We can all love where we live.
Kalamazoo County is the most equitable place to live.
Mobilize people, resources and expertise to advance racial, social and economic justice.
The Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) is one of the oldest, most respected and successful community foundations in the country, and is supported by thousands of people from all walks of life.
We have a deep knowledge of the community’s challenges — and aspirations — and the groups and individuals addressing them.
We are dedicated to preserving what we love most about the community and creating a better future for generations to come.
Our work at the Community Foundation is guided by seven core values:
We believe our community cannot thrive until it is a place where all people are safe, valued, and have equitable access to opportunities and resources. We commit to an anti-racism and equity analysis being engaged in all aspects of our work as we strive to identify root causes that drive disparities and advance interventions that interrupt racism. We are open to questions that push us to adapt and shift our perspectives and actions. We hold ourselves accountable to evolve our work towards greater accountability with communities who have been historically oppressed.
We imagine a world free of oppression. We are committed to understanding and naming the painful racial history that has led to current realities. We commit to proactive strategies toward dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism within philanthropy, public policy, and our community---especially when it challenges us most. We believe in creating space and opportunities for those most impacted by issues to build civic, cultural, and political power. We commit to re-imagining alongside community transformational solutions that are essential for the healing and prosperity of our community.
We believe relationships are the driving force behind our work. Authentic relationships hold significant power to influence people, shift institutions, advance movements, and grow communities. Without authentic relationship, we do not thrive. Relationships are what keep us engaged, sustained, and hopeful. Relationships drive change.
We recognize that the individual and systemic transformation needed to free our communities of oppression, especially racism, must be rooted in a commitment to healing – a healing toward wholeness -- and love -- the work of love to produce justice. We recognize healing and love as foundational to fostering change. We commit to learning from the wounds of the past, through truth telling, understanding, and authentic relationship building. We uphold the long-term accountability to engage in individual and collective healing as we strive toward a shared vision of liberation for all. We believe in the transformational power of love to open up pathways for this vision.
We uphold the greater good when making decisions centered on an abundant worldview, love, and our shared humanity. We center those who have been historically oppressed in order to maximize the benefit for the collective. We engage decision making that is made with people -- always striving to minimize harm. We advance decisions that are rooted in integrity, honesty, and transparency.
We understand our best work happens when we are committed to continuously learning and evolving. We value the imperfect and iterative nature of learning processes and commit to applying new learning amid the complex, uncomfortable, and non-linear demands of advancing our mission towards racial, social and economic justice. We take responsibility for our individual learning and create spaces for collective reflection and analysis.
We believe joy is a form of resistance, liberation, and connecting to our wholeness amid the demands of transformational work. It is essential for sustainability, grounding, and purpose on our hardest days. Joy requires space and practice. Joy takes us beyond survival and is at the center of a re-imagined, prosperous, and loving community.
Together, we bring our vision and mission to life.
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