If Kalamazoo County is to become a community where race and identities don’t predict success, the pursuit of racial justice is critical.

Including the lived experience of marginalized communities is necessary for designing and leading programs that end oppression. In 2021, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) expanded its board to 13 trustees with the explicit intention that traditionally underrepresented identities make up a majority of the total board.

To accomplish this goal, KZCF opened its board application opportunity to the entire community for the first time in its 95-year history. From that process, Artrella Cohn, Kama Mitchell and Dr. L. Marshall Washington were chosen to join the board.

Kama Mitchell, KZCF Trustee.

"We are thrilled these individuals emerged through this community-centric process,” said Carrie Pickett-Erway, president and CEO of KZCF. “It's an honor to add their brilliance and passion to our board.”

Artrella Cohn is a respected champion for neighborhoods and community and holds deep nonprofit experience. Kama Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Rootead Enrichment Center in Kalamazoo where she focuses on health through generative offerings and collaborations. Dr. L. Marshall Washington is currently the third president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Washington is a passionate advocate for supporting access to community college education, improving student learning and outcomes as well as creating learning opportunities.

Get to know our new trustees and learn how they stay inspired.

Institutionalizing Anti-Racism

In November 2021, KZCF’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team welcomed new co-chairs to the team: Carla Fernández-Soto, Kallista Fernanders, Remius Jones, Lenore Yeager, Kari Benjamin Hamann and Beth Gregory-Wallis. The team currently has 13 community volunteers offering input and holding the Community Foundation accountable to its commitment to anti-racist policies, practices and procedures.