In January 2019, Kalamazoo Community Foundation officially welcomed Sydney Parfet and Von Washington, Jr. to the board of trustees. Parfet is an attorney at Lake, Parfet, & Schau, where she focuses on estate planning and estate administration. Washington is the executive director of Community Relations at The Kalamazoo Promise.

Sydney Parfet
What inspired you to join the Kalamazoo Community Foundation Board of Trustees?
The Kalamazoo Community Foundation is a staple in our community. It helps raise awareness of issues impacting our community and makes strides to eliminate or minimize the issues. I was honored to be asked to partake in their efforts.

Kalamazoo Community Foundation prioritizes equity and education. How do these priorities intersect with the work you do every day?In my daily profession, I work with clients to provide and protect future generations. The Foundation's work dives deeper into those efforts assuring every child has an equitable chance for success. This effort is a high priority for me personally.

What do you love most about living in Kalamazoo?
I love the community, the culture and the kindness of Kalamazoo. People are proud to be from Kalamazoo. I am proud to be from Kalamazoo, a community that is growing, learning and loving together.

Von Washington, Jr.

Tell us what inspired you to join our board of trustees?
I have seen and heard a number of things related to the work Kalamazoo Community Foundation is doing to support the families and students in Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County. It's extremely important to me to be close to the place that's providing that support so I can best understand where the needs are and how resources are distributed in order for those families and students to get the things they need. I think the Community Foundation does that well and I am excited to be a part of the work.

What body of work do you envision doing as a trustee?

There is an ongoing initiative in this community to try to knock out poverty, homelessness and any of those things that create major challenges for families and individuals trying to be successful. Kalamazoo Community Foundation's focus on education fits well with the mission of the Kalamazoo Promise and so I'm really hoping to get a chance to see where the synergy is and how we can help move all Kalamazoo residents forward.

How has your career in Kalamazoo been aligned with the Love Where You Live theme and the Community Foundation's priorities of equity and education?
The Kalamazoo Promise will continue on in perpetuity. We want to make sure that the thousands of Kalamazoo students are not only successful but love where they live. We want them to live, work and play in Kalamazoo county and in the region. We know we’re going to need all these individuals to move in to make sure we're robust and that our community survives through many of the issues that other areas are struggling with. We want students to come back. We want students to stay here.

Did you catch our KZCF Live interviews with Sydney and Von? Watch them now at

This article was featured in the latest issue of our UPDATE newsletter. Click here to read the full issue as a digital magazine.