Anna's story

In 1998, Anna Rapa, our founder and director, began to work with inner-city children living in Grand Rapids. Eventually, she moved into the city and lived in a house managed by a slum landlord. During that time, she received medical care from the same clinics as her neighbors. She volunteered in elementary and secondary schools, visited her neighbors’ homes, and did crisis intervention on the streets with the mentally ill homeless. Anna heard gunshots in the night, and saw drug deals on the sidewalk outside of her apartment. She was on the front lines, experiencing the oppression and injustice that the poor and helpless in our communities experience on a daily basis.

There came a time when Anna was no longer content to offer solutions to one at-risk student or one family at a time. Her experiences in the inner-city and her extensive travels in the third world led her to conclude that the problems she saw were bigger than just one student or one family. Whole structures of our community, government, and culture create barriers to peoples’ access to, and experience of justice.

So, in 2005, Anna began law school. As Anna interacted with other students there, and at undergraduate institutions, she realized that the coming generations are impassioned for justice. Unfortunately, in many cases, they do not have the tools or the life experience to find solutions to the problems of injustice. As she explored injustice from a legal perspective, she realized that justice must be sought by whole generations of people over a broad range of disciplines.

In 2007, as Anna finished law school, she formed a Michigan nonprofit corporation, seeking like-minded people to join her. In 2008, The Carter-Alexander Institute received its preliminary 501(c)(3) status from the federal government.