Exciting News! Read more about the RIPPLE EFFECT AWARD!

Have you seen our new commercials airing on your TVs?



Great Jobs KC Shout Out

EXCITING NEWS! This feature is changing. Starting in November we will be awarding one staff member per month with the RIPPLE EFFECT AWARD.

The winner each month will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card and their name on a plaque in the office.

We want to CELEBRATE each other! Nominate someone you think is making an IMPACT either externally or internally or BOTH! Fill out the survey below (it’s anonymous if you want it to be, you don’t have to fill in your name and the collect IPAddress function is turned off on this survey so it can be absolutely anonymous if you’d like.) Tell us who is making a difference, who is going above and beyond, or who just makes work more enjoyable each and every day!

Our Ripple Effect Award Committee will convene monthly and select the recipient and it will be announced in each month’s internal newsletter.

Every once in a while, there comes a time when we must build bridges so that others can cross.

Every once in a while, there comes a time when we must build bridges so that others can cross. One of our Great Jobs KC Scholars recently fell on hard times. She signed up for our CDL training and has since referred several people our way. 

She has always expressed her gratitude for being in the program. She was nearing the end of her training and felt the need to step away from her employment at Wal-Mart to fully focus on her CDL Training. One Saturday evening, due to the “No Parking” signage being covered, her car was towed. To get her car out of the tow lot, she would have to pay an amount that she simply could not afford. In a feeling of financial desperation, she found herself at the site of her old job, standing in the front, asking for financial assistance from patrons.

As fate would have it, shopping there that night was Nita Daniels, our Director of Community Engagement. Nita offered, from her own pocket, to help get the Scholars’ car out of the tow lot. Our Scholar was overcome with joy and relief that she was able to retrieve her car which enabled her to get to training. “Mrs. Nita was kind and understanding. She helped me, talked with me, gave me some wonderful advice, and also offered additional support so I was able to get my car out of the tow lot.”

Working behind the scenes that evening as well, was our Community Resource Manager, Brandey Chandler who called the tow lot to get the bill reduced. Working together to remove barriers the keep Scholars from achieving is the definition of SCHOLAR’S FIRST. Update: On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the Scholar called to inform us that she passed her CDL exam!

A Message From Our CEO

“Seven years ago, as we embarked on this mission to transform lives through education, we only imagined the possibilities and hoped to have an impact.” -Earl Phalen

September was for celebrations!

September 21st is a special day for our organization. It not only marks the birthday of the visionary who launched the programs that would create the foundation for KC Scholars, but it also commemorates the anniversary of the launch of our organization. These two milestones celebrated on the same day allow us to reflect on Mr. Kauffman and KC Scholars’ incredible impact on our community. This year marks our 7th anniversary as an organization.

Seven years ago, as we embarked on this mission to transform lives through education, we only imagined the possibilities and hoped to have an impact. Today, we look back with a sense of pride and forward with a sense of focus. Our path has been nothing short of remarkable, thanks to the collective efforts of all of you.

Internally, this anniversary is a moment to take pride in the tireless work of our dedicated team. Our passionate commitment to our scholars has made us a force for positive change in Kansas City.

Externally, our impact has been far-reaching. We have witnessed the transformation of lives, families, and communities. Our scholars have succeeded academically and become leaders, change-makers, and beacons of hope for others. The ripple effect of our work extends far beyond what we can measure, touching the hearts and minds of countless individuals.

Our journey has been marked by milestones—each scholarship awarded, each obstacle overcome, each graduation celebrated, and every job secured.

The growth of our Great Jobs KC program and the development of our employer partnership team has allowed us to expand our services, create more opportunity, and impact more lives. We are now so much more than a college scholarship program. These milestones are a testament to the power of education/training and the unwavering belief that every individual deserves a chance to excel regardless of background.

In the years to come, let us continue to expand our horizons, reach more communities, and create pathways to success for even more deserving scholars. As we navigate the ever-evolving workforce landscape, let us never lose sight of our core values—scholars first, integrity, excellence, and inclusivity.

I extend my deepest gratitude to our supporters, donors, partners, board members, and the entire Kansas City community. Your belief in our mission has been our greatest asset. Your support has fueled our growth and enabled us to make a lasting impact. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for Kansas City.

