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Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring: A perfect formula to main the interests of the Capitalist Class in West Michigan

November 14, 2021

Last week, both of the local business papers – Grand Rapids Business Journal and MiBiz, published articles celebrating the 11th year of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring (JEM). 

Named after a member of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, Michael Jandernoa, the articles in both business presses covered two main themes. The first theme addressed more of the mission of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring. Early on in the Grand Rapids Business Journal article, CEO and founder Michael Jandernoa is quoted as saying:

Our goal has always been to develop better leaders that would in turn build stronger businesses. Because if we have stronger businesses and leaders, it will benefit West Michigan community members for generations to come.”

Naturally, the reporter for the GRBJ does not question the goal of the mentoring program, particularly how strong businesses benefit community members for generations ton come. I would agree that some members will benefit for generations to come, but most people are not better off because there are strong businesses. 

West Michigan is known to have a significant entrepreneurial history, yet large portions of the population have not benefited from strong businesses. The poverty levels have been hovering between 20 – 30% overall since the beginning of the 1960s. These numbers have been higher for BIPOC communities, with 30 – 40% living in poverty.

These statistical dynamics are consistent with what the CEO and Founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring program, Michael Jandernoa, has been involved with for the past four decades. 

Michael Jandernoa has been the CEO of numerous companies in West Michigan over the years, such a Perrigo and 42 North Partners. In addition to making significant profits for the shareholders of these companies, Jandernoa has been deeply involved in furthering the political ideology of the Capitalist Class. Jandernoa has done this in three ways.

  • First, Michael Jandernoa has been a significant campaign contributor to Republic candidates running for local, state and federal officers. In an article published on the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Jandernoa had contributed $592,000 in 2017 for the 2018 election cycle, making him the 15th largest contributor in the State of Michigan at that time.
  • Second, Jandernoa sits on the boards of key organizations that influence both economic and public policy in West Michigan, such as the West Michigan Policy Forum, Business Leaders for Michigan and Spectrum Health. 
  • Third, like many of the other members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, Jandernoa has his own foundation, the Jandernoa Foundation. The Jandernoa Foundation provides funding to entities that are ideologically aligned with his interests as a member of the Capitalist Class, meaning they either promote the same goals or they provide charity, which never disrupts power.

The second major theme of the articles in the local business press have to do with the fact that Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring is now offering their mentoring services to non-profit directors. Well, not all non-profit directors, only those who have a budget of $2.5 million or more. 

The Grand Rapids Business Journal lists three non-profits that have already had their CEOs or members of the administrative staff, which have participated in the Jandernoa mentoring program – Mel Trotter Ministries, Kids Food Basket and The Storehouse. What is consistent with all three of these non-profits, is the fact that none of them address root causes of poverty or inequality, plus they all practice in a form of White Saviorism. 

Therefore, what Michael Jandernoa and Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring have accomplished is what other successful members of the Capitalist class have achieved. Jandernoa and his mentoring program have achieved the perfect formula of making massive profits for a small sector of society, then use part of that wealth to influence public policy and to fund non-profits, which will never disrupt the wealth gap in their community, but provide just enough charity to pacify people who, if organized, would be the biggest threat to the Capitalist Class.

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