Our Team

LINC UP's work is reflective of a rich organizational culture represented by the different ideas and talents that our staff bring to the team. We take pride in the diverse history, backgrounds and skills of our staff. 

Our staff members come from four different countries, speak three different languages, and have had very divergent career and life tracks.

Interested in becoming part of the LINC UP team?  Check out the Employment page for open positions and an application.


 

Jeremy DeRoo, Executive Director

Jeremy Deroo 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 Oxford Investing Programme.

Born...

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Jeremy Deroo 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 Oxford  Investing Programme.  

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 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. 

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, training over 600 residents, improving over 750 homes and created over 120 full time jobs.  

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Darel Ross II, Co-Executive Director (on sabbatical)

Darel Ross II has been serving the Grand Rapids community his entire life. Feeling a strong connection and passion for his community in Southeast Grand Rapids, he opened an Allstate Insurance agency in the neighborhood in which he was raised. ...

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Darel Ross II has been serving the Grand Rapids community his entire life. Feeling a strong connection and passion for his community in Southeast Grand Rapids, he opened an Allstate Insurance agency in the neighborhood in which he was raised.  During this time he served as Treasurer on LINC UP's Board of Directors for six years. 

In 2008, Darel Ross was named Co-Executive Director of LINC UP. Since that time, Ross has led LINC UP in revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity to residents and grass-roots organizations. Under his leadership, Ross has helped secure over $67 million in funding for community improvement efforts resulting in over 300 families increasing their assets, training over 600 residents, improving over 750 homes and creating over 120 full-time jobs.  

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LaKiya Thompson-Jenkins, Outcomes Manager

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a product of Creston High School, LaKiya has always had a desire to positively impact her community. She joined LINC in 2010 as a Community Liaison for the Believe 2 Become movement and...

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Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a product of Creston High School, LaKiya has always had a desire to positively impact her community.  She joined LINC in 2010 as a Community Liaison for the Believe 2 Become movement and has served in several positions including Special Projects Manager where she lended leadership and management capacity to multiple community planning projects, as well as restaurant management and event planning. LaKiya now serves as Outcome Manager where her role is catalytic in ensuring the smooth implementation, quality and impact of LINC UP projects, events and initiaitives. LaKiya is the mother of one son, Marcus Jenkins II, and a graduate of Davenport University with a Bachelors in Business Administration.

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Noemi Morales, Event Coordinator

Noemi Morales graduated with a degree in Arts and Sciences from the University of Michigan. Soon after, she began working for FOX 17 News and the Grand Rapids Public Schools....

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Noemi Morales graduated with a degree in Arts and Sciences from the University of Michigan. Soon after, she began working for FOX 17 News and the Grand Rapids Public Schools. It was during that time that she discovered her affinity for working with children and families. In the years that followed, she managed afterschool programs, coordinated family resources and produced promotional videos for non-profits. As the Event Coordinator for LINC Up, Noemi engages the community by connecting them to opportunities. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends when she’s not busy running her son to football practices, games and afterschool activities.

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Marie Tiemersma Eakin, Communications Coordinator

Marie grew up in the Chicago area raised by Grand Rapids-born parents. She came to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College and stayed, working in local and global social justice. She holds a BA in International Development and plans to pursue...

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Marie grew up in the Chicago area raised by Grand Rapids-born parents. She came to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College and stayed, working in local and global social justice. She holds a BA in International Development and plans to pursue a Masters in Art and Design. Marie loves her husband Chris, their cat, Scandinavian design, and clever word play.

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Eric Brown, Finance Director

Mauricio Minero, Finance Assistant

Mauricio was born in El Salvador, Central America, and moved to the United States in 1985. Before joining LINC UP, Mauricio has worked in all fields of production in the manufacturing area as well as an accounting assistant, administrative...

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Mauricio was born in El Salvador, Central America, and moved to the United States in 1985. Before joining LINC UP, Mauricio has worked in all fields of production in the manufacturing area as well as an accounting assistant, administrative assistant and benefits eligibility worker. He is the type of person who would roll up his sleeves and assist others. He came to Grand Rapids so he could continue to be a good parent to his son, who is the most important thing in his life.
 

