Equal Start

aka Platte County Back to School Fair Association   |   Kansas City, MO   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Equal Start

EIN: 81-2040395


To provide low-income families of Platte County an equal and safe opportunity for school readiness by enriching physical, mental and social well-being.

Ruling year info


Board President

Kristian Allen

Main address

7925 NW 110th Street

Kansas City, MO 64153 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info


Health care access

Family services

Youth organizing

Population served info

Children and youth



Low-income people

NTEE code info

Family Services (P40)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Poverty remains an important influence on school readiness, partly through its influence on many of the observed differences between poor and more affluent families. So much that 48% of poor children are ready for school at age five, compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income, a 27% point gap. Our goal is that every child that starts school is physically, socially and mentally ready to learn and succeed no matter their financial circumstances.

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?

Platte County Back to School Fair (BTSF)

Established in 1999, the Platte County Back to School Fair (BTSF) has been providing a wide variety of resources which enables all vulnerable students of Platte County school districts begin the school year ready to learn and succeed. The Platte County Back to School Fair to date has served over 15,500 children in need. Each year we provide back-to-school resources, health screenings, and information from local organizations, such as Miles of Smiles, Assistance League of KC, Northland Health Care Access, Hillcrest, Tri-County Mental Health to name a few. All of these services are provided through the support of community partners and volunteers who focus on meeting the physical, social, mental and financial well-being of at-risk students. The BTSF is run entirely by volunteers and community partners. By ensuring that children in need have the tools necessary to learn, we are helping develop the whole child.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Northland Mother's Day 5K is our annual signature fundraising event for Equal Start. The event will raise money to purchase school supplies for children in need at the Platte County BTSF held in August. Designed by Runners for Runners. Certified 5K course at the beautiful English Landing Park in Parkville, MO.


When: Saturday before Mother's Day

Join us for:
Face Painting, Kids Fun Run Dash with Prizes, Selfie Station, Food, and more!
Awards for overall male & female winners. Finisher Medals awarded.
Race T-shirts -- be sure to register by May 1st to guarantee your shirt!
Adult Registration $35.00 Students 18 & Under $15.00

Population(s) Served
Low-income people
Children and youth

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 children who have the skills necessary to maintain personal health

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Low-income people

Related Program

Platte County Back to School Fair (BTSF)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2020- numbers low due to COVID-19

Number of free participants on field trips

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

Platte County Back to School Fair (BTSF)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

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.

In the next 5 years, one of our goals is to raise more funds to be able to help more children in need. Currently, with our funds, we are able to serve 900 children, but over 4000 children qualify. Another goal would be to continue to grow our great community partnerships and volunteer base. Equal Start would not exist without community volunteers and partners. We solely depend on them year to year.  We know we are successful by hearing the success stories from parents and school staff. Children enter the school year esteemed as they have a quality backpack filled with the same school supplies as their peers. They also have necessary medical, dental, and vision screenings. Through this, students are able to receive glasses that improve their ability to perform in school. Dental care improves a child's smile and self-esteem and also mitigates painful dental issues when present, improving overall health. The physicals allow students who might not otherwise be able to afford or access this service to participate in sports as well as monitor overall health. Students also benefit from the community resources that their parents gain from this event. It is well understood that if families can resolve barriers/stressors they are experiencing, the parents, as well as the children's level of functioning all improve.

Equal Start's program, the Platte County Back to School Fair strategies for accomplishing our goals consists of applying for grants and continuing to fundraise within our community, and to always be looking for opportunities to prosper our mission.

Equal Start's strengths are our community partners. Each year we provide back-to-school resources, health screenings, and information from local organizations, such as Miles of Smiles, Assistance League of KC, Northland Health Care Access, Platte County Health Department, Hillcrest, Tri-County Mental Health, YMCA to name a few.  With the continued support from these great community stakeholders, we can accomplish the Back to School Fair program!

To date, we have helped over 17,088 vulnerable students start school physically, socially, and mentally ready to learn and succeed no matter their financial circumstances. We understand we won't reach every Platte County family, but we know many more could use our services as 4000 children are eligible. Families who are vulnerable will be able to benefit from Equal Start if more funds are available.

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?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Equal Start

Financial data

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Equal Start

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: 2022

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Contributions, Grants, Gifts $40,346
Program Services $0
Membership Dues $543
Special Events $7,300
Other Revenue $0
Total Revenue $57,461
Program Services $40,000
Administration $2,500
Fundraising $7,300
Payments to Affiliates $0
Other Expenses $0
Total Expenses $34,731

Equal Start

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: 2022

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total Assets $0
Total Liabilities $0
Fund balance (EOY)
Net Assets $0


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Board President

Kristian Allen

There are no officers, directors or key employees recorded for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Equal Start

Board of directors
as of 01/20/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Mrs. Kristian Allen

Metro Umpires Kansas City

Term: 2020 - 2023

Board co-chair

Mrs Jamie Parrett

Platte County Community Center North/YMCA

Term: 2021 - 2024

Stacy Benninghoff

Platte County Health Department

Sherrie Kisker

Platte County Health Department

Diane Nespory

Christ Chapel

Cindy Bond

Retired Teacher

Dan Runde

Exchange Bank

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? 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 1/11/2021

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/23/2019

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 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
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.