Bates Place was established in direct response to the specific needs and ministry opportunities in the neighboring urban community. Demographic information from the 2010 census confirms a high level of poverty, unemployment, and other indicators of need within the Bates Place Neighborhood (bounded by Division Avenue, Wealthy Street, Fuller Avenue, and Hall Street):
Bates Place began in 2006 as an outgrowth of the diaconal ministry of First Church. First Church, located at 650 Bates Street SE in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. Bates Place was incorporated in 2011 as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.