Our communities are the canvases for vivid memories, colorful lives, and bright futures. During his lifetime, Ewing Kauffman saw Kansas City as a place full of possibilities. His passion and commitment to his hometown have enriched the lives of both children and adults, leaving a lasting footprint that extends well beyond the Kansas City area's boundaries.
Today, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation continues our founder's legacy by elevating our civic role and responsibility in the community. Each year, the Foundation invests approximately $5 million toward institutions, causes and events that make our community a better place to live, work and play.
We receive many inquiries and requests to support various needs within our city. We can't fulfill all of them, so we select those that are strategically aligned with our goals and that are supported by the community and other funders. Absent clear market signals, we rely on these inputs to determine the value of civic investment in KC and to ensure that we are not merely throwing money at the problem.
The Kauffman Foundation's "Kansas City Civic" team is responsible for leading and funding initiatives that improve the quality of life in Kansas City
and promotes the city's identity and growth in targeted areas (e.g., education and entrepreneurship, consistent with Mr. Kauffman's intentions). To carry out this ultimate goal, we categorize our work into two major areas:
- Invest in anchor institutions
- Cultivate innovative capacity
Anchor institutions are best described as large-scale public organizations that are vital to Kansas City's identity and growth. Museums, libraries, performing and visual arts organizations, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City are examples of such anchor institutions. The Foundation has made substantial investments in this area to improve the quality of life in Kansas City, attract and retain talent in Kansas City, and positively impact the local economy.
Anchor Institutions also include certain nonprofit organizations, such as service providers for quality afterschool enrichment programs and sponsorships that are designed to support annual fundraisers for a variety of nonprofit organizations.
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The second component of the Kauffman Foundation's KC Civic initiative is to cultivate innovative capacity in Kansas City through experimental programs and competitions, and by replicating proven national models.
As an example, four years ago, in partnership with Kansas City's historic Union Station, we launched Maker Faire in Kansas City to enhance awareness of the growing maker movement and to provide a venue for local makers, including students involved in STEM programs such as Robotics and Project Lead the Way. Maker Faire has also rapidly become an annual attraction in Kansas City, attracting local regional and national guests. In fact, KC's event has become one of the largest Maker Faires in the country, joining cities such as New York, Detroit, and San Mateo, Calif.
Mr. Kauffman once said, "…if we work together, there is no problem in the world that can stop us." We couldn't agree more and are proud to join our local grantees, partners, and the community at large to support and celebrate a community so rich with possibilities.
As part of our ongoing work to bring thought leaders together, the Kauffman Foundation provides a valuable convening space for the community through the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center — which is adjacent to the Kauffman Foundation's offices.
This state of the art facility:
- Hosts more than 70,000 visitors annually
- Welcomes local, national and international guests
- Contains 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space with full-service catering and audio/visual capabilities
- Offers 10 meetings rooms with variable configurations
- Includes a landscaped parking lot for 380 vehicles