About Us


Project GREEN Features Two Core Activities:

  • Grassroots Financial Advocates: Project GREEN has equipped eight residents in Greater Grand Rapids to become Grassroots Financial Advocates. Through a series of deep-listening sessions, GREEN has captured the strategies used by the working poor to survive and thrive economically. This has now been formed into a place-based financial empowerment curriculum to teach others. These eight grassroots leaders have since been trained on teaching strategy and facilitation in order to serve as grassroots financial instructors. GREEN has provided advocacy training for the grassroots leaders on how to navigate the local governmental systems in order to advocate for policies that best serve their needs and those of the larger community – with emphasis on the financial services industry.


  • Statewide Fair Lending Coalition: GREEN will develop a statewide network of anchor institutions from 12 targeted communities across Michigan who would work to counteract the negative economic impact of payday lending. Together, this coalition will:
    • Network to share strategies.
    • Collect payday loan stories from consumers.
    • Raise community awareness on predatory lending.
    • Develop a shared vision and strategy with partner organizations that will lead to an eventual public campaign.
    • Build the capacity of partner organizations and develop potential solutions.
    • Organize a fair lending education and advocacy campaign.
    • Work with traditional lending institutions to provide fair and responsible lending options within their communities.


  • Dallas Lenear

    Dallas serves as the Director of Project GREEN, where GREEN stands for the Grand Rapids Economic Empowerment Network. The overall goal of Project GREEN is to create networks of individuals and organizations locally and statewide that will marshal existing community assets to create and increase family economic stability for low-income and moderate-income households.

  • Mary McGhee

    Mary is working to identify individuals and organizations to join her advocacy project. Ms. Mary’s goal is to get local financial institutions to make electronic banking more user-friendly for senior citizens.

  • Stephanie Pierce

    Stephanie is working to identify individuals and organizations to join her advocacy project. Stephanie’s goal is to meet with the Director of the Dept of Education to stop the accrual of interest on student loans that are in deferrment.

  • Willie Mumper

    Willie is working to identify individuals and organizations to join his advocacy project. Willy’s goal is to draft a grant proposal to pilot a non-traditional transportation service for a group of young adults to local employment for a period of 12 months.

  • Jerlean McAlister

    Jerlean is a ProjectGREEN Grassroots Financial Advocate working to identify individuals who have suffered from taking out payday loans. Helping them share their stories helps raise awareness about these debt traps and how long it can take to get out of them.

  • Shanelle White

    Shanelle is taking initiative to pursue an advocacy project that will help others build credit from the rent to homeownership transition.


Christopher B. Smith – Chair
Clarkston Morgan – Secretary
Attah Obande – Treasurer
Shellida Hancock
Shannon Cohen
Milinda “Mindy” Ysasi-Castanon
Willie Smith

1115 Alto Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507