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Sharonda Bridgeforth, Operations Coordinator

Sharonda joined the LINC UP team in September of 2015 as the Neighborhood Services Project Assistant, and then moved to the role of Operations Coordinator in April of 2016. In this role, she works to identify and create resolutions...

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Sharonda joined the LINC UP team in September of 2015 as the Neighborhood Services Project Assistant, and then moved to the role of Operations Coordinator in April of 2016.  In this role, she works to identify and create resolutions for internal organizational conflict areas while assisting with the organizing and synchronization of the activities and functions of the departments within LINC UP.  Sharonda graduated with a B.A. in Public and Non-profit Administration with an emphasis in Community Development from Grand Valley State University.  When not at work, she enjoys hiking, shopping, reading and volunteering in the Grand Rapids community.

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Javier Cervantes, Community Liaison

Javier joined the LINC UP team in the Summer of 2015. Javier is a Community Liaison, engaging the community and connecting people with LINC UP's resources and opportunitites. Javier was born and raised in Grand Rapids and currently...

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Javier joined the LINC UP team in the Summer of 2015.  Javier is a Community Liaison, engaging the community and connecting people with LINC UP's resources and opportunitites. Javier was born and raised in Grand Rapids and currently attends GRCC to pursue an Associate's Degree in Child Development. When not at work, Javier likes to spend quality time with his family and friends and enjoys the sun.
 

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Jacklyn Hernandez, Community Liaison

Jackie started at LINC UP in July of 2015 as the Front Desk Receptionist where she was responsible for connecting incoming residents and neighbors with the appropriate LINC UP person, department or source that can assist. In her new role...

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Jackie started at LINC UP in July of 2015 as the Front Desk Receptionist where she was responsible for connecting incoming residents and neighbors with the appropriate LINC UP person, department or source that can assist. In her new role as Community Liaison, Jackie still works to connect residents to opportunites and speicifically seeks to get them more involved civically.  She strives to provide exceptional service to all that walk through the door! When not at LINC, Jackie is a student and volunteer at different organizations - providing help where she can. She loves to read, spend time with her family and friends and just create memories by doing fun and sometimes random things! 

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Montel Pierre, Community Liaison

Lyonel LaGrone, Policy Liaison

Lyonel LaGrone joined LINC Up in May 2017 as the Policy Liaison. Lyonel comes to LINC with 18 years of local and national civil rights, civic engagement and public policy experience. He began his career in 1997 as the Investigations...

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Lyonel LaGrone joined LINC Up in May 2017 as the Policy Liaison. Lyonel comes to LINC with 18 years of local and national civil rights, civic engagement and public policy experience.  He began his career in 1997 as the Investigations Coordinator with the Fair Housing Center of Greater Grand Rapids (currently FHCWM). He gained experience in the Washington, D.C. area in a number of local and national private organizations, including two notable local government organizations: The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights and the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights. Lyonel was also selected to lead national civil rights investigative, compliance and policy projects at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and The Equal Rights Center.  
As an educator, Lyonel has taught courses at the Financial Literacy Foundation and the Institute for Policy Studies and currently serves as a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Muskegon Community College. Lyonel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from Aquinas College and a Masters of Business Administration from Strayer University (Washington, DC). He is currently studying to earn a second Masters degree in Christian Apologetics from Luther Rice College and Seminary.  
 

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Fernanda Muñoz, Receptionist

Fernanda Muñoz started working for LINC Up back in the summer of 2012 and 2013 through the I Believe I Become program while in high school. After high school she explored other career options but found her rightful path back to LINC...

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Fernanda Muñoz started working for LINC Up back in the summer of 2012 and 2013 through the I Believe I Become program while in high school. After high school she explored other career options but found her rightful path back to LINC Up. She is now starting as a Receptionist and is excited for bigger opportunities with LINC Up. Aside from helping her community she wishes to become a successful cosmetologist; doing make-up and hair is one of her biggest passions in life. Fernanda is a very independent young lady who wants to lead and inspire other young ladies in her community that anything in life is possible, you just have to work hard, dream big and never give up.

