President: Katie Appold
Katie is a life-long resident of the Tri-Cities where she lives with her husband, Chad, and their two children, Grace and Graham. Katie joined Gracious Grounds in late 2016 when she resigned from leading a West Michigan nonprofit. Katie’s professional experience includes over fifteen years in marketing and fundraising in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She owns and operates Grace Granted, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in grant writing and development work.
Katie was recognized in 2008 as one of the Top Women in Marketing by MiBiz, has been nominated for the Lakeshore Athena award twice, and recognized as one of the Top 20 under 40 for the Tri-Cities in 2015. Katie serves on the board of the Tri-Cities YMCA and DO MORE GOOD, the organization she co-founded in 2019. Katie is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Grand Rapids Young Nonprofit Professionals, and the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Vice President: Lauren Gowman
Lauren Reenders is a bright and knowledgeable young woman who grew up in Grand Haven, Michigan. She attended Grand Haven High School, Hope College, and recently graduated with her MBA from Cornerstone University in early 2017.
Currently, Lauren serves as the Director of Operations for the Assisted Living portfolio for Heritage Property Management, which is also her family business. She is one of five current 4th generation family members to work for the company. She started working in the kitchen at age fourteen and worked her way up through various roles. Her great grandfather, Arthur Reenders, stared the business in 1946. Arthur started building single family houses, her grandpa started multifamily housing, and her dad, uncle, and aunt got into senior housing twenty-three years ago. They currently have nine assisted living communities and six independent senior community properties located around the state of Michigan.
Lauren’s relationship with Gracious Grounds started in 2016. In 2016, Sandy Baker reached out to Lauren to see if Heritage Property Management had any employment opportunities for her residents. Through this process, Lauren and Sandy created a bond that would last for years to come. “I immediately fell in love with the organization and what Sandy was providing for the community” Over the years, Lauren has had the Gracious Grounds residents to her house for a summer fire, to her parents’ house for a swim and cook out, and to a Hope College basketball game. Grand Pines Assisted Living currently employs several Gracious Grounds residents and is in walking distance from Gracious Grounds. We can not thank Lauren and her family enough for providing such wonderful opportunities for our residents!
Lauren believes that she can be an asset to Gracious Grounds because her expertise with senior living can be applied to Gracious Grounds. “We both work with vulnerable adults that need a lot of love, compassion and care.” Lauren’s main desire is to help others; therefore, she feels honored to work in her daily job and feels that being a part of the Gracious Grounds board will fill her cup even more. “I can’t wait for this journey, there are big things in store!”
Secretary: Jennifer Vanskiver
As is the experience with all the members on our Board of Trustees, my heart led me to Gracious Grounds. My heart is named, Claudia Jane. But my ever-confident daughter will be the first to tell you she prefers to be called, CJ! She is almost 17 years old – in fact, her birthday is the same day as our fundraiser this year, April 27! (Lots of reasons to celebrate.) Her journey through life with cognitive disabilities has not been easy or certain. But, she’s charted her own path using an awesome combination of resolute determination and optimism. Her future is bright, and getting even brighter because of the inclusive, forward-thinking vision of Gracious Grounds. I look forward to serving this incredible mission in every way I can for her future, the future of her peer group, and the benefits that our work will bring to our entire community.
As the Chief Communications Officer for North Ottawa Community Health System I hope to initially bring to bear my resources and network from the health care realm, as well as my gifts to help widen the circle of influence and support of Gracious Grounds as we grow to meet increasing need. I wish to thank the Board and Sandy, for the warm welcome I have received. And, I wish to thank YOU, in advance, for your continued dedication to making our community a place we can all call home.
Treasurer: Erin Lyon
Erin moved to Grand Haven immediately following high school where she quickly made it her home. Erin received her Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from Grand Valley State University and earned her Doctorate of Jurisprudence Degree from Michigan State University. Erin has been the owner of Jumpin’ Java since October of 2016, and she serves as the Corporate Compliance Officer at Sunset Retirement Communities in Jenison, as well as being a member of the Chamber Ambassadors. Erin is very active in the community and gives back as often as possible. She served as a Board Member of the Grand Haven Young Professionals for more than five years where she was the Director of the Salmon Run. She was a member of the Re-Imagination Station Capital Campaign Fundraising Committee and has helped with the Momentum Center Prom for the last two years. Erin is very much looking forward to offering her time and talents to Gracious Grounds.
Member: Kevin Green
Kevin Green lives in Spring Lake with his wife Rachel and daughter Gianna. He has lived in the community since 1996 when he started working at Spring Lake Country Club where he is now the General Manager. He has worked with Spring Lake High School for over a decade to host off-site work and employability skills training for students with unique skills and learning needs. Kevin is active with the Rotary Club of Spring Lake serving on the Board as the Membership Chairman. He also serves on the North Bank Community Fund Advisory Board, the 100 Men Who Give Steering Committee and the Michigan Club Manager’s Association Board as Past President.
Member: Dennis Swartout
My wife Carol and two daughters moved to Grand Haven in 1985 and over the last three decades I have been engaged in a variety of civic activities above and beyond my career responsibilities. Presently, I serve as a member of Grand Haven’s Human Relations Commission. Prior to that I served on the City Planning Commission, Downtown Development Authority, the Lighthouse Conservancy and the Coast Guard Festival Board. I was also privileged to serve in elected office as both a Grand Haven City Councilman and Ottawa County Commissioner. I have been fortunate to hold leadership positions having served as Chairman of the DDA and for five years as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Following my retirement as Director of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum I joined Harbor Transit where I serve in the role of Marketing Representative. My true joy in life has come from working with others in helping to make our community and the people that live here the very best.
Member: Gay Cole
Gay and her family have lived in the Spring Lake area for over 30 years. Gay recently retired after teaching for 34 years. In retirement Gay appreciates having the gift of time to give to groups and causes she believes in, such as Gracious Grounds.
Gay has long recognized that a traditional housing model does not meet the needs of many young adults in this community. She has heard their dream of living independently. She has heard the pride in their voices when they talk of jobs, social activities and community involvement. Gay is proud to be part of the mission of Gracious Grounds.
Member: Jeff Troupe
Jeff Troupe is currently a Special Education teacher for students with cognitive impairments at Grand Haven High School. He has been helping students become academically employable as well as gain the necessary independent living skills to live a life as barrier free as possible. He is currently in his eleventh year working for Grand Haven High School. Through his career, Jeff has established many partnerships with the business community and Grand Haven Area Public Schools that has allowed students to obtain on the job training experiences and job exploration opportunities that have led to gainful employment.
Jeff was born and raised in Grand Haven with loving parents who instilled a passion in Jeff for community service. Jeff’s father served as the superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and served on numerous boards and committees in the community. Jeff hopes to honor his fathers legacy by continuing to serve similar roles. Recently, Jeff was honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Reimagine Project committee. Jeff focused on ensuring accessibility for students with special needs in the design of the new playground. “It has been an exciting opportunity to bring my skills as a special education teacher and advocate for individuals with special needs to this project” ~ Jeff
Curently, Jeff and his wife reside in Belmont, Michigan with their three-year-old son. His wife works in the Housing and Homeless Services at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Jeff and his wife remain actively involved in the Grand Haven community and are both very committed to instilling the value of community service into their son just as Jeff’s parents did for him.