Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Love Where You Live

Kalamazoo, MI   |


The mission of Kalamazoo Community Foundation is to mobilize people, resources and expertise to advance racial, social and economic justice. Our vision is Kalamazoo County is the most equitable place to live. Our core values include: Center Anti-Racism & Equity; Advance Racial Justice; Cultivate Transformative Relationships; Nurture Healing & Love; Serve the Greater Good; Learn & Grow, Embrace Joy

Ruling year info


President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Grace Lubwama

Main address

402 East Michigan Ave.

Kalamazoo, MI 49007 USA

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Formerly known as

Kalamazoo Foundation



NTEE code info

Community Foundations (T31)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

KZCF provides essential funding to programs that ensure all of our children have an equitable chance for success in school, that nurture and prepare all of our young people for life beyond school, that support individuals and families from all walks of life, that enhance community prosperity in every corner of Kalamazoo County, and make life better for all. We have an in-depth understanding of the community’s challenges and needs, and the groups and individuals addressing them. We are dedicated to preserving what we've come to appreciate most in our community for future generations. We are here to do good work, forever.

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?

Reponsive Grantmaking

The Community Foundation makes strategic community investments that advance racial, social and economic justice in Kalamazoo County. We have two grantmaking priorities: Equity and Education. Our investments provide essential funding to organizations leading work that:
1. Addresses current community needs, improves conditions and/or impacts life trajectories for people who have historically experienced oppression.
2. Creates long-term solutions. Focuses on systemic change and collaborative efforts to advance racial equity and improve community level conditions and outcomes.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
People with disabilities
LGBTQ people

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation offers over 65 post-secondary scholarships and grants to today’s students, whether they are in high school, undergrad, graduate school, or career training. Additionally, we manage a county-wide Emergency Scholarship that accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year and assists students with unexpected or unmet educational costs that may otherwise prevent them from completing their degree or required training. We nurture community partnerships to better reach and support our students and mobilize a passionate network of community leaders to staff our volunteer committees.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Impact investment lending creates low market rate loans for programs and projects that make a high impact in the community. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation seeks mission returns benefitting residents of Kalamazoo County, that advance housing equity; build a just and inclusive economy; and support infrastructure development for non-profit organizations. By prioritizing projects that advance racial equity while offering lower rates and a simplified application process, KZCF is committed to advancing transformational projects that support a more equitable Kalamazoo community.

Since 2022, KZCF has made over $13 million in impact investments to support its mission to make Kalamazoo county the most equitable place to live.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Council on Foundations Accredited

National Standards for Community Foundations (2019-2022) 2019

National Standards for Community Foundations (2017-2019) 2017

National Standards for Community Foundations (2015-2017) 2015

National Standards for Community Foundations (2010-2015) 2010

National Standards for Community Foundations (2005-2010) 2005

National Standards for Community Foundations (2022-2025) Reaccreditation in process 2022


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Affiliations & memberships

Council on Foundations - Member 1975

Council of Michigan Foundations - Member 1976

CFLeads - Member 2013

CFInsights - Member 2005

Mission Investors Exchange - Member 2020

Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) - Member 2021

Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) - Member 2021

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) - Member 2021

Hispanics in Philanthropy - Member 2021

National Scholarship Providers Association 2021

PEAK Grantmaking 2021

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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 recognize our work in and with the community will not be effective if we do not require a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion from ourselves as well as our community partners. Therefore, we continuously examine, challenge and evolve our organizational policies, practices and culture to reflect our values. We are committed to:
• Continuously increasing our awareness and understanding of privilege, inequity and how the entire community benefits from achieving equity for all;
• Devoting more time and resources to identifying and eliminating barriers to achieving equity;
• Engaging with our partners to share and learn about data, research and best practices to impact equity in our community; and
• Playing a leadership role in strengthening existing collaborations and creating new ones among nonprofit, public and private sectors.

We apply an equity lens to our work related, but not limited, to:
• Human Resources- How we recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce;
• Community Investments- How and where we grant our unrestricted resources;
• Scholarships- How we support students as they pursue education beyond high school;
• Endowment- How we create social impact through investments that grow our endowment;
• Leadership- How we invest our time and influence in partnerships and collaborations;
• Donor Relations- How we engage with donors to facilitate their personal philanthropy; and
• Governance- How our board of trustees and committees set and oversee policy

As a community foundation, we have two kinds of resources available to address community needs: restricted and unrestricted.

RESTRICTED RESOURCES: Our restricted resources, which represent the greatest portion of the Community Foundation’s community investments, include scholarships to individuals for education beyond high school, endowment funds established by or in support of specific nonprofit organizations, and endowment funds created to support specific fields of interest. In addition, we hold more than 200 donor-advised funds, through which we help donors support their unique interests. Investments from our restricted resources represent the largest proportion of dollars distributed to the community. Sometimes these investments directly align with our community investment priorities of equity and education; most often they complement them and support broader community needs and opportunities. This is the role of a community foundation: to facilitate philanthropy across many issues, in many forms.

UNRESTRICTED RESOURCES: Our unrestricted resources are used to address Kalamazoo County’s most pressing needs, as informed by community conditions, feedback from community partners and supporting data. These investments are primarily managed through our responsive grantmaking process by our Community Investment team. We also make program related investments (low-interest loans) that strengthen the economic wellbeing of our community and have a social impact. We are working to increase our unrestricted resources through a variety of donor relations efforts. However, our unrestricted resources are limited and we expect all our responsive grants to demonstrate potential for high impact as well as alignment with equity and education. Our highest investments will support work that is best able to address a demonstrated community need, work towards changing systems and change life trajectories for individuals.

There will always be a need for programs and services that help individuals meet their immediate basic needs and empower and enable them to live high-quality, self-determined lives. The Community Foundation will always support organizations that provide these opportunities. We believe the community investments we make in long-term efforts that reduce barriers and change systems will positively affect community conditions, reducing the necessity for immediate needs services and programs. Therefore, over time — when community conditions indicate and data supports it’s appropriate — we will direct even more of our community investments toward efforts that work to identify the roots of community challenges and create change at the system level. Creating change at the system level will make impact significant and sustainable. The systems that are already in place will be more equitable and effective, making immediate-needs services and programs the auxiliary approach rather than the norm.

This is a pivotal moment for our community. We believe if we do not engage in this work at this time, yet another generation will be caught in our community’s cycles of marginalization and inequity. If we do not engage in this work now, our vision — a community where every person can reach full potential — will never be a reality. This is not an option. The only option is for this vision to someday be a reality. This vision will be a reality when every person who calls this place home has the skills and opportunities they need to live a high-quality, self-determined life. When this vision is a reality, this community — Kalamazoo County — will be one where we all love to live.

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 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

  • 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 get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), 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?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, As a funder, it can be difficult to get honest feedback due to the power dynamics and lack of trust.


Kalamazoo Community Foundation

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


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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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Board of directors
as of 09/08/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Von Washington, Jr.

Kalamazoo Promise

Term: 2023 - 2024

James Escamilla

Amy Upjohn

Sydney Parfet

Von Washington

Dr. Jorge Gonzalez

Artrella Cohn

Kama Mitchell

Dr. L. Marshall Washington

Xiaoan Li

Lucas Mansberger

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 ? 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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/10/2023

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


No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/08/2023

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

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • 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 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 measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.