KZCF: Then and now

A few things have changed since the Community Foundation was born 90 years ago in 1925.


The Community Meeting as we know it now was first held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in the spring of 2000. About 750 people came to hear keynote speaker Robert Putnam, who had just published Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Dr. Putnam’s talk helped kick off our BetterTogether/Kalamazoo social capital initiative, which emerged from a dialogue about civic engagement sparked by our participation in a national social capital survey. The initiative started discussions, motivated individuals to action, encouraged collaboration, and invested in our neighborhoods to create connections that would make Kalamazoo stronger than ever. 


Our 2015 Community Meeting was held at Miller Auditorium on November 3. Our keynote speaker was Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me, who spoke to more than 2,500 attendees on race in America. Today our vision goes beyond merely a community with strong connections. We envision a community where every person can reach full potential and our top strategic priorities are education and equity. We are committed to helping Kalamazoo County students achieve more and to removing the barriers — including racism and discrimination — that keep people from living positive lives.


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