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Our Community Investment Priorities

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation has four community investment priorities for its responsive grantmaking.

Early Childhood Learning and School Readiness

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation envisions a community where all children have an equal chance for learning, growth and development; where children get what they need to begin their education fully prepared in mind, body and spirit; where literacy is nurtured and reinforced at home; and where students are prepared with the skills and competencies they need to succeed in school. Therefore, we invest in quality programs that are informed by best practices and:

  • Support literacy-rich home environments that support education and learning;
  • Provide parents with resources to help them prepare their children for school;
  • Develop pre-literacy skills for children ages 0 to 3, and reinforce literacy and language skills for children ages 3 through 10;
  • Break down social, physical, emotional and other barriers to teaching and learning; and
  • Facilitate collaboration and continuity among local agencies that address early childhood learning and school readiness.

Economic and Community Development

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation envisions a community where physical, social and cultural conditions are continually enhanced for all residents; where people can find meaningful employment and resources for economic growth; where a strong downtown is supported by vibrant neighborhoods; and where quality of life and prosperity are enhanced for all. Therefore, we invest in quality programs that are informed by best practices and:

  • Support a vibrant urban core as a platform for economic growth;
  • Support redevelopment efforts in the downtown area, surrounding neighborhoods and adjacent communities;
  • Provide job training and meaningful job opportunities; and 
  • Ensure stable housing that contributes to neighborhood health, especially safe and affordable rental and home ownership opportunities.

Individuals and Families

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation envisions a community where individuals and families are fully equipped to meet their basic needs, become self-sufficient, maintain their dignity and thrive. Therefore, we invest in quality programs that are informed by best practices and support basic needs, such as: 

  • Emergency shelter and transitional housing;
  • Safety, food, clothing, transportation and quality child care;
  • Access to medical, mental, dental and preventative health care; and
  • Skill building to help individuals and families maintain or move toward self-sufficiency.

Youth Development

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation envisions a community where young people are nurtured and have their developmental needs met; are productive contributors to the community; and are prepared for life beyond high school, whether they choose to pursue higher education or enter our community's workforce. We invest in quality programs that use effective youth development principles, are informed by best practices and provide youths with:

  • Safe access to caring adults through youth/adult partnerships;
  • Age-appropriate strategies for growth and development; and
  • Opportunities to build social and emotional learning competencies and a positive self identity.