Our People

Board

Azizi Jasper

 

Azizi is a spoken word artist, community activist, and cultural advocate. He has been an East Hills resident for the past 8 years. He has thrown more than 50 events around GR centered around politics and community building. He is also the host and curator of two separate spoken word open mics "Smokin Spokin Word at The Eastown Hookah Lounge" and Underground Poetry at The Monkey Bar in The BOB. He has served as consultant and coordinator for several political campaigns including: GRPS Millage, GRCC Millage, DCGR, Rep. Brandon Dillon, fmr Rep. Robert Dean and others.

Josh Leffingwell

Co-chair

Josh Leffingwell has lived in East Hills for 2 years, in the Congress Park neighborhood, with his girlfriend Alissa and dog Little Jerry Seinfeld. On the board, he is focused on sustainable transportation, neighborhood walkability and business development. He is currently chair of the Complete Streets Committee and Board Co-Chair. 

Elizabeth Ransford

Co-chair

Elizabeth Hoffman Ransford, a freelance writer and historian, serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. A fourth generation Grand Rapidian, Elizabeth grew up in Heritage Hill. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she received a PhD in American History and Public History from Loyola University Chicago, with a specialization in cities and the history of urban space. Elizabeth and her husband Charlie returned to Grand Rapids in 2010 to renovate a house in Fairmount Square, where they live with their daughter Eleanor. Elizabeth is active on the East Hills Loves Congress and membership committees.

Staff

Rachel Lee

Director

Phone: 616-454-9079

Rachel Lee serves as the new Director at East Hills.  She is a long term resident and volunteer in East Hills since 2000. Rachel has led multiple projects related to community economic development and green infrastructure to benefit the neighborhood. She served as the Co-Chair of the East Hills Council of Neighbors from 2012-August 2013, President of the East Hills Business Association from 2006-2010, Board of Directors for the Wealthy Street Business Alliance from 2003-2010, Chairwoman of the Uptown Advisory Council from 2007-2009, Board of Directors for the East Hills Council of Neighbors from 2001-2003, and a member of the Local Planning Committee for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network in 2009. Rachel received a 2013 Special Recognition Award from City of Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission and she was a Woman of East Hills honoree in 2010 and a Logie Award Nominee for the 2009 Neighborhood Business Alliance Awards. She has wrote and partnered on numerous grants bringing a total of $600,000 in funds for projects in the East Hills and Uptown area. She has her B.S. from Grand Valley State University, School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration. Rachel is passionate about local history, historic preservation, urban planning and placemaking, supporting local businesses, parks and walkable neighborhoods, Mid-Century Modern Design and Arts & Crafts Style, and urban living with her two sons Logan and Lyon Lee, her heart and soul.