PLATINUM2023

Museum of Prairiefire Foundation

Access for ALL

aka Museum at Prairiefire   |   Overland Park, KS   |  www.visitthemap.org

Mission

The Museum of Prairiefire Foundation (Museum at Prairiefire) is committed to innovative learning in science, the arts and natural history. Through a founding collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, as well as with other cultural and educational institutions in the nation, the Museum at Prairiefire is a place that provides ACCESS FOR ALL to understand and celebrate natural history and science in our region and around the world. The MAP engages visitors and students of all ages with world-class exhibitions, important programming, and provides significant educational and STEAM opportunities for underserved children through KC Urban Advantage.

Ruling year info

2010

Executive Director

Terri Marie Thompson

Founding Director

Ms. Candace Costie Merrill

Main address

5801 W. 135th St.

Overland Park, KS 66223 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-1040521

NTEE code info

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (U01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Break the cycle of poverty through STEAM education:\n \nA) Provide Access for All through KC Urban Advantage. The purpose of KC Urban Advantage (KCUA) is to help break the cycle of poverty in Kansas City by increasing confidence and ability in academic achievement for underserved students. Our mission is to provide access to holistic STEAM education and unlock opportunities for higher learning and future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers.\n \nB) Provide a public space for the general population to easily access a variety of natural history, art and science-related educational opportunities on multiple levels. This includes everyone from the casual visitor to students and educators hoping to improve academic achievement.\n \nResolution is a net effect increase in the number of underserved youth obtaining higher education with the aim of succeeding in careers in a STEM field. Education is the primary tool with which we can break cycles of poverty.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

KC Urban Advantage

The purpose of KC Urban Advantage (KCUA) is to help break the cycle of poverty in Kanas City by increasing confidence and ability in academic achievement for underserved students. Our mission is to provide access to holistic STEAM education and unlock opportunities for higher learning and future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers. The Museum at Prairiefire administrates and funds the development and implementation of KCUA programming, resources, and partnerships to provide comprehensive, world-class STEAM experiences for students and educators throughout the greater Kansas City Metro where resources are scarce. A shortage of teachers in STEAM subjects leads to a shortage of young men and women who are able to step into the many STEM-related jobs that are growing in number every day. For example, less than 20% of 2016 KCMO 5th graders scored proficient or higher in science. Unfortunately, many schools don’t have the resources to bolster STEM education. When education budgets are cut, teachers look for outside resources to help provide the learning opportunities that will not only educate students, but also inspire them to pursue careers in STEM fields. This is the purpose of KC Urban Advantage.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Through a founding partnership with the world-renowned American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, the Museum at Prairiefire (MAP) presents cutting edge exhibitions and programming with a focus on Education. Their subjects cover every aspect of science and natural history, from the innermost workings of the human brain to the world’s largest dinosaurs and space. The exhibitions contain interactive features to keep students and visitors of all ages engaged. Teachers have access to Educator Guides and other educational materials prepared by the more than 300 scientists and educators at AMNH, as well as by the MAP Education Team. Teachers use these standards-based materials to help prepare their students for seeing the exhibitions, and for further exploration back in the classroom.The MAP is now in the process of developing its own exhibitions with other partnering institutions and scientists from around the country.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Too many students – especially those furthest from opportunity – are unprepared for the modern economy and the challenges of the 21st century. Project Based Learning (PBL) prepares students for academic, personal, and career success, and readies young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit. Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project. Project Based Learning unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and teachers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Soon after the museum opened, staff noticed that families and caregivers were bringing in very young children, ages 3-5. These children have great curiosity and are eager to learn; they are still developing their language skills, but they can understand scientific concepts if they are communicated in the right way. Parents were also very interested in getting their children to learn. The Little Explorers Club was founded to meet this need. The Club meets twice a month on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. There is also a Tuesday afternoon session to accommodate children who are in day care in the morning. Each 45-minute session is focused on hands-on activities—learning by doing. A short and exciting lesson is followed by story time, an activity or experiment, an artifact or animal encounter, and a craft. For example, in a session devoted to learning about preservation, children made “mummies” by wrapping string around small wooden figures.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

For the curious at heart, Science Happy Hours feature informal, expert presentations on diverse topics ranging from astronomy to zoology. The Bioscience Happy Hours feature animal, plant, environmental, and biotech topics. Appetizers and drinks are included with the ticket price of $10.00.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of free participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