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Alisa White, Property Manager

Lisa started at LINC in February of 2007 processing loans and handling general office duties. Since 2007 she has held multiple roles in the organization has worked in just about every department - always helping out where she is needed....

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Lisa started at LINC in February of 2007 processing loans and handling general office duties. Since 2007 she has held multiple roles in the organization has worked in just about every department - always helping out where she is needed.  Currently Alisa is Property Manager in the Rental Department. Her position entails overseeing the Rental Deparment as well as the Maintenance team. She also works closely with our partner management company to make sure everything is running smoothly in our housing and apartment units.  Outside of LINC she loves spending time with her family and especially her grandson. She believes he was truly a gift from God to make us all smile and laugh.

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Allen Young, Maintenance Coordinator

Allen Young, "Mr. Allen," joined the LINC UP team in July of 2011. He is in charge of oversight of all building maintenance and tenant orders. He supervises the Maintenance Technician team as well as handles vendor...

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Allen Young, "Mr. Allen," joined the LINC UP team in July of 2011.  He is in charge of oversight of all building maintenance and tenant orders.  He supervises the Maintenance Technician team as well as handles vendor relations.  Mr. Allen also handles the electronic building systems maintenance, supply and inventory management as well as custodial and groundwork duties and oversight.  He enjoys lawn work and landscaping, reading, traveling and spending time with his family when is not at work.

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Charles Maze, Maintenance

Charles joined the LINC UP team in July of 2014 as a Maintenance Technician. His responsibilities range from A/C repair, plumbing, electrical work, drywall repair to troubleshooting appliances, re-decking apartments and other general...

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Charles joined the LINC UP team in July of 2014 as a Maintenance Technician.  His responsibilities range from A/C repair, plumbing, electrical work, drywall repair to troubleshooting appliances, re-decking apartments and other general maintenance duties.  Charles has worked in the field for 18 years, and earned his electrical certificate in 1994.  Charles enjoys fishing when he is not working around LINC.

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Jamar Booker, Maintenance

Jamar joined LINC UP in early 2015 as part of the Maintenance team. Jamar's position includes groundskeeping as well as taking care of our LINC UP buildings both inside and out. Jamar was born in Grand Rapids and attended...

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Jamar joined LINC UP in early 2015 as part of the Maintenance team.  Jamar's position includes groundskeeping as well as taking care of our LINC UP buildings both inside and out.  Jamar was born in Grand Rapids and attended Alabama A&M University. In his free time Jamar loves motorcycle riding and fishing.

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Stephanie Gingerich, Real Estate Manager

Stephanie has been with LINC UP since June of 2011. Her role as a Real Estate Manager is to facilitate high quality construction and rehabilitation of affordable residential and commercial spaces to revitalize the neighborhoods...

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Stephanie has been with LINC UP since June of 2011.  Her role as a Real Estate Manager is to facilitate high quality construction and rehabilitation of affordable residential and commercial spaces to revitalize the neighborhoods we serve. Stephanie is from Topeka, Kansas, but lived and worked on the South side of Chicago for ten years earning a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and working for a nonprofit planning and housing developer before relocating to Michigan. When not at work, she likes to spend time with family and friends, get active outdoors, read and travel.
 

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Lewis Williams, LINC UP Café Manager

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lewis has been in the restaurant business nearly his whole life. Early on he gravitated to the front of the house but was always intentional to learn everything about the food business that he possibly could...

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A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lewis has been in the restaurant business nearly his whole life. Early on he gravitated to the front of the house but was always intentional to learn everything about the food business that he possibly could so to never put himself in a box.

In 1999 Lewis relocated to Grand Rapids to continue his dream of being a leader in the restaurant industry. Since coming to Grand Rapids Lewis has successful managed 5 restaurant and bars including Sierra Room, Bar Divani and Louis Benton Steak House. 

Lewis loves how universal food is and enjoys working with others, meeting new people and putting together creative products for all to enjoy.

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1167 Madison Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49507
p: 616.451.9140 f: 616.451.0615 e: info@lincrev.org

©2015 LINC UP - a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization 

  

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