Kauffman Foundation's local roots must be deep
The Kansas City Star
Some positive changes have occurred this week in leadership at Kansas City’s biggest and most influential foundation.
Those now in charge — President and CEO Tom McDonnell and board chairman Jan Kreamer — must provide strong guidance for the $1.8 billion Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as it strives to meet essential goals.
Primarily, the organization should stay true to Ewing Kauffman’s priorities of improving urban education and fostering entrepreneurial success.
But the foundation also must better communicate with Kansas Citians about how it spends time — and money — on critical programs to bolster this region.
Fortunately, McDonnell and Kreamer have long, positive histories of civic involvement.
“We’re passionate about Kansas City and the things we are investing in locally,” Kreamer said Thursday. McDonnell agreed; both pointed out that the foundation has long spent about two-thirds of its funds on Kansas City causes.
McDonnell said the national recognition Kauffman has received has helped it open doors in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere as it has advocated for certain causes.
Still, the importance of Kauffman’s local roots must be emphasized in the future. For instance, the foundation’s still-growing charter school is being closely watched. Civic leaders are looking for the keys to operating urban schools that consistently raise educational achievements.
If the foundation shows the way to do that, Kansas City would benefit greatly.