Imagine a vibrant, prosperous, and equitable city, where people want to live, work, and raise families. Imagine being a more beautiful and livable city each year, more innovative and connected. Imagine having more jobs and less poverty, and providing young people with the jump-starts they need in life.

Structural budget challenges have for many years impeded the City’s effort to make its vision a reality. The Foundation For Excellence is a unique innovation by the City of Kalamazoo and private donors to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city. The Foundation provides millions of dollars each year to stabilize the city’s budget, lower its property tax rate, and invest in aspirational community projects. A community fundraising effort will be launched to create a fully endowed foundation that can sustain this funding in perpetuity.

The Foundation’s financial model is being structured in such a way as to do the most good with the most efficient use of resources possible. The Foundation will work to establish strategic partnerships with organizations whose mission and work aligns with the goals and objectives of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan, the Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo plan, and the City of Kalamazoo. These plans are built around the City’s deep investment in broad community involvement and collaboration. Each reflects a pathway to improve life for all residents of Kalamazoo. 

Make a donation to the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

Please note that because the Foundation for Excellence is incorporated as a supporting organization to the City of Kalamazoo, IRA rollover contributions can be accepted but will not be tax deductible.

News

  • Small Businesses Receive $ 1.12M Through Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund

    From restaurants to retailers, Kalamazoo small businesses are tapping a financial lifeline to help them deal with the economic impact of COVID-19. Thus far, the Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund (KSBLF) has approved 63 low-interest loans totaling 395,120,600. The fund was created earlier this month through a partnership of the City of Kalamazoo and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR). “Small businesses are both the economic lifeblood of our community and the first to feel the negative effects of the pandemic,” said Chris Sargent, President and CEO of UWBCKR, which is managing the fund. “KSBLF loans Read More
  • FFE Board of Directors to Hold Annual Meeting on April 27 at 2pm

    The annual meeting of the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence (FFE) Board of Directors will take place on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. This meeting will be conducted electronically in order for members, staff, and the public to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order No. 2020-42, “Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” Accessing the Meeting This meeting will be streamed live on the City’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KalamazooCity/) and YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIgXSSXLSDxThVaaiRMsR5Q). Members of the public without computer or internet access can listen to the meeting by calling 269.552.6425 and entering the following Read More
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Document Library

The FFE strives to maintain the highest ethical standards and maximum transparency in everything it does. All meetings are announced in advance and open to the public subject to Open Meetings Act. In 2018, the Board of Directors unanimously approved core governance policies, including those regarding conflicts of interest, diversity and equal opportunity, financial accountability, and whistleblower protections.

An open document library including all policies and documents is available below.

Foundation for Excellence Document Library

 

Newsletters and Reports

The Foundation for Excellences also produces a newsletter each year highlighting some of the projects and programs that it supports, and an annual report that provides financial information and other required disclosures. These are available in the document library and the most recent publication is embedded below. 

Board of Directors

The FFE bylaws establish a 15-member Board of Directors. Ten members are stakeholder directors, each representing a community interest such as healthcare, education, or business. Five are City Directors, representing the City of Kalamazoo generally. These members include the Mayor, City Manager, two City Commissioners, and one At-Large representative from the city. Stakeholder and At-Large terms rotate every three years while City Directors serve for the duration of their employment or elected service. A significant initiative is undertaken to cultivate a Board that is largely representative of the community and that will add unique insights about every facet of Kalamazoo.

The FFE’s bylaws state that one-third of board positions expire each year, meaning there are opportunities annually for everyone in the community to participate. Board members are responsible for attending at least three meetings per year and contributing to the responsible and transparent operation of the foundation. There are no requirements on previous board membership or restrictions on who can apply, (though an overall percentage of city residents is required). Positions expire on June 30 each year and vacancies are announced along with application instructions in December.

Current Membership

Dr. Angela Graham-Williams, President David Anderson Jeanne Hess Charlene Taylor
James K. Ritsema, President Sandra Calderon-Huezo Stephanie Hoffman Jack C. Urban
Adam McFarlin, Treasurer Alisa Carrel Rachel Lonberg Von Washington, Jr.
Barbara Hamilton-Miller, Secretary Nathan Dannison Alice Taylor Bobby J. Hopewell, Emeritus

Foundation for Excellence Staff

 

The City employs five full time positions to manage the governance of the foundation and administer its programs in collaboration with department staff and community partners. These positions includes Deputy City Manager Laura Lam, Foundation for Excellence Manager Steve Brown, Youth Development Coordinator Chad Wendt, Neighborhood Activator Katie Reilly, Shared Prosperity Coordinator Kevin Ford, and a Grants Specialist position.  

 

The initial roster of draft policies and committee descriptions proposed by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in the fall of 2017 in their role as governance facilitator was taken up by FFE Board members over the winter of 2018. The roster contained drafts for policies and committee descriptions that were either legally required for, or widely recognized as central to, the correct operation of a 501c3 non-profit, as well as policies that staff and the governance facilitator sought out to strengthen and further secure operations in perpetuity. Each document with the exception of the Freedom of Information Act policy and summary, which was produced by the City Attorney, was reviewed and edited by at least two City staff members familiar with each subject area.

Those drafts were presented to Board members in the official Board Binders at the February 2018 orientation meetings, where they were introduced by staff and discussed. In order to prepare for final drafting and adoption of policies and committee descriptions at the 2018 annual board meeting, staff then sent a board review roster to Directors on behalf of President Hopewell in an email on April 19, 2018. The annual meeting offered adequate time for discussion, final revision and adoption by formal vote. It was noted that the Investment Policy was a separate informational item at the annual meeting and that the Finance Committee would be given a period of one year to thoroughly explore a range of investment policies and policy choices in order to bring a report before the board at the  2019 annual meeting. Certain policies and descriptions were taken up for further work by the Finance Committee at its July 16 and August 23, 2018, meetings, when they were recommended for presentation to the Board at its October meeting. These documents were also presented to the Executive Committee as informational items at the committee's October 3, 2018, meeting to be added to this agenda.

The initial roster of draft policies and committee descriptions proposed by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in the fall of 2017 in their role as governance facilitator was taken up by FFE Board members over the winter of 2018. The roster contained drafts for policies and committee descriptions that were either legally required for, or widely recognized as central to, the correct operation of a 501c3 non-profit, as well as policies that staff and the governance facilitator sought out to strengthen and further secure operations in perpetuity.

Each document with the exception of the Freedom of Information Act policy and summary, which was produced by the City Attorney, was reviewed and edited by at least two City staff members familiar with each subject area. Those drafts were presented to Board members in the official Board Binders at the February 2018 orientation meetings, where they were introduced by staff and discussed. In order to prepare for final drafting and adoption of policies and committee descriptions at the 2018 annual board meeting, staff then sent a board review roster to Directors on behalf of President Hopewell in an email on April 19, 2018. The annual meeting offered adequate time for discussion, final revision and adoption by formal vote. It was noted that the Investment Policy was a separate informational item at the annual meeting and that the Finance Committee would be given a period of one year to thoroughly explore a range of investment policies and policy choices in order to bring a report before the board at the 2019 annual meeting.

Certain policies and descriptions were taken up for further work by the Finance Committee at its July 16 and August 23, 2018, meetings, when they were recommended for presentation to the Board at its October meeting. These documents were also presented to the Executive Committee as informational items at the committee's October 3, 2018, meeting to be added to this agenda.

You can view the approved Policies and Descriptions pdf here (442 KB) .

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.

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     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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