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.


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. 


  • Youth Mobility Fund Passes Issued to KPS High School Students

    With the issuance of Youth Mobility Fund passes underway, high school students in Kalamazoo Public Schools can now access afterschool programs, practices, rehearsal, and other activities for free via Metro. The Youth Mobility Passes offer free and unlimited transportation for KPS high school students on Metro upon issuance through September 1, 2020. To ride the bus, students simply need to present their school-issued student ID and the Youth Mobility Pass, which are issued together in a plastic case. This is the first year of the program, which is funded by the Foundation for Excellence and a partnership between the City Read More
  • Foundation for Excellence Approves 2019 Meeting Schedule

    The Foundation for Excellence has adopted its regular schedule of meetings for 2019. You can find the complete schedule here. Additional information on the Foundation for Excellence can be found at  Read More
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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

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

Foundation for Excellence Staff

The FFE employs four staff members to manage the governance of the foundation and administer its programs. FFE staff are employees of the City of Kalamazoo and includes Deputy City Manager Laura Lam, Foundation for Excellence Coordinator Steve Brown, Youth Development Coordinator Chad Wendt, and Neighborhood Activator Katie Reilly. 

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.


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 (269) 337-8047
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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