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DETROITMarch 14, 2024 /7Newswire — The Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF) and its partner, the People First Economy (PFE) based in Grand Rapids, MI are excited to announce their merger, effective March 31, 2024. Merging the two organizations is expected to bring a new dimension to advancing sustainable business (SB) practice in the Southeast MI (SM) region.

The two organizations have a more than four-year history of collaboration and thought partnership. After working on a grant through the American Sustainable Business Network and the Impact Project, SMSBF and PFE realized a shared theory of change, one rooted in localism, community, environmental justice and SB strategies.

With a more than twenty-year history of promoting SB practice in the SM region, SMSBF reached a cross-road in 2023. Over time, SB practice, particularly among large corporations in the SM region, has grown. Delivering SB related content, such as newsletters, podcasts and event production to the region is now being done well by the SB Network Detroit, of which SMSBF is a founding member. At one time, SMSBF was the only non-profit in the region delivering such content.

PFE’s unique theory of change aligns with SMSBF and holds tremendous regional growth potential.

Built on three tranches of programming – Local First, Good for Michigan and People First Policy – PFE’s theory of change is rooted in systems thinking.

“We live, not in a world defined by linear, ‘if-then’ thinking, such as, the sole purpose of business is to maximize profit, but rather one that is multi-dimensional, highly contingent and best thought of as ‘both-and'” states Mike Shesterkin, Executive Director of SMSBF. “With its emphasis on localism, effectively assessing SB practice, and perhaps most importantly, affecting state and local public policy in a non-partisan way, so as to level the playing field and make it easier to do the right things in business, PFE’s programming reflects a systems thinking approach.”

Carlos Martinez, President of PFE, states, “The acknowledgement of PFE’s programming as both impactful and crucial within Michigan is expanding. Our engagement with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and various business support organizations across Southeast Michigan underscores this realization. By pooling our resources with the SMSBF, we aim to sustain and enhance this growth in the Southeast Michigan region, reinforcing our roles as key partners within the ecosystem.”

The two organizations expect to make more details available as the merger is worked-out.

The SMSBF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that produces relevant and timely content created to shape and advance the local, sustainable business movement. Our readers and subscribers have access to live and virtual events, workshops, webinars, newsletters, podcasts, and videos. We work with local, national, and international subject matter experts to deliver insights that lead to change. Our content helps organizations advance social, environmental, and economic justice through business in Detroit and SE Michigan: http://smsbf.org.