In closing, as we celebrate our 7th anniversary, let us look back with pride and look forward with purpose. Our journey is far from over, and the best is yet to come. Together, we will continue transforming lives and building a stronger, more vibrant Kansas City.

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to KC Scholars. Here’s to the next seven years and beyond.

With gratitude and determination,

– Earl

Scholars first, integrity, excellence, and inclusivity.

Our mission has been our greatest asset.

Here's to the next seven years and beyond.


Our first Core Value is the one that drives our mission and inspires us everyday is SCHOLARS FIRST, here is what our scholars have to say.

“Since graduating, I am currently in my first year teaching Kindergarten in the Kansas City area! I love my Kindergarteners and love knowing I am making an impact on their lives. Every day starts with the best hugs from my amazing kids! I am also pursuing my masters degree in Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum through Mizzou! And of course, always looking for scholarships and other resources to help me reach my educational and professional goals!”

Emma Gorombey, 2019 MU only scholarship recipient, graduated from Mizzou, Summer 2023

Our High School Team

Our KC Scholars Scholarship team held a High School Counselor Lunch and Learn at KCK community college this past month.

During the month of September, the high school team facilitated three informational sessions for high school counselors and other key stakeholders within the schools. They held both virtual and in-person events. Nearly 100 high school staff members attended these sessions. They learned about all of our programs including KC Scholars College Scholarships. They also learned how to best support their students in discovering how to finance and accomplish their post-secondary goals.

Our 19 college partners joined us on September 20th at the annual KC Scholars College Fair for high school juniors and seniors. More than 150 Scholars and family members attended this event! Attendees explored their college options by connecting with admissions representatives and had the opportunity to attend a presentation about financial aid by one of our hybrid advisers with the College Advising Corps. We can’t wait to see where our Scholars decide to go to college!

Our Adult Learner Team


It was phenomenal watching Carrie Barnes, Andrea Diaz and Tiana Sims on the Adult Learner team execute their monthly KC Scholars Connect session. The team created an inviting and accepting environment for the Adult Learners which led to great discussion around the monthly topic of imposter syndrome, connections with each other, and resource sharing. It can be difficult to create an authentic space in a virtual world, but they all knocked it out of the park! Shoutout for embodying what it means to put Scholars first!

The Numbers Don't Lie, We Are Changing Lives Everyday.




currently in training


Currently in workshops



Job Training Team Events from September

Employer Network Team

Our Employer Engagement team is hard at work getting our Scholars to great jobs.

We are excited to welcome the following local companies as partners:

If you have any contacts or know of an employer that would be a good fit please reach out to Michael Chavez at mchavez@kcscholars.org

I’m proud to announce our partnership with the Guadlupe Center to offer ESL classes to GJKC scholars.

Starting in November, we will have the opportunity to enroll scholars into ESL classes specifically designed for GJKC scholars. Many potential scholars come to us wanting to enroll into our programs their command of the English language has stopped them from moving forward. BARRIER REMOVED! We can now offer those potential scholars these classes before they are enrolled into occupational training. Seating will be limited each month so our team will work to identify the scholars in most need.

We are very excited about this new opportunity for our scholars! No scholar left behind!

– Jimmy

Scholar Support Resources

Many of our Scholars will be eligible for state-funded, K-12 educational service grants. These grants can provide parents with funds for educational expenses such as tutoring, academic camps, before-or-after school educational programs, and music lessons. In Missouri, the program is called Close the Gap, and it allows up to $1,500 for one-time educational expenses. The application closes on October 25th. In Kansas, up to $1,000 is provided by the Kansas Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP).

Eligibility is based on income, and priority is given to those below 185% of federal poverty level – about $55,000 for a family of four. This could be a good resource for any Scholars who have children or family members in public or charter K-12 schools.

If you have any questions reach out to Brandey Chandler at bchandler@kcscholars.org


Chicken & Pickle awarded us with the funds we raised back in August with our Give Back night. Thanks again to everyone who came out!

KC Scholars Associate Vice President of Development Karolyn Dreiling received the generosity of some of our many donors this past month who sponsor Named Scholarships.

WdS Educational Foundation with Terry Smitka, Tom Kohl, and David de la Fuente – they provide 14 Named Scholarships!

At the Hickman Mills Education Foundation Gala with Charles Farris, ED and Cheryl Farris, President – they have a Named Scholarship

At the Truman Heartland Community Foundation Gala. Pictured with Nancy and John Kimack – who have a Named Scholarship.


Engaging The Community

The Community Engagement team has been tirelessly weaving its threads into the fabric of the community, amplifying Great Jobs KC’s dedication to fostering employment opportunities and skills development for the local populace. By having a presence at job fairs, such as the Lees Summit Job Fair, we have directly connected job seekers with potential skills training opportunities, with hopes of bridging economic gaps and help provide opportunities for personal growth.

We participated in a number of high school and back to school events to not only guide the next generation toward promising career paths but also reach parents seeking a better life for their family. The team’s displays at Oak Park Mall provided a convenient platform for mall-goers to become acquainted with Great Jobs KC’s programs, turning an ordinary shopping trip into a potential life-changing encounter.

Not only does the Community Engagement Team change lives through skills-training enrollment, we show up for community causes and partners that improve the lives in our community. We were one of the sponsors for the Uzazi Village Annual Black Infant Mortality walk as well as a sponsor of the Mattie Rhodes Center’s Masquerade Gala underscoring our commitment to societal well-being, recognizing that the health and prosperity of a community is not just about jobs, but the holistic well-being of its members.

See Our Impact

Our team was working at the Missouri State office building yesterday and a woman was having such a bad day, her husband just passed away and Brian, one of our staff, happened to ask if she’d heard about us and she hadn’t but decided to learn more and eventually signed up for our Great Jobs KC job training program!

She was overcome with tears because of the joy she got from the opportunity with everything that had just taken place recently.

The next day, Brian was working at the Evergy connect event, and the same woman was there and she was so happy to see Brian. The pics don’t even do justice to the happiness they both felt from seeing each other. Pamela is now enrolled with one of our healthcare training partners, talk about being in the right place at the right time – our team is incredible that way!

How Can We Change More Lives?

We always say “What can I do to change one life today?” But really we want to change more than one life we want to change thousands of lives. To do that we need people to know about our programs. The internet is the best way to do that and Google reviews help our website rank higher on search engines. Anytime you are interacting with our scholars, donors, or partners and the opportunity to ask them to leave us a Google review presents it self please invite them to SHARE THE LOVE about KC Scholars by leaving a review. Use this link to send them direct to our Google review page. You can also add it to your email signature to make it easy for anyone who receives an email from you to leave us a review. If you need help adding it to your email signature reach out to Emma Cruciani at ecruciani@kcscholars.org and she will help you.

Click Here For The Link

Drop this PowerPoint slide into presentations to Scholars, donors, and partners who know us and support our mission!

In The Media

Changing the lives of individuals is incredible, changing the trajectory of generations is amazing. Check out the story of an entire family affected by Mr. Kauffman and his visionary programs.

If you weren’t home during the day to catch it, our CEO Earl Martin Phalen and our Great Jobs KC Scholar Charice Jackson were featured on Great Day KC on Fox 4 recently.

Earl was featured on the Forbes Newsroom to talk about student loan debt widening the racial wealth gap.

Have you seen our commercials airing on your TVs? We have both English and Spanish versions airing through the first part of October all across the region. Thank you so much to our Scholars for participating in our ad campaign and sharing their stories of success!


The answer.....so much!

We’d like to start by letting you know we are working as hard as we can to support each and every one of you. As we work through our organizational name shift and all the changes that come with that we ask for your patience as we work hard to complete your projects as quickly as we can.

A note about the name shift. For the next few months before you use any collateral or send out any documents or get anything printed please send it to the marketing team just to make sure it is the most up-to-date version of what you want to use. There are a lot of updates in progress and what’s on Sharepoint or what is on your computer is likely not the most current version.

Also, please send us anything you are using on your teams that we might not be aware of to have it updated with the current branding/logos. Thanks so very much for your patience and support!


When it comes to communicating… there can be TOO much. To help manage the communications our Scholars receive from us so they don’t unsubscribe or BLOCK us entirely we’ve created a COMMUNICATION POLICY AND PROCESS. It can be found HERE


We have created a Marketing Process Document This document and the form you need to fill out to engage Marketing is meant to help us manage our workload. We support the entire