KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 14, 2015) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced four new grants totaling more than $1 million to local not-for-profit organizations that serve the area’s existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. Together with its prior commitments, these grants bring the Foundation’s expected investment in developing Kansas City-area entrepreneurship to more than $8 million over the next three years. This is in addition to the Foundation’s grants to local education and civic programs.
“The Kauffman Foundation is committed to helping Kansas City become an entrepreneurial hub that produces both innovation and well-paying jobs,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “To achieve that goal, we are investing in high-quality entrepreneur-support organizations, talent-development projects and entrepreneurship education that, together, can help create a diverse and vibrant entrepreneurship environment in our hometown.”
The Foundation’s new grants have been awarded to the Women’s Business Center to provide technical assistance for their new micro-lending program; Artist INC, an organization that connects Kansas City’s creative community to tools, resources and opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills; KCSourceLink, which connects entrepreneurs to resources in the 18-county Kansas City region; and the Power of Two mentoring program of the Enterprise Center in Johnson County, which recruits experienced entrepreneurs as mentors and pairs them with startup entrepreneurs.
These new grants join the previously announced $5 million commitment to UMKC’s Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, as well as grants and sponsorships to Pipeline, the UMKC Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, LaunchCode, Kansas City Startup Week, 1 Week KC, TechWeek, Maker Faire and Global Entrepreneurship Week.
“Mr. Kauffman believed that entrepreneurship was key to giving individuals a pathway to economic independence,” Guillies continued. “As stewards of his vision and his endowment, we have carefully evaluated these grantees and believe that their programs can meaningfully improve the outcomes of the region’s startups.”