and beyond.”
Interested in learning how your business performs against best practices on employee, community and environmental impact? Take the Quick Impact Assessment today to learn how much good your business is doing for the local economy and community at localfirst.com/sustainability/measure-what-matters. Meet these and other values-aligned businesses at the Measure What Matters Workshop on June 21!