UPDATE | Winter 2020

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The Intersection of Equity & Education I remember when my child was learning to read in second grade and needed extra practice. I was working long days and it was all I could do to make it through those extra 45 minutes with my student, at 8 p.m., reading and re-reading the same paragraph. We argued. There was shouting. There were tears. I think about those moments as easy compared to what parents are experiencing now. I had so many privileges: easy access to a teacher; a Reading Recovery coach; a second engaged parent in the house; a well-lit kitchen table where we could sit together;

Carrie Pickett-Erway President/CEO

and so many workbooks. What if these resources weren’t just a privilege some had access to, but accessible for all children and families? Tomorrow’s leaders are the children sitting in front of a computer screen today and they are learning in an environment we have never experienced. We know the global pandemic is intensifying the gaps between children who are supported by our country’s system and children who are denied proper resources and support. It is People of Color who are disproportionately on the receiving end of these systems failures. This is not natural order playing out; this is an injustice, and it is undermining our future. Our responsibility at KZCF is to hold both the short-term and long-term needs of our community. We are focused on the urgent needs facing Kalamazoo County residents who are made vulnerable to COVID-19 and the ever-present issues of homelessness, hunger, discrimination, and unemployment. We must also be thinking about how we rebuild a better society and ensure all children have access to the opportunities they need, regardless of identity, zip code or ability. We often reflect on the challenges my children faced learning to read. And while reading may not be their favorite thing, both of my children

UPDATE is a newsletter published three times a year by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS TEAM Sarah Lee, Director Jordan Duckens, Communications Officer Tim Smolenski, Marketing & Events Officer Lauren Boulton, Communications Coordinator CROSS-FUNCTIONAL EDITORIAL TEAM Sandy Barry-Loken Sue Bos Beth Gregory-Wallis Kururama Masomere Emily Olivares

share a love for learning. Many students in our community have the support and resources to weather these difficult days. We must ensure that the children who our systems were not designed to prioritize get what they have been denied. This is where we step up. This is where you can step in. We can make Kalamazoo County the most equitable place to live and learn.



• Give online at kalfound.org/give-now

• Kalamazoo County 501(C)(3) nonprofits

• Mail a check directly to KZCF

• Scholarships for college


LAYOUT & DESIGN Eric Schmidt, Frogsplash LLC QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Please email Sarah Lee at slee@kalfound.org.

connect KALFOUND

TRHT collaborates with community for housing equity Community members who have faced barriers to

the amount of rental application fees to the actual cost

housing in Kalamazoo now have expanded protections

of the background check process. In the event that an

on their side, with revisions to local housing ordinances

applicant is denied housing, it also asks landlords to

passed by the City of Kalamazoo in September

provide applicants with a written statement explaining

2020. Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT)

the reasons for the rejection. A Civil Rights Board has

Kalamazoo, Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action

been appointed to review allegations and violations of

in the Community (ISAAC) and a number of community

the ordinance as well as make recommendations to the

partners advocated for the changes to the ordinances,

City about changing discriminatory practices and policies.

which add protections for: • people with previous evictions • people using housing vouchers • people using a County identification card

“We are excited about the changes to the housing ordinance and believe they will help increase housing access for people of color in Kalamazoo.”

• previously incarcerated people “We are excited about the changes to the housing ordinance and believe they will help increase

Sholanna Lewis, Director of TRHT Kalamazoo

housing access for people of color in Kalamazoo,” said Sholanna Lewis, Director of TRHT Kalamazoo. “Housing insecurity particularly impacts young

“Housing is foundational and impacts the course of a person’s life, influencing everything from their health

people and the Black population in our area, so these

to the opportunities they have,” Kalamazoo City

protections have the opportunity to increase racial

Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin said. “We have studied the

equity when it comes to housing.”

positive effects of policies like this in other communities in Michigan and across the nation. It is my hope that

“Housing is foundational and impacts the course of a person’s life, influencing everything from their health to the opportunities they have.”

we will see similar improvements to housing access and life outcomes here in Kalamazoo.” In addition to the housing equity ordinance, the partnership also advocated for the Housing For All Millage that passed in November. Effective December

Patrese Griffin, Kalamazoo City Vice Mayor The previous lack of protections served to reinforce structural racism and inequality in Kalamazoo, since

2021, the millage will provide additional housing assistance programs and protect against discrimination of those who utilize those programs. The joint task force is also working on similar ordinances in other municipalities around the county.

these barriers disproportionately impact Black people

Stay updated on TRHT’s work by visiting trhtkzoo.org

and other people of color. The ordinance now limits

or following TRHT Kalamazoo on Facebook.




