Jeremy DeRoo, LINC Up (Grand Rapids) — Region 3

Jeremy DeRooJeremy has a BA in Psychology from Calvin College and a Masters in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and is an alumni of the Impact Investing Programme at Oxford University.

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Southern Ontario, DeRoo came to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College. He met his wife, Heidi, while they were both participating in a study abroad program in Nairobi, Kenya. They now have four children.

DeRoo has always had an interest in cross cultural diversity and community development, a passion that brought him to visit community development sites in Romania, Uganda, Kenya and the Philippines. He credits the trip to the Philippines when he was 18 as critical in developing his commitment to helping communities realize their potential as a means of ensuring social justice.

DeRoo came back to Grand Rapids in 2002 to take a job as a housing coordinator at LINC, which was just starting its first projects.  From 2002 to 2008, LINC grew from 2 employees to 12 and DeRoo moved into the role of Operations Director where he oversaw the daily activities of the organization including primary responsibility for financial management. When the founding Executive Director left the organization, DeRoo was named interim executive director and was appointed to the permanent Co-Executive Director position in July 2008.

As Co-Executive Director, DeRoo has led LINC in revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity to residents and grass-root organizations. DeRoo has positioned LINC to create intentional connections at the national, state, local, and block level to maximize impact in the communities served. Recognizing the community development work with in the urban core American context is connected to racial equity, DeRoo has helped build a diverse team of employees and helped address issues of systemic racialization in Grand Rapids.

Since starting with LINC, DeRoo has helped secure over $67 million in funding for community improvement efforts resulting in over 300 families increasing their assets.