KALAMAZOO COUNTY READY 4S

Joyful, Intentional, Life-Changing: The Power of Pre-K!

aka KC Ready 4s   |   Kalamazoo, MI   |  www.kcready4s.org

Mission

KC Ready 4s' mission is to advance fully accessible, high-quality pre-kindergarten education for every 3- and 4-year-old in Kalamazoo County through collaborative leadership with public and private providers.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

Kristyn Buhl-Lepisto

Main address

161 E. Michigan Ave. Suite 600

Kalamazoo, MI 49007 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-3342489

NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (P12)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are approximately 3000 4-year-olds in Kalamazoo County. Some children are eligible to participate in Head Start (federal funding for families at or below 100% of the federal poverty level), and the Great Start Readiness Program (State of Michigan funding for families up to 250% of the federal poverty level). Families between 251%-400% also experience hardships when it comes to paying for high-quality pre-K options - it is expensive. We want to be sure all 4-year-olds have an opportunity to attend a high-quality program.

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?

High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten/Preschool

We provide multiple quality supports to partnering programs throughout Kalamazoo County. Some of these supports include: an assigned early childhood coach (Teacher Mentor), ongoing professional development for teachers, speech and challenging behavior supports, and much more. Curriculum and child assessment tools are additionally available to eligible programs.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Caregivers

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.

How much children learn in high-quality pre-kindergarten settings

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

High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten/Preschool

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Our data consistently show that minority children learn 2.2 times as much compared to children who do not have a high-quality pre-kindergarten experience.

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.

We provide partial tuition assistance to families that qualify, on a sliding scale. Children who attend a high-quality pre-K program, based on Joyful, Intentional, Life-Changing learning experiences, are more confident and ready learners when they start their K-12 journey. We assist all interested pre-K programs in Kalamazoo County to achieve and maintain high-quality learning environments (as specified by the State of Michigan's Great Start to Quality).

Collaborate with Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs through Kalamazoo RESA to ensure all families get connected to the programs for which they are eligible and meet their needs. Provide tuition support to eligible families. Offer teacher mentoring and professional development to participating classrooms. Partner with community organizations that offer learning opportunities for children and needs-based supports for families.

We have a small but mighty staff, vision-driven board of directors, passionate pre-K programs, and generous local funders.

We've come a long way! In 2011-12, our first year, we offered tuition support to 48 families at 5 pre-K programs. In 2021-22, our 11th year, we are providing tuition assistance for over 250 children at 24 pre-K programs! The bigger picture is that we are working with a total of 55 pre-K programs in Kalamazoo County to provide high-quality supports, and there are 952 4-year-olds and 333 3-year-olds being impacted in those programs.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our work impacts the entire Kalamazoo County and several of our programs are located in high poverty areas such as the Northside, Eastside, Edison, and Comstock communities. The federally funded Head Start program and the state funded Great Start Readiness Program both deliver high-quality pre-kindergarten experiences for children who are 3- or 4-years-old. Those programs provide public funding; KC Ready 4s provides private funding. In Kalamazoo County, more children qualify for those public programs than space is available. There is also vastly limited funding for 3-year-olds. KC Ready 4s provides funding for those children as well as those who are from ALICE households, who are typically individuals who are employed in lower paying occupations.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    KC Ready 4s is committed to listening first and foremost to the families and providers we serve. We spent an incredible amount of time holding focus groups, surveys, and conversations with our program directors to understand how we can best support the field during this critical and precarious time. For example, the directors were open with us about the challenges of finding and retaining staff, particularly in private centers as most do not offer any health benefits. It was after this came up again and again that KC Ready 4s decided to pursue the Employee Assistance Program as a first step of supporting the pre-K field.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, 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, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

KALAMAZOO COUNTY READY 4S
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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
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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KALAMAZOO COUNTY READY 4S

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Namita Sharma

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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • 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 2/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/29/2020

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 ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.