Our Strategic Direction

kauffman foundation kansas city mural

After a comprehensive exploration of the local and national education and entrepreneurship landscapes, the Foundation adopted a new strategic plan in 2014 to better serve its mission.

Our goals and strategies shape the Foundation's work, including how our acclaimed research and policy capabilities will be leveraged to support program area goals.


In education our funding is largely focused in the Kansas City metropolitan area, with the majority of investments supporting initiatives in the city's urban core. A core component of the Foundation's education strategy is the Ewing Marion Kauffman School.

Goal: Increase the percentage of students in Kansas City reaching academic and life outcomes that prepare them for postsecondary success.

  • Promote access to quality public school options in Kansas City by supporting new and expanding schools, as well as school turnaround initiatives, with proven or promising approaches for improving student academic outcomes
  • Support existing individual schools demonstrating strong academic outcomes for students qualifying for free/reduced priced lunch in Kansas City
  • Provide postsecondary completion incentives for more students in the Kansas City area, building on experiences from Project Choice and Kauffman Scholars
  • Support the recruitment, development, and retention of high-quality teachers and leaders in Kansas City's urban schools

Research & Policy in Education

Goal: Enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and innovation in education, and help create the human capital necessary for an entrepreneurial economy.

  • Support and conduct research on the intersection of technology, public policy, and the economics of education
  • Focus on specific areas of public policy that affect Kauffman's education investments and the national movement toward higher-quality education


The Foundation's entrepreneurship work is national in scale and global in reach. Kauffman's entrepreneurship strategy will support entrepreneurs in the United States by expanding entrepreneurship education programs and fostering entrepreneurial communities that help entrepreneurs more effectively start and grow their firms.

Goal: Reach U.S. entrepreneurs by providing educational resources and supporting organizations that assist entrepreneurs.

  • Manage Kauffman's entrepreneurship education resources
  • Scale proven models of exemplar entrepreneurship support organizations
  • Seed innovations (new platforms, infrastructure) that enable firm creation

Goal: Accelerate entrepreneurship hubs in selected metropolitan areas.

  • Establish metropolitan demonstration sites, including Kansas City, to test and elevate models that increase regional entrepreneurial growth
  • Manage a competitive metro challenge program to help regions develop entrepreneurial economies

Research & Policy in Entrepreneurship

Goal: Foster more, and more successful, entrepreneurs by creating useful knowledge for entrepreneurs, policymakers, and others.

  • Support high-quality research on entrepreneurship, including emerging scholars and data
  • Improve the policy environment for entrepreneurship by translating research into policy ideas and guidance
  • Determine the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education and training programs, and build the field of programmatic research as a vehicle for entrepreneurship research and policy work

Kansas City Civic

The Kansas City Civic team honors Ewing Kauffman's legacy by supporting strategic initiatives that contribute to the cultural and economic vibrancy of our community.

Goal: Fulfill Mr. Kauffman's donor intent for Kansas City by contributing to the vibrancy of Kansas City and creating the environment for success in entrepreneurship and education. 

  • Strengthen large-scale cultural institutions that are deeply rooted in Kansas City and greatly contribute to the economic vibrancy and national relevance of KC.
  • Invest in select support organizations helping local human services and educational nonprofits to better meet community needs.
  • Kick start or strengthen large-scale initiatives that complement the Foundation's core work in Education and Entrepreneurship.