By Kayla Sosa
Gather GR is an organization looking to bring women together and support them in any way, co-created and run by Leigh Rapaport and Caitlin Grant.
“The basic idea is bringing women together in a way that feels genuine,” Rapaport said. “You can do some networking without feeling pressured to sell yourself on what you do, but more about making real connections with people.”
Rapaport grew up in Grand Rapids, moved away, and when she returned, she noticed that while everyone was polite in social settings, they usually stuck to their own groups. She didn’t want others to feel left out, so she and Grant created Gather GR to bridge those gaps between women.
“I just wanted to create a space where people could come to either bring their friends and meet new people or if they don’t know anyone, come and meet new people,” Rapaport expressed..
Both Grant and Rapaport emphasize that Gather GR is about more than just getting women to meet; it’s about supporting them in each of their journeys.
“Elevating women is something both Leigh and I felt really passionate about,” Grant said. “Both of us moved around enough to understand how challenging it can be to try to find your place to fit.”
One of the ways that Gather intentionally supports women is through their pop-up events that highlight a women-owned businesses.
“We connect with other women-owned businesses in the area either to highlight events that they already have for their businesses or to partner with them either to create an experience in their space or to find another location to create an experience.”
A recent event highlighted women-owned businesses, as Anna VanAgtmael from Wandering Roots, a wellness program, led a meditation and yoga class at local portrait boutique Mod Bettie, owned by Elise Kutt.
To get involved and learn about more events hosted by Gather, follow them on Instagram at @gather_gr, on Facebook @GatherGrandRapids and their website, gather-gr.com.