After six years of serving as a county-wide education collaborative for pre-kindergarten through adult literacy, The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo has brought its work to an end.

The Learning Network was launched in 2011 with a vision to create a community where every student can reach full learning potential and a mission to achieve this goal by connecting excellent educators to a caring and engaged community.

The leadership council of The Learning Network made the decision at its June meeting based on a combination of challenges facing the initiative: lack of long-term financial sustainability, slow progress due to complexity and scale, and limited overall impact.

As The Learning Network's anchor entity, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation supports this decision.

"One clear legacy of The Learning Network is that resources do, indeed, enhance collaboration," says Carrie Pickett-Erway, president/CEO, Kalamazoo Community Foundation. "However, this experience also highlighted the challenge of measuring collective impact and how funding alone cannot solve our greatest challenges."

According to Pickett-Erway, "We're proud to have been part of this work; we are grateful to those who have been part of The Learning Network's staff, to each of our partner organizations, and the many individuals who invested in its work in a variety of ways."

Says Cyekeia Lee, director of The Learning Network, "Although our direct work ends, we believe this bold experiment succeeded in many ways and the legacy of our work will continue to positively impact students of all ages for many years to come."

A final report is being prepared to reflect on the initiative's success and challenges and will be shared with the community once complete. "We believe the lessons we learned can benefit others," says Lee.

"The Community Foundation remains committed to supporting education programs that remove barriers to learning and increase access to high-quality education for all community members," says Pickett-Erway.

August 2, 2017