Kauffman Scholars Celebrates 100th Graduate

Scholars attend more than 65 universities across the country

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 2, 2016) — In the same year Ewing Kauffman would have celebrated his 100th birthday, the Kauffman Scholars program that carries his legacy will recognize its 100th graduate.

Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s still pretty cool.

Kauffman Scholars is a unique last-dollar scholarship program that grew out of the seeds planted by Mr. Kauffman himself, who believed education was the key to success in life. His vision to reduce the dropout rate of Kansas City high school students became Project Choice, a program that offered nearly 1,400 local students the opportunity to receive a cost-free college education. More than 30 percent of those students went on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

In 2003, the Kauffman Foundation established Kauffman Scholars, a multi-year college access and scholarship program designed to help low-income urban students in Kansas City prepare for and complete a college education. Kauffman Scholars provides support to students beginning in seventh grade and works with students until they complete their college education.

“Our first 100 graduates is an important milestone for Kauffman Scholars but it’s just the beginning,” said Aaron North, vice president of Education for the Foundation. “These 100 scholars are ready to engage in the life and work of their communities. And in just a few short years, there will be 700 more alumni of the Kauffman Scholars program. It is our hope that many of them come back to Kansas City to work for the Kauffman Foundation or programs supported by our organization. We are proud of the students, their families and the staff who have supported them over the years.”

This year, there are more than 600 Kauffman Scholars enrolled in more than 65 higher education institutions across the country. The Foundation invested $8.8 million in scholarships in 2015. The scholarships students receive cover the full costs of tuition, housing, food and books for the time it takes students to earn bachelor’s degrees (up to five years).

“After years of being recipients of Mr. K’s legacy, we’ve recently reached a pivotal point in his vision—we are alumni,” said Ashley Anderson, a Class 1 scholar who graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2014 and now works for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Kansas City. “ We now carry the baton of hope, resilience and growth.

We become the heartbeat of our communities by serving others through our passions and being mentors to those who will blaze the trail after us. I am excited to see what the future holds for my fellow alumni.”

Scholars receive extensive support from program leaders, coaches and collegiate, community and corporate partners throughout their time in the program—including test prep, career services like resume and interviewing workshops, and assistance with applying and choosing colleges. Parents also are supported through events and regular communications.

Kauffman Scholars accepted its eighth and final class of seventh-grade students during the 2011-12 school year. The program will remain active until those scholars graduate from college in 2021 and 2022.