KC Urban Advantage

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We have provided over 8,000 free STEAM Education Field Trips since we opened in 2014. 2020 and 2021 we had a drastic decrease in field trip participants, however they are at a record high in 2023.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Museum of Prairiefire Foundation is committed to innovative learning in science, the arts and natural history. Expressly, the Museum at Prairiefire (MAP) is a place that provides ACCESS FOR ALL to understand and celebrate natural history, the arts and science in our region and around the world.Partnerships with institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History in New York have provided a foundation of practical and historical knowledge that helps the MAP keep its mission squarely in sight. The Kansas City Metro, including Johnson County, place a high value on education in general, specifically STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).  The primary goals for the Museum of Prairiefire Foundation are to: A) Provide Access for All through KC Urban Advantage. The purpose of KC Urban Advantage (KCUA) is to help break the cycle of poverty in Kansas City by increasing confidence and ability in academic achievement for underserved students. Our mission is to provide access to holistic STEAM education and unlock opportunities for higher learning and future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers. B) Provide a public space for the general population to easily access a variety of natural history, art and science-related educational opportunities on multiple levels. This includes everyone from the casual visitor to students and educators hoping to improve academic achievement. The ultimate goal is the net effect of an increase in the number of underserved youth obtaining higher education with the aim of obtaining careers in a STEM field. Education is the primary tool with which we can break cycles of poverty.

There are 3 key strategies and action items for achieving the MAP's goals. 1) Become a long-term, trusted partner with schools, students and their families. This requires a holistic approach that addresses the issues children, their families and educators encounter on a daily basis. The KC Urban Advantage program creates valued partnerships by addressing needs and solving problems; this means helping teachers teach in their own schools, paying for transportation to field experiences, providing meals for students and much more. In many cases before a student can become interested in STEAM topics, they may need to learn to read. 2) Break down the physical and financial barriers to achieving the goal. KC Urban advantage tackles the basics that impede access and learning such as transportation and meals. This means that the MAP provides transportation (usually via busses) without question for underserved students. Meals are always provided during field experiences, no matter what location. 3) Provide the bridge with a safety-net between early childhood education and higher learning. Studies show that in order to create real change, we must start EARLY.  However, we must also provide support every step of the way. We plan to do this through after-school programming, engaging programs for Middle School and High School, and through partnerships with area organizations who can be a source of support for underserved children throughout their school-age years.  "If you're thinking about STEM education, whether it's women or underrepresented minorities, you really have to be thinking about it from cradle to college. By the time they hit kindergarten, many of them are already behind. There is leakage in every step of the pipeline so you have to have programs at every step of the pipeline." Ana Mari Cauce, President, University of Washington.KC Urban Advantage is based on a proven American Museum of Natural History program supported by the National Science Foundation, Urban Advantage. Urban Advantage programs in other U.S. cities have a demonstrated record of making change. New York Urban Advantage schools went from performing below non-UA schools by almost 10% to exceeding them by 5% in just a 3 year period.

KC Urban Advantage uses the infrastructure of a proven American Museum of Natural History program supported by the National Science Foundation, Urban Advantage. Urban Advantage features specific guidelines and tools for executing the program. KC Urban Advantage has been modified slightly to meet the needs of a broader underserved population in the Kansas City metro area. Staff expertise and high-level partnerships with local and national educational institutions make executing a high-impact program such as KC Urban Advantage possible. The MAP features a curated staff of educators, scientists and experienced early childhood teachers with experience in STEAM education and underserved populations.

We encourage you to read the KC Urban Advantage Update included on this site. This document features an overview of KCUA as well as our accomplishments and what we have left to accomplish. One of the most important remaining initiatives is creating a KCUA Scholarship Fund for KC Urban Advantage students who want to enter college or other higher learning programs. The MAP plans to announce this program in the Summer of 2019. The MAP and KC Urban Advantage have been successful in increasing our partnerships to include 9 traditional Title I Schools in both Kansas and Missouri, as well as KidsTLC, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City and Big Brothers Big Sisters. A KCUA Bridges Program is in development. A partnership with AmeriCorps City Year is also in progress. This partnership will largely consist of City Year educator support, as well as access to FREE program through KCUA for all City Year participants and educators.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

Museum of Prairiefire Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Museum of Prairiefire Foundation

Board of directors
as of 08/14/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Fred Merrill

Merrill Companies, LLC

Term: 2013 - 2023

Fred Merrill

Merrill Companies

Thomas Turner

Grandbridge

Michael Engel

American Museum of Natural History

Scott Martinsen

Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP

Suze Parker

Parker Communications Group

Anab Abdulahi

AXA Advisors, LLC

Brett Gordon

McCownGordon Construction

J. Frank Emert

Summit CPA, LLC

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/14/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/21/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.