New KC Education Nonprofit Announces Next Round of Funding

by Binita Dahal   |   Apr 20, 2017
Awais Sufi, CEO of SchoolSmartKC, a new education nonprofit in Kansas City, Missouri, addresses the audience at its launch event earlier this month. (Courtesy | SchoolSmartKC)

A new Kansas City, Missouri, nonprofit has announced the second round of funding as part of a decade-long effort to improve academic achievement among public school students in the city.

SchoolSmartKC, a project that started as part of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, this week said it was making at least $1.5 million available to a dozen schools in the Kansas City school district that are showing “regular academic improvement to reach statewide performance levels,” according to a news release.

Principals in the 12 schools have been asked to submit proposals on how they would use the money, along with technical support, to continue their improvement. Schools selected in this phase will develop a strategic plan this year in collaboration with parents and other community stakeholders.

Two schools from that group that will receive funding to implement the plans.

”We have a unique opportunity to build on repeated years of academic growth within a series of KCPS schools,” Awais Sufi, CEO of SchoolSmartKC, said in the release.

The 12 schools are:

  • African Centered Prep Lower Campus

  • George Washington Carver Dual Language

  • Gladstone Elementary School

  • Foreign Language Academy

  • James Elementary School

  • John T. Hartman Elementary School

  • Northeast High School

  • Phillis Wheatley Elementary School

  • Primitivo Garcia Elementary School

  • Trailwoods Elementary School

  • Wendell Phillips Elementary School

  • Whittier Elementary School

SchoolSmartKC’s overall goal is help double the percentage of Kansas City schools and students that demonstrate performance at or above the state average over the next 10 years. It is working with charter schools as well as schools that are part of the Kansas City school district.

On April 11, SchoolSmartKC announced an initial round of $563,000 in grants to support low-income students at six KCPS schools and four charter schools.

SchoolSmartKC expects to announce a third round of funding by the end of the month, part of a $3.3 million allocation that the organization said represents the “first wave of grants … to help ensure every student within the boundaries of KCPS has the opportunity to achieve success.“

SchoolSmartKC is funded by the Kauffman Foundation, The Hall Family Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. Sufi is a member of the Take Note Advisory Council, and the Kauffman Foundation funds the Take Note project.

—Binita Dahal is a 2017 fellow through the Alfred Friendly Press Partners program, which provides hands-on training in U.S. and international newsrooms and within the Missouri School of Journalism. She is a journalist with the BBC Nepali Service.