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An update from the Board of Trustees

We are transitioning to more intentionally serve Kansas City, work more collaboratively, and prepare the Foundation so our new CEO can hit the ground running.

I recently shared some thoughts in our local paper to affirm the Kauffman Foundation’s focus and prioritization of Kansas City.   

The Foundation’s work, through its grantmaking, programs, and initiatives, aims to provide opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity — regardless of race, gender, or geography.

It is not coincidental that much of the Kauffman Foundation’s work focuses on areas with which Mr. Kauffman was familiar from his own life experiences as the child of a family of limited means.

Yet, the fact is that far too many in our community are financially unstable and don’t see a pathway to improve their economic opportunities. As we near welcoming a new leader, we have been working to understand how to combine the best of our work in education, workforce, and entrepreneurship to support moving tens of thousands of people up the economic ladder.

We are pleased to share that the Foundation anticipates we will announce our new CEO by July.The board of the Foundation recognizes that the individual who leads this organization must understand and embrace Mr. Kauffman’s vision for the Foundation and the community as we continue to fund key initiatives and work with many partner organizations in Kansas City.

In preparation, over the last several months, the Trustees and senior leadership team have been working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We are kicking off an internal transition leadership team to continue our work that is underway, focusing on a common vision and goal, and then aligning the entire Foundation to that goal. Our priority in that journey will be Kansas City, but we endeavor to keep the best of our national work so we can continue to learn and share what we are learning.

With these transitions, every senior leader’s role will be focused on positioning the Foundation for ongoing success under the new CEO. Aaron North, Philip Gaskin, and Larry Jacob will take on interim roles to transition their teams and advise the new CEO and Foundation through the end of the year. We appreciate their commitment to the Foundation and our communities. We are also working closely with our emerging leaders who have agreed to step up and join the transition leadership team. They bring new skills, perspective, and energy which we do not take for granted. And, in the coming months, with the new CEO, we’ll organize all our associates to support our goals.

The transition leadership team will focus on priorities that the Trustees have outlined – breaking down siloes and operating as one Foundation, showing up consistently in Kansas City with a cohesive approach to supporting our community, defining our national work for maximum impact, and increasing stewardship and evidence of performance. We believe this approach will set up the new CEO to best support our community and beyond.

We are so appreciative of all the feedback and support the Foundation has received through this process, and we look forward to continuing to serve Kansas City and our communities.