City Year Kansas City A Startup Story

July 2015 marked the beginning of City Year Kansas City’s startup year. Sixteen City Year AmeriCorps members are currently serving in two Kansas City public schools (Central Middle School in the Kansas City Public School District and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Charter School), focusing on two primary initiatives to improve:

  1. Student attendance

  2. Behavior and course performance in math and English

City Year Kansas City has 6 full-time staff members, all of which are City Year and/or AmeriCorps alums. In addition, five out of six of the staff are originally from the Kansas City area, which adds an additional layer of passion and excitement among the staff about founding City Year in their hometown.

It was a two-year journey to bring City Year to Kansas City and the process included securing letters of support from 25 local champions, confirming financial pledges from many of the city’s top companies and foundations, and collaborating with local schools, districts and education nonprofits. Without these companies, organizations, schools and individuals, City Year Kansas City would not exist. A special thank you goes out to City Year Kansas City’s founding sponsors:

  • The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

  • Hall Family Foundation

  • Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation

  • JE Dunn Construction

  • Sosland Foundation

  • Hunt Family Foundation/Chiefs

  • Baum Family Foundation

  • Brandmeyer Family Foundation

  • Polsinelli

  • John and Terry Petersen

  • Hallmark


City Year Kansas City with Sponsors

The Kansas City community has been so welcoming to City Year and has repeatedly gone above and beyond to help City Year Kansas City build a strong foundation. For example, City Year is indebted to The Kauffman Foundation for their lead investment in launching City Year Kansas City, hosting events to increase awareness about City Year and providing in-kind office space during the startup phase.

“Our city needs more smart, passionate people entering the education sector and the young people who serve with City Year fit the bill. What’s exciting is that City Year AmeriCorps members will not only help the hundreds of students they work with stay on track in school, but beyond their year of service the AmeriCorps members themselves will be a pipeline of talent for Kansas City schools and education non-profits,” said Corey Scholes, Director of Education for the Kauffman Foundation.

In addition, the support of our Team Sponsors – The Hunt Family Foundation/Chiefs and JE Dunn Construction – has been invaluable. The Hunt Family Foundation/Chiefs supports our work at Central Middle School. The Hunt Family Foundation/Chiefs collaborated with City Year to organize a few special events for our students, including a Back to School Pep Rally, which included KC Wolf, Chiefs Cheerleaders, and the Rumble Drumline and a stadium tour and conversation with the Chiefs Women’s Organization and co-hosted a pep rally for the entire school with Chiefs Offensive Lineman Ben Grubbs.

Start Up Kansas City Excited at City Year's National Leadership Summit

“We are really excited that City Year has made its way to Kansas City and that we can partner together with them to impact this community,” Tavia Hunt, the wife of Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, said earlier this year. “We can try to bring these kids along and keep them in school so that they can have a successful future."

Our other Team Sponsor, JE Dunn Construction, supports our City Year AmeriCorps members serving at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School. They, too, have gone far beyond their financial commitment to City Year. Most recently, JE Dunn hosted all staff and AmeriCorps members at their office for a Leadership & Development Day, focused on continued training for our AmeriCorps members work in schools.  

“We were thrilled to host City Year for a day of development and the chance to get to know the people making it work. The benefits City Year will bring to Kansas City are immeasurable, and we’re honored to aid in its mission,” said Bob Dunn, Vice President of JE Dunn Construction.

To borrow a term from The Kauffman Foundation, “education is rising” in Kansas City and City Year Kansas City is humbled to be a part of the collaborative effort. To learn more about how you can get involved with City Year Kansas City, visit www.cityyear.org/kansascity.


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