photo of a child in a classroomA $45,000 grant by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation to ISAAC – Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community – is helping to maintain smaller class sizes for many students throughout Kalamazoo County’s nine school districts.

ISAAC’s Building the Beloved Community project was able to work with other organizations statewide during the past year, including the Michigan Department of Education, to continue class-size reduction funding for students in kindergarten through third grade. The state’s decision to continue this funding was made in time to keep smaller class sizes for the current 2012-2013 school-year.

"Education and learning is one of our top priorities and we are thrilled that ISAAC was able to work toward maintaining reduced class sizes, which has been shown to increase student success," says Amy Slancik, a community investment officer at the Community Foundation. "It is wonderful to see one of our nonprofits in this community demonstrate the kind of leadership necessary to ensure that state funds continue to help students and families here in Kalamazoo County."

According to ISAAC Executive Director Brendan Flanagan, "ISAAC found the support from the Community Foundation invaluable to our organization’s effort to mobilize the community to advocate for retaining small classroom sizes."

The Community Foundation’s grant to ISAAC’s Building the Beloved Community project was a one-year grant to achieve goals in three broad areas: bringing diverse people together across racial, religious, geographic, and generational lines to embrace common values; offering monthly training sessions accessible to leaders of varying levels of education and experience; and increasing access to programs that move families toward self-sufficiency, increasing the number of affordable family care units, and increasing the number of residents engaging in community-building activities.

The grant aligns with the Community Foundation’s increased focus on education and learning and authentic community engagement.

ISAAC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization supported by foundations, membership dues, grass-roots fundraisers and individual contributors. ISAAC is a faith-based community organizing group made up of congregations and organizations that united in order to accomplish what cannot be done as individuals or single congregations. Together, they focus collective people-power on the most pressing issues of injustice in Kalamazoo County.