Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

Empowering City of Kalamazoo residents to achieve the lives they want for themselves and their families.

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More than $160 million invested to date

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, less poverty, and opportunities for young people to the jump-start the lives they want. Since 2017, FFE has invested nearly $150 million to make this vision possible. View the Power BI dashboard.

How does the Foundation for Excellence Work?

The Foundation for Excellence is an independent 501c3 organization created to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city and help make Kalamazoo the most dynamic, fulfilling and equitable place that it can be. Every year, the FFE provides funds to the City of Kalamazoo to stabilize its budget, lower the property tax rate, and invest in aspirational projects and programs. FFE is led by the diverse community members that sit on its Board of Directors and all investments are driven by the community's vision. The people of Kalamazoo have final authority through their elected representatives on the Kalamazoo City Commission.

Flowchart showing how the Foundation for Excellence receives ideas and funding.

Board of Directors

Community Members Lead

The FFE bylaws establish a 15-member Board of Directors. Ten members are stakeholder directors, each representing a community interest like 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 anyone 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.