A few things have changed since the Community Foundation was born in 1925.
Our first office was at The Upjohn Company; we now have a permanent home on the edge of the Edison neighborhood in downtown Kalamazoo. Our assets have grown from $1,000 — the amount of W.E. Upjohn’s first gift — to $450 million. We’ve evolved from being known as "the community’s cookie jar," to an organization focused on long-term, transformative change.
In the early years of the Community Foundation, we supported Kalamazoo Public Schools with two grants. The first grant was for $250, followed by another for $1,000 to provide students with food, clothing, and other support.
Education is a major part of our strategy. We are investing millions of dollars, $5 million over five years (supported by a $6 million investment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation), in the work of The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, a county-wide initiative dedicated to constructively confronting the persistent challenge of preparing people — especially those who live in poverty — for success in school and life.