Kauffman Foundation Announces Three-Year Challenge Grant to Expand Impact of Pipeline

Foundation will provide up to $1.435 million in matching funds to expand programming

Kansas City, Mo. (June 26, 2014) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced a new challenge grant of up to $1.435 million over three years to support and enhance programming for Pipeline, an exclusive community of high-potential entrepreneurial leaders building high-growth companies throughout the Midwest region.

The grant follows on a close relationship between the two organizations since Pipeline's inception and will be matched dollar for dollar with private sector participation – including from its own entrepreneurs.

Pipeline received its first challenge grant from the Foundation three years ago to make possible the expansion from a Kansas-only program to one serving entrepreneurs from Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

This new grant will continue to support this regional format, while also providing funds to develop and deploy substantial new programming for its ongoing and growing Membership of entrepreneurs – sometimes referred to as "alumni."

Operating since 2006, Pipeline has emerged as the Midwest's premier organization for successful, fast-growing entrepreneurs.  Pipeline operates as an entrepreneurial fellowship that identifies, trains, mentors and connects the highest potential, high-growth entrepreneurs. Once admitted into the program, Pipeline Fellows learn while doing and learn in the company of their peers who are building high-growth companies as well. Upon graduation from the year-long fellowship, the entrepreneurs then join as full members to continue working with Pipeline (and each other) as they continue to face challenges and opportunities in their growth.

"This grant comes at an extremely pivotal time in Pipeline's history," said Joni Cobb, Pipeline president and CEO. "To now be able to put real muscle into the support we give our long-term members is the day we have all been waiting for. We can't wait to get to work and find partners who are as excited as we are to play a part in our growth." 

"As a member of the charter class I can tell you that this is an absolute game changer," said Tim Donnelly, president and CEO, SoftVu. "The Kauffman Foundation has once again stepped up after seeing huge potential in what we are building in Pipeline. I know I speak for all of our entrepreneurs when I say we are more excited than ever at the potential of Pipeline and our work in the Midwest."

"After entering into the Pipeline family in 2009, I have grown my initial company, exited it, started a new company with another Pipeline entrepreneur, have become an angel investor and also a father of two," said Davyeon Ross, Pipeline Member and COO and co-founder, ShotTracker. "I can tell you that Pipeline has been a huge part of my success – and was there for me in the rough times, too. It is incredible to think what more we will be able to do with this new grant and programs."

Over the next few months, Pipeline leadership will work with its entrepreneurs, national advisors and mentors to determine best practices for the enhanced Pipeline Member programming.  In addition,
Pipeline will be working with its regional partners to once again determine the regional boundaries for the upcoming three years to see if the boundaries will expand beyond the current borders.

"After only a few short years as part of the Pipeline region, I can tell you that the respect Nebraska has for this organization is immense," said Dr. James Linder, Pipeline regional founder (Nebraska) and Pipeline board member. "Our entrepreneurs value the programming, our investors value the impact on company quality and our entire state appreciates the contributions Pipeline has made to our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We can't wait to be a part of 'what's next'."

"We have been waiting for this moment for many years – and it has finally arrived!" said Michael Beckloff, Pipeline board chair. "The ability to further impact our many entrepreneurs as they enter new challenges is where the real work and opportunity lie. We could not be more excited about Pipeline's future and the potential for the region."

To learn more about the Kauffman Foundation's challenge grant and how you can engage with Pipeline entrepreneurs visit: http://www.pipelineentrepreneurs.com/supporting-pipeline/

About Pipeline:
Pipeline is an exclusive community of high-potential entrepreneurial leaders building high-growth companies throughout the Midwest region. Pipeline's class of Fellows represents Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. Each year, approximately 10-12 new Members are invited to join Pipeline after an extensive selection process. New Members participate in a unique and rigorous year-long business leadership development program that blends workshop modules, advice from national experts and a deepening of the relationships among new and current Pipeline Members. As keystones of the regional business environment, Pipeline Members are creating jobs, investing in their businesses and communities and mentoring the next-generation of business leaders.