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REACH Healthcare Foundation;
The REACH Healthcare Foundation is beginning implementation of a new five-year strategic plan that includes attention to highly vulnerable populations, including legal and undocumented immigrants and refugee populations. This report identifies immigrants' barriers to access health care and coverage, as well as findings and recommendations from a series of community conversations with key leaders of organizations working to support immigrant health and well-being in the Kansas City metropolitan area and with immigrant consumer groups.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation;
A small set of metropolitan areas in the United States can be considered second-tier life sciences or technology regions. Kansas City is such an emerging second-tier region. The Kansas City metropolitan area was able to grow a small but specialized knowledge economy because of the presence of large firms and subsequent efforts to strengthen entrepreneurship. This paper presents data from twenty interviews conducted in the summer of 2012 with regional experts, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs who have successfully raised risk capital.The analysis of Kansas City's entrepreneurial community shows, first, that large firms' role as incubators of entrepreneurial startup companies seems to have diminished, and that there are weak connections between existing large firms and entrepreneurial ventures. Second, entrepreneurial exits in the form of mergers and acquisitions have increased and a small number of cashed-out entrepreneurs are reinvesting their funds and becoming engaged. Yet this process seems to be still in its beginning stages. Third, the region's entrepreneurial community does not exhibit strong networking and collaboration. Rather, entrepreneurial ventures and industry connections exist much like "islands of excellence" without strong interconnections. Fourth, although the availability of funding has increased, local entrepreneurs perceive the accessibility and availability of funds -- and the capacity local venture investors bring to the table -- as limiting factors. At the same time, while the number of investment groups has increased, the investor community is still fragmented and not well connected. Fifth, the energy and collective effort to improve the Kansas City entrepreneurial community has increased and strengthened significantly since 2006 when a similar study was conducted.Various groups and organizations have ensured a thickening of the entrepreneurial support infrastructure in the form of creation of incubators, establishment of financial incentives to invest in entrepreneurial ventures (i.e. angel tax credits), and the addition of effective mentoring and networking events. Yet the analysis of the data shows that Kansas City faces the drawbacks of a region characterized by organizational thinness in the form of weak endowment of firms and organizations that can fuel the entrepreneurial pipeline and a lack of interaction and networks among key members of the entrepreneurial community, which keeps the entrepreneurial economy fragmented. To overcome organizational thinness and fragmentation, this paper suggests focusing policy efforts on connecting key actors in the entrepreneurial economy such as existing large firms, entrepreneurial ventures, universities, and funding and mentoring organizations.
Philliber Research Associates;
Summarizes the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's three-year evaluation of an initiative providing a summer program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Analyzes its effects on students, parents, program interns, and the host churches.
University of Kansas;
In 2014, the Women's Foundation commissioned a research study with the following objectives: 1)Gain descriptive information about women's attitudes towards civic engagement 2)Compare responses at three levels of civic engagement 3)Draw themes from small groups. After three months of online surveys, focus groups, and analysis, the results highlight there are significant barriers that keep women from becoming involved in Kansas City boards and commissions.
Kansas Health Foundation;
The Kansas Civic Health Index provides a comprehensive, first-time look at civic and political engagement in Kansas. This report was developed in partnership between the Kansas Health Foundation and the National Conference on Citizenship.Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), this report examines civic health in Kansas with a specific focus on civic engagement of Kansans with different levels of income, education, and racial/ethnic backgrounds.The report also presents recommendations made by approximately 50 stakeholders to address these issues and strengthen civic health in Kansas.
Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University;
Examines trends in charitable giving by individuals, foundations, corporations, and bequests to charities working in nine issue areas. Analyzes giving to local groups, average household giving, and giving by issue area compared with U.S. trends.
Analyzes enrollment, capacity, location, and performance data for KCMSD and charter schools and examines the effects of closures, restructuring, and teacher layoffs on students. Recommends strategic coordination to meet student needs and state standards.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation;
Documents the strategies and activities of the First Things First initiative from the preparatory phase of the initiative through the first year of implementation in Kansas City and reports on its early results.
New Teacher Center;
Analyzes findings from a study of teacher induction policy in the Kansas City metropolitan area and illustrates the effects of these policies on district practices governing mentoring, professional development, and new teacher support programs.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation;
As a typical Midwestern city, Kansas City and its successful entrepreneurs often are overlooked in economic development studies. We find, however, compelling evidence that the region has ample entrepreneurial success to celebrate, study, and share since numerous Kansas City area firms have appeared on Inc.magazine's list of the fastest-growing companies. We recently interviewed the founders of some of these firms in the city's information technology, biotechnology, and business services sectors about their views on the strengths and viability of Kansas City's entrepreneurial ecosystem. We gained valuable insights for area policy and economic leaders. Key findings of our interviews include:-Lack of venture capital or angel investment does not hinder the growth of Kansas City firms. Only a small percentage of the high-growth firmsinterviewed reported receiving investment from Venture Capital or Angel investors. Instead, most high-growth firms were self-financed or received financial assistance from founders' close friends and families. Some bootstrapped by adapting their firms to customer needs to achieve growth, while others scaled up only as revenues increased and additional customers were found. No matter how they were funded, the firms successfully grew their revenue. -Kansas City firms enjoy a substantial pool of talent in the region. Growing firms often have a long-term employee development strategy to hire young people and train them to be first-class professionals, including technical experts. Entrepreneurs also find the region's low cost of living and strong, Midwestern work ethic to be major strengths.-Most Kansas City entrepreneurs find support from customers, vendors, and/or collaborating firms in the region. This finding runs somewhat contrary to Swiss researcher Heike Mayer's recent conclusion that firms in the Kansas City region are disconnected. These regional connections lead to the firms' innovations and growth. -A number of high-growth firms serve only the Kansas City area or a limited market of regional cities, yet they see this limited regional focus as a business strength. Entrepreneurs and their support community should take note that a firm does not have to capture a national or global market to be highly successful. -Most Kansas City entrepreneurs report that locally based mentors have played a significant role in their success. Whether through informal or 2 formal channels, connecting experienced entrepreneurs to aspiring or nascent entrepreneurs and allowing mentor-mentee relationships to grow organically should be goals of the city's entrepreneurial support community. Further research is needed on how best to create and implement local mentorship programs.
F.B. Heron Foundation;
We take this opportunity to communicate Heron's approach to assessing impact, with a particular audience in mind: our customers -- grantees, investees and applicants.We thought that it might be useful to outline how and why we support practitioners and their networks in results-based, management-oriented systems for assessing impact. Following this letter, we highlight four organizations that demonstrate impact at the local, regional and national levels.
Are parents an untapped resource in improving and reimagining K -- 12 education in Kansas City? What do they think would enhance student learning and what are they willing to do to help their children get the education they deserve? These are among the questions explored in an in-depth survey of 1,566 parents with children now in public school in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This study finds the majority of parents in the Kansas City area ready, willing and able to be more engaged in their children's education at some level. For communities to reap the most benefit from additional parental involvement, it is important to understand that different parents can be involved and seek to be involved in different ways.The results of this research, detailed in the following pages, show that nearly a third of the region's parents may be ready to take on a greater role in shaping how local schools operate and advocating for reform in K -- 12 education. These parents say they would be very comfortable serving on committees focused on teacher selection and the use of school resources. Their sense of "parental engagement" extends beyond such traditional activities as attending PTA meetings, coaching sports, volunteering for bake sales, chaperoning school trips and seeing that their children are prepared for school each day. Yet, despite their broad interest in a deeper, more substantive involvement in shaping the region's school systems, relatively few of these "potential transformers" have actually participated in policy-oriented activities in the past year. Moreover, this survey finds that even though the majority of parents seem less inclined to jump into school policy debates, many say they could do more to support local schools in the more traditional school parent roles.