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Imagine a vibrant, prosperous, and equitable city, where people want to live, work, and raise families. Imagine being a more beautiful and livable city each year, more innovative and connected. Imagine having more jobs and less poverty, and providing young people with the jump-starts they need in life.

Structural budget challenges have for many years impeded the City’s effort to make its vision a reality. The Foundation For Excellence is a unique innovation by the City of Kalamazoo and private donors to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city. The Foundation provides millions of dollars each year to stabilize the city’s budget, lower its property tax rate, and invest in aspirational community projects. A community fundraising effort will be launched to create a fully endowed foundation that can sustain this funding in perpetuity.

The Foundation’s financial model is being structured in such a way as to do the most good with the most efficient use of resources possible. The Foundation will work to establish strategic partnerships with organizations whose mission and work aligns with the goals and objectives of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan, the Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo plan, and the City of Kalamazoo. These plans are built around the City’s deep investment in broad community involvement and collaboration. Each reflects a pathway to improve life for all residents of Kalamazoo. 

Make a donation to the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

Please note that because the Foundation for Excellence is incorporated as a supporting organization to the City of Kalamazoo, IRA rollover contributions can be accepted but will not be tax deductible.


  • FFE Newsletter Highlights 2020 Investments and Impact

    The importance of partnerships and shared vision became clearer than ever as our community responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of individuals and dozens of organizations continue to devote themselves to helping in this crisis. Learn how the FFE supported these efforts and how FFE investments are having a positive impact for the people of Kalamazoo.  Read More
  • Foundation for Excellence 2021 Meeting Schedule

    The 2021 Foundation for Excellence schedule of board and committee meetings has been approved and is available here. All FFE meetings are open to the public and welcome public comments. Meetings will be held via web conferences viewable on the City’s Facebook and YouTube pages until further notice when they can safely resume in person in the Community Room of City Hall at 241 W. South Street. Read More
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Document Library

The FFE strives to maintain the highest ethical standards and maximum transparency in everything it does. All meetings are announced in advance and open to the public subject to Open Meetings Act. In 2018, the Board of Directors unanimously approved core governance policies, including those regarding conflicts of interest, diversity and equal opportunity, financial accountability, and whistleblower protections.

An open document library including all policies and documents is available below.

Foundation for Excellence Document Library


Newsletters and Reports

The Foundation for Excellences also produces a newsletter each year highlighting some of the projects and programs that it supports, and an annual report that provides financial information and other required disclosures. These are available in the document library and the most recent publication is embedded below. 

Board of Directors

The FFE bylaws establish a 15-member Board of Directors. Ten members are stakeholder directors, each representing a community interest such as healthcare, education, or business. Five are City Directors, representing the City of Kalamazoo generally. These members include the Mayor, City Manager, two City Commissioners, and one At-Large representative from the city. Stakeholder and At-Large terms rotate every three years while City Directors serve for the duration of their employment or elected service. A significant initiative is undertaken to cultivate a Board that is largely representative of the community and that will add unique insights about every facet of Kalamazoo.

The FFE’s bylaws state that one-third of board positions expire each year, meaning there are opportunities annually for everyone in the community to participate. Board members are responsible for attending at least three meetings per year and contributing to the responsible and transparent operation of the foundation. There are no requirements on previous board membership or restrictions on who can apply, (though an overall percentage of city residents is required). Positions expire on June 30 each year and vacancies are announced along with application instructions in December.

Current Membership

Dr. Angela Graham-Williams, President David Anderson Jeanne Hess Charlene Taylor
James K. Ritsema, President Sandra Calderon-Huezo Stephanie Hoffman Jack C. Urban
Adam McFarlin, Treasurer Alisa Carrel Rachel Lonberg Von Washington, Jr.
Barbara Hamilton-Miller, Secretary Nathan Dannison Alice Taylor Bobby J. Hopewell, Emeritus

Foundation for Excellence Staff


The City employs five full time positions to manage the governance of the foundation and administer its programs in collaboration with department staff and community partners. These positions includes Deputy City Manager Laura Lam, Foundation for Excellence Manager Steve Brown, Youth Development Coordinator Chad Wendt, Neighborhood Activator Dan Baisden, Shared Prosperity Coordinator Kevin Ford, and Grants Specialist Kerry Lyn Williams.  


City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


 (269) 337-8000
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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