- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kauffman Foundation has awarded $2.5 million in grants for programs designed to improve Kansas City-area schools and promote college access for disadvantaged students.

The foundation said Thursday that it would invest $1 million in the Kansas City Midtown Community School Initiative’s plan for charter schools and another $1.5 million in 10 college prep and scholarship programs, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1Ks9b3i ).

The initiative for midtown charter schools is a parent-led effort to open two elementary schools in Kansas City in 2016 and expand to a high school by 2027. The education support and scholarship programs will go to public and private school and community-based groups that benefit schools in in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, as well as several other initiatives.

The Kauffman Foundation has funded several of its own programs to help promote local education, but it decided last year to also spread its resources to other programs and institutions.

“We don’t have to have all the answers,” said Wendy Guillies, Kauffman Foundation acting president and CEO. “We don’t have to own everything.”

The $1 million for the midtown charters adds to $1 million from the Walton Family Foundation and $650,000 from the Hall Family Foundation to help parents who have teamed with a national charter school organization, Citizens of the World, to develop the charter schools.

“We keep pinching ourselves,” said Kristin Littrell, one of the founding parents. “These schools will really happen.”

All of the postsecondary educational support and scholarship programs receiving grants from the Kauffman Foundation, along with the midtown charter parents and Citizens of the World “fundamentally believe that all students can learn,” said Aaron North, the foundation’s vice president of education. “All students can meet high expectations.”

Schools benefiting from the grants are the Kansas City Public Schools’ Early College Academy; the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools’ Diploma+ program; a collaboration between Bishop Ward High School and Donnelly College; and the Cristo Rey partnership with Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley.

Other beneficiaries are the Black Community Scholarship Fund; the Hispanic Development Fund Scholarship; the Go-Long Scholarship Fund; the Kansas City Opportunities Scholarship Fund; the Transition into Post-Secondary Studies Scholarship; and the Guadalupe Centers Inc. Tony Aguirre Scholarship.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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