PANDEMIC PUTS SPOTLIGHT Kalamazoo County is home to a student population with great potential. Through the work of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s youth-focused community partnerships and Scholarship Program, KZCF gets a unique look into the drive, dreams and extraordinary achievements of our community’s youth. It’s a serious injustice that COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the barriers that keep students – especially students who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) – from getting a quality education that will help them access their full potential. While some households have the means to provide the necessary supports like regular meals, technology access and environments conducive to learning, other families do not. Imagine what would be possible if the academic potential of our students

Learning hubs across Kalamazoo were made possible by a collaboration of over 40 organizations. Chart adapted from the San Francisco DCYF Model (2020)

was not hindered by unequal access to resources? That’s why in addition to providing food, shelter and

“This collaboration of many talents and assets speaks to

personal protective equipment, KZCF prioritized

our shared commitment to closing the gap,” said Carrie

collaboration with community partners to support

Pickett-Erway, president/CEO of KZCF. “Every student is

students’ educational and emotional needs through

deserving of a quality education free from unjust barriers.”

the COVID-19 crisis.

You can support equitable access to technology for KPS

Providing equitable access to technology for virtual

students by visiting connect.kalfound.org/givenow and

learning was one major challenge the pandemic

making a gift to the Digital Access For All Fund.

presented. KZCF joined the new Digital Access For All (DAFA) partnership to provide Wi-Fi routers with unlimited Internet service – at no cost – to 1,000 households with Kalamazoo Public School students that didn’t have internet access.

Innovative learning during a pandemic This past summer, KYD Network – a collaboration of youth-serving organizations focused on building systems that support youth being college, career and community

The DAFA partnership includes Kalamazoo Public Schools,

ready by adulthood – convened to develop a plan to

Kalamazoo Public Library, The Kalamazoo Promise, KZCF

implement Community Learning Hubs. These innovative

and the City of Kalamazoo with funding provided by the

hubs are creating access to quality environments for

Foundation for Excellence and a grant from the Kalamazoo

virtual learning, in-person and afterschool programming,

Community Foundation.

mental health services and supports to families in the northside, southside, eastside and westside neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.


ON EQUITY IN EDUCATION Community Learning Hubs targeted its supports to

also supported these education-related efforts during

students who met the following criteria:

the pandemic:

• inconsistent engagement and learning • housing and food insecurity • physical or cognitive disabilities • English is a second language • limited or no consistent access to internet According to KYD Network, “By providing these supports the COVID-19 ‘slide’ will be reduced and families who are unable to fully support their child’s virtual learning will have a high quality option.

• Kalamazoo Literacy Council provided technology access for adult learners to complete unemployment applications and get connected to community resources for basic needs such as food and childcare. Funds supported continued learning as well as tutoring services. • Boys & Girls Club received support to purchase digital thermometers and technology for virtual programming. • Young Kings & Queens, an organization that provides youth with a strong support system

“[The] collaboration of many talents and assets speaks to our shared commitment to closing the gap. Every student is deserving of a quality education free from unjust barriers.” Carrie Pickett-Erway, KZCF President/CEO

and wide range of experiences that expand their worldview, used grant funds for virtual learning and technology to provide virtual social-emotional learning experiences for youth.

Prioritizing equity and education This work with community demonstrates the intersection of KZCF’s key priorities: equity and education. Individuals and communities are their best when they do not face

“We know that families with the means are hiring tutors and creating their own version of these hubs so that their children’s learning needs are fully met. COVID-19 has created greater economic disparities and has negatively impacted essential workers who must leave their children at home to navigate virtual learning on their own. This

unjust barriers to the resources that enable them to thrive. Inequity is a resource imbalance that continues to harm our community and country. KZCF believes programs that advance equity as well as improve education-related outcomes will lead to sustained individual and community prosperity.

model allows for the community to come together and

Your gift to the Community Urgent Relief fund helps move

support our most vulnerable youth.”

Kalamazoo County toward our vision of a community in

Programming began in October 2020 and will continue through the end of the school year in 2021. In addition to supporting KYDNet’s learning hubs,

which all children enter school ready to learn, are supported throughout their academic career and prepared to reach full potential. Make a gift today using the enclosed envelope or by visiting kalfound.org/give.

funds from the KZCF Community Urgent Relief Fund WINTER 2020



COVID-19 calls for philanthropy to redefine “urgency” by Kururama Masomere, KZCF Community Investment Officer EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published by Nonprofit Quarterly online, on May 19, 2020. Used with permission. Across the country, efforts to rally in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the philanthropic sector. From the time we entered crisis response mode until today, one word continues to surface in Zoom calls and webinars across the sector: “Urgency.”

“...We have to look around and see that we are in crisis, always act on this sense of crisis, and recognize that after this pandemic is over, many of our communities will continue to be in crisis. “This kind of a shift has the power and the potential to really change how philanthropy operates.”

Although it has been a breath of fresh air to watch institutions mobilize quickly and do the right thing, this question about why we are moving so fast right now

Kururama Masomere, KZCF Community Investment Officer

continued to rise to the top of my mind. Why is this moment so urgent? Underneath the answer to these questions is a much larger, deeper discussion that needs to surface in philanthropy.

History teaches us that when white people are implicated negatively in a social issue, urgency appears. What if COVID-19 did discriminate and only impacted

As a racial justice advocate and woman of color in

Black and brown folks? Would the crisis response be

philanthropy, it is clearer now than ever that our

similar in pace to the failed Hurricane Katrina response

careful, self-paced, and guarded approach to place-

and relief efforts? Maybe the Flint water crisis? Maybe

based grantmaking, the core function of a foundation’s

we can even compare it to policy responses to mass

existence in “normal” times, reveals that we never fully

incarceration, or to Hurricane Maria relief efforts

understood critical truths of racial equity work:

in Puerto Rico. We know it would not be the same,

1. Communities of color have always been in crisis. 2. R acism is THE pre-existing condition that creates the disparities we are seeing. 3. R acism is an ongoing crisis that requires urgent, on the ground, innovative strategies to reduce harm. People tend to hold a belief about what qualifies as

especially when we recall policy response efforts to the opioid crisis, which predominantly impacts white people. As long as philanthropic organizations exist, we have to look around and see that we are in crisis, always act on this sense of crisis, and recognize that after this pandemic is over, many of our communities will continue to be in crisis.

an “urgent” response, and it is almost always rooted in

This kind of a shift has the power and the potential to

white norms about what a crisis actually is and when a

really change how philanthropy operates.

nation experiences it.


Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/2JYest4

Youth Advisory Council member spotlight The Kalamazoo Community Foundation

stand alone. It’s having the compassionate drive to assist

Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is honored

somebody simply because they deserve it.

to work alongside and learn from youth leaders like Gabriella Barry, a junior at Kalamazoo Central High School. Gabby has been a member of the YAC since February 2020. What inspired you to become a member of the YAC?

What has been your favorite grant or project you’ve worked on with YAC? FIRE, a safe and open space for youth to gather and express themselves through art and poetry. FIRE supports youth, especially those with marginalized

I had previously worked on grantmaking with Youth

identities and gives them a voice and platform. FIRE’s

United Way. I wanted to continue this work because I

poetry workshop with my school’s Gender and Sexuality

found it productive and helpful for the community.

Alliance (GSA) helped me start writing through my own

What does philanthropy mean to you? It means standing up and advocating for others. Being the person willing to help someone, even when you

struggles without feeling judged. Visit kalfound.org/YAC to learn more about the YAC grantmaking.

Donors create new funds at KZCF KZCF donors established six new funds since the Spring issue of UPDATE. Other types of funds include Unrestricted Funds. These funds have been established with gifts totaling $5,000 or more. Funds can be established over time. Each gift to Love Where You Live funds accumulates, and when $5,000 in gifts have been received, the donor can choose to name the fund. ADVISED FUNDS


These funds are for donors, or family of donors, who

These funds benefit a specific nonprofit, educational

want to be actively involved with their fund:

institution or faith-based organization. Individual donors or

• BoomaLang Fund

the organization themselves may establish these funds:

• Derek E. Geerlings Fund

• AACORN Community Endowment Fund

• Koa Fund

• South County News/Sue Moore Endowed Fund

• Martha & Ted Parfet Fund FIELD OF INTEREST FUNDS These funds enable donors to focus their giving on the community issues or causes they care about most:

SCHOLARSHIP Scholarships invest primarily in post-high school education and training for traditional and non-traditional students: • Kalamazoo Public Library Amanda Green Scholarship

• Digital Access For All Fund For a complete list of KZCF funds visit kalfound.org/howtogive/listoffunds. Contact a Donor Relations Officer at 269.381.4416 to learn more on how to open a fund. SPRING 2020



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

402 East Michigan Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.381.4416 kalfound.org

Scholarships that fit your future The deadline to apply for Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) scholarships is March 1, 2021 for graduating high school seniors, current college students, and non-traditional students. No matter where you are, or where you are headed, you are an integral part of this community and KZCF wants to help you get to where you want to be. The scholarship funds at KZCF seek to recognize academic achievement as well as achievement in sports and creative arts. The Wade & Clio Van Valenburg scholarship was established by Wade Van Valkenburg, a former Kalamazoo judge, and specifically helps students with a former criminal conviction pursue further education. Believe it or not, we even have a scholarship specifically for students who are studying trout! Scholarship applications are available online at www.kalfound.org/scholarships. Not a student? Volunteer on one of our scholarship committees as an application reviewer! Learn more by connecting with our Scholarship team at scholarships@kalfound.org.