Innovative Approaches to Postsecondary Education Individual & Family Giving

At a recent Donor-to-Donor, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors gathered to hear from postsecondary education advocates who are working to help make postsecondary education more attainable for more students in the Kansas City metro area. Panelists represented organizations that are newly established and rely heavily on financial support from individual donors.

Donors first heard from Dr. Beth Tankersley-Bankhead and Jan Kraemer from KC Scholars, a scholarship-based program for Kansas City high school students and adult learners. KC Scholars is focused on transforming the Kanas City region’s workforce and economy by making education a reality for many low-income students across the metro.

“This program isn’t charity,” said Jan Kreamer, “This program is an investment. Nothing is more important than preparing the next generation of our workforce.”

Next, donors heard from Lydia Matlock and John Murphy from Give Something Back, an organization focused on providing scholarships and mentoring to students who have faced economic hardship and other adversities. Give Something Back partners with both high schools and universities in seven states across the country to create a support system for students in the Give Back scholarship program

Just this fall, Give Something Back established partnerships with four Kansas schools, Pittsburg State University, Baker University, Wichita State University and Kansas State University to provide a total of $3 million in scholarships for students.

Finally, donors heard from Dr. Jackie Gill and David Disney from the Kansas City Construction Career Academy, a partnership of Metropolitan Community College, North Kansas City Schools and JE Dunn Construction. Students in the program are dual-enrolled at their North Kansas City high school and Metropolitan Community College, and at the completion of the two-year program, they receive both their high school diploma and an associate degree in applied science.

Upon graduation, students have the flexibility to decide whether to continue their education at a traditional four-year school or enter the construction industry. The Kansas City Construction Career Academy emphasizes transferrable skills and lifelong learning.

A lively Q&A followed the panelists’ presentations, with many questions from donors focused on mentorships. KC Scholars, Give Something Back and the Kansas City Construction Career Academy each recognize the critical importance of mentorship in students’ lives, and formal and informal mentorships are available to students in each program.

The Community Foundation makes it easy for donors to create and maintain their own scholarship program. For more information on setting up a scholarship fund, contact us at Donor-advised funds also allow donors to support nonprofit organizations of any kind. Learn more and easily set up a donor-advised fund online or contact us at

Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist