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update kalamazoo community foundation | spring 2017

education reconnection How a Kalamazoo-based program built on relationships helps students get back on track page 4

There’s no doubt the leadership change in Washington will affect our local community. In fact, it already has. While every transition in the White House comes with some degree of change and uncertainty, this one seems unprecedented in many ways. One thing we want to share with our local stakeholders and partners is that our role, our priorities, and our care for this community will not waver. We remain committed to our core value of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our journey began when we implemented our Diversity Policy in the early 2000s. We stepped deeper into this work when we revised our vision statement to focus on building a community where every person can reach full potential. Last year, “resident legal status” was added to the list of identities to be included in our work and that of our community partners, per our Inclusion Statement.

Carrie Pickett-Erway President/CEO

We stretch further every day, learning from you, our community. And we will continue to serve as one of your local philanthropic partners committed to making Kalamazoo a welcoming community for all. Our mission, vision and values require us to take positions on issues, while recognizing the limitations we have as a nonprofit organization. Many of our nonprofit partners have new concerns about the changes in Washington. Worries are mounting about decreases in funding, major policy changes in education, and members of the greater Kalamazoo area’s LGBTQ and immigrant communities losing their rights. We will always be committed to our community, investing in programs that serve our most vulnerable residents, educating policy makers, and working with donors to leverage their gifts for the greater good.




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What we fund We fund 501(c)(3) nonprofits for projects that fit within our community investment priorities and will benefit residents of Kalamazoo County. We also provide Kalamazoo area students with scholarships for education beyond high school.




Mail a check Kalamazoo Community Foundation 402 East Michigan Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3888 Arrange a planned gift There are many ways for you to plan now for a gift later. To learn more, get in touch with our Donor Relations team at 269.381.4416 or

What we don’t fund We don’t fund for-profit business development projects, private land purchases or private home purchases. Learn more at



Talking about the curse of racism It’s an overwhelming curse, older than this country, with threads woven through the fabric of society. One evening of talk didn’t cure racism. No one expected it to. But Kalamazoo’s Day of Healing event in January brought out a capacity crowd of community members willing to talk about the curse — and that was a good sign, event speakers and organizers say. The National Day of Racial Healing was sparked by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Initiative.

SHARE’s Jacob Piney-Johnson leads a conversation on racism at the National Day of Racial Healing event in Kalamazoo on January 17. The event was presented by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, Black Arts & Cultural Center, Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, ISAAC, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, SHARE and Welcoming Michigan, in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Photo by Jacqueline Luttrell.

in organizing to really address the

at the national level and,

illness of racism. But to see folks

specifically, on the local level.”

come out, to be in solidarity, to communicate and converse with each other about the topic ... It felt

The exact target of the TRHT initiative

like a spark for me,” he says about

is the belief in a “hierarchy of human

the Kalamazoo event.

value,” WKKF press materials state. “This absurd belief, which has fueled racism throughout American culture, is the perception of inferiority or superiority based on race, physical characteristics, or place of origin.”

“The complexity of the issue is huge.” The TRHT guidelines break the issue down into areas of the economy, law, narrative change, separation and racial healing. “That’s one of the things I appreciate

Jacob Piney-Johnson, a

about the initiative,” he says. “It’s a

representative of SHARE (Society

multi-faceted approach.”

for History and Racial Equity) was among eight Kalamazoo activists who attended a TRHT summit in December.

For the next step, he hopes for sessions that are “really looking into the future. What does a society look like,” he says, “when it moves beyond hierarchy, as a concept of human identity?” Work will continue, he says. The TRHT is still organizing in Kalamazoo, with the next event to be announced. There have been, and continue to be, monthly events by anti-racism groups, Piney-Johnson reminds us. “The work of racial justice happens

Piney-Johnson hopes these talks “on

on many fronts, and it really has to

a basic level, tell the truth about the

be a holistic approach.”

history and build relationships with folks, and then go down deeper and

“It’s not a one-time event; it’s really

really do some unpacking of that

going to take some long-term effort

iceberg. See what’s really going on

This story by Mark Wedel is abridged and reprinted with permission of Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave. You can read the full story online at




Education ReConnection: Helping students get back on track Parchment student Hector needed

needed a more flexible schedule to

a smaller classroom setting to be

help her balance school and family life.

successful in school. Suzanne, a

Once these barriers were removed,

Portage student, was struggling in her high school classes due to anxiety and lack of acceptance by her fellow students. Galesburg’s Alexandria



Hector succeeded in school, found employment, earned his diploma and today is attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College while working a


Our program is built on relationships, with a holistic approach. Karen Carlisle Youth Opportunities Unlimited

full-time manufacturing job. Suzanne

in their studies and get them back

— a paid work experience teaching

was exposed to several career

on track for their diploma,” says

students what future employers

options and is working at a retail

Karen Carlisle, director of Y.O.U.

want. Classroom instruction is paired

store while pursuing her diploma.

“Our program is built on relationships,

with job scenarios to help students

Alexandria has been able to care for

with a holistic approach.”

see the relevance of classroom

her child while working to complete her education.

Onika Powell, the diploma program’s

applications in the workplace.

lead teacher, explains how classes are

Carlisle and Powell both delight in

What do all these students have

built around the student’s schedules

Education ReConnection’s many

in common? The barriers they faced

and learning needs with one-on-one

success stories and the alumni who

were eliminated by Education

counseling and tutoring.

return to share their experiences with

ReConnection’s high school diploma program offered by Kalamazoo RESA’s Youth

“Students are here for a minimum of four hours each day, working

students. They talk about special moments when everything just clicks.

the other part of the day,” she says.

Jamie, a Portage student, gained

“Here they have smaller classes,

work experience at Boys & Girls Club

Kalamazoo Community

personalized learning, flexible

of Greater Kalamazoo; toured local

Foundation has funded this

schedules, year-round schooling,

colleges; and is making plans for her

innovative program since it began.

and relevant instruction to their

future as a pediatrician, nurse

Education ReConnection is over

individual needs.”

or veterinarian.

According to Powell, the program

Pax, a Parchment student, is getting

offers a blend of online lessons

ready to graduate and is working in

and assessments, inquiry-based

Kalamazoo RESA’s tech department,

teaching and direct instruction.

with plans to study writing, computer

Opportunities Unlimited.

seven years old, while Y.O.U. just celebrated its 55th anniversary. Recent funding from the Community Foundation made it possible to include all nine Kalamazoo RESA school districts in the program.

Work-based learning

Flexible class schedule

Academic barriers aren’t the only

Education ReConnection’s mission is to reconnect with students who have

ones being dismantled through Education ReConnection.

disengaged from their schools. There

A critical element of the program is its

are currently 21 students, ages 16 to

emphasis on connecting education

22, attending classes year-round at

to employment, says Carlisle. When

Y.O.U in downtown Kalamazoo.

not in class, students are busy with

“Our goal is to re-engage students

career-readiness training, career exploration and work-based learning

science or graphic design. Skyler, from Galesburg, was promoted to Trainer after less than a year of honing his customerservice skills at McDonald’s and will attend KVCC. “We’ve been in the community for so long, people and businesses know us,” says Carlisle. “Education and careers go hand-in-hand.”




Grantmaking highlights 21 GRANTS AWARDED IN FINAL GRANTMAKING ROUND OF 2016 We make community investments in quality programs we believe will make Kalamazoo County a place where every person can reach full potential. We awarded 21 grants totaling $769,030 to Kalamazoo County nonprofits in our final grantmaking round of 2016. • AACORN Farm Vocational Program • ABCDance • Air Zoo Galaxy Trekkers • Black Arts and Cultural Center • Bronson Health Foundation / Frequent User Support Engagement • CARES • Community Promise Federal Credit Union • Eastside Youth Strong

• Ecumenical Senior Center • Education ReConnection • Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan • Gryphon Place Youth Suicide Prevention • Justice for our Neighbors • Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity • Local Initiatives Support Corporation • Open Doors Kalamazoo • Out Front Kalamazoo • Portage Community Center • Prevention Works, Inc. • SHARE • YWCA of Kalamazoo Local nonprofits also received grants and distributions from Advised, Field-of-Interest and Designated Funds.

Kalamazoo Community Foundation Investment Performance FOURTH QUARTER 2016 Qtr 4


3 Yrs

5 Yrs

7 Yrs

10 Yrs





























Core Assets Moderate Growth Performance

Income and Growth Performance

Investment performance is net of manager fees and derived from core Kalamazoo Community Foundation assets allocated into its two investment strategies. Historic performance for each is then derived from linkages to prior quarterly returns. Performance reflects prior changes in asset allocations while benchmarks assume current allocations. The Moderate Growth Benchmark is a staged index composite benchmark that has the current composition of the Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (15 percent); Barclays US Treasury 5-10 Yr TR USD (10 percent); DJ US Select REIT index (2.5 percent); MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index (10 percent); MSCI Emerging Markets Value index (10 percent); Russell 1000 Value index (5 percent); Russell 2000 Value index (10 percent); Russell Micro Cap index (5 percent); S&P 500 index (30 percent); and the NCREIF Fund Index ODCE (2.5 percent). The Income and Growth Benchmark consists of the S&P 500 index (50 percent) and the Barclays US Aggregate Bond index (50 percent).



Deed Shepherd died in 2005 TODAY SHE’S HELPING KALAMAZOO AREA GIRLS LEAD JOYFUL, CONFIDENT LIVES Deed Shepherd was a joyful, confident woman who loved where she lived: Kalamazoo. She also loved Kalamazoo’s young people. Their zest for life only added to her own. Thanks to a bequest she left to the Community Foundation, thousands of Kalamazoo County girls who participate in Girls on the Run learn how to embrace who they are, define who they want to be, rise to any challenge and change the world. We can help you show your love for Kalamazoo and leave a legacy too. Contact a member of our Donor Relations team or visit to learn how.

Our Donor Relations Team Every day you make choices about how you use your money. Our team is here to help you think about the choices you make related to charitable giving and take your giving to the next level — to make your philanthropy as personal, meaningful and fulfilling as possible. Raven Britt 269.585.7273 /

Ann Fergemann 269.585.7238 /

Coby Chalmers 269.585.7249 /

Julie Loncharte 269.585.7270 /

Joanna Donnelly Dales 269.585.7260 /




Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage paid Kalamazoo, MI Permit Number 66

402 East Michigan Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3888 269.381.4416

Jack and Charlene Sauer: Focus on your goal Jack and Charlene Sauer were both raised with the expectation that they would go on to college. Charlene was fortunate to finance her Western Michigan University education with a scholarship, support from her family and a job in her dormitory as a switchboard operator. Jack paid his own way at Michigan State University, working through both undergraduate and graduate studies. Jack admits he became discouraged because all the hours of work made it difficult to find time to study. However,

a radio broadcast he heard between his first and second years in veterinary school encouraged him to focus on his goal. The Sauers were familiar with the Community Foundation through Jack’s 42-year tenure on the Schoolcraft Community Schools Board of Education and through the establishment of the Schoolcraft Community Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation. Believing it is important for students to have a goal in mind that will lead them to a fulfilling career, the Sauers worked with their financial planner and the Community Foundation’s Donor Relations team to establish the Dr. Jack and Charlene Sauer Scholarship. The scholarship is for Schoolcraft High School graduating seniors with financial need who plan to seek vocational or technical training or a two- or four-year degree at a Michigan educational institution. The Sauers hope it will help students focus on their goals and succeed.

Update | Spring 2017  
Update | Spring 2017  

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation's quarterly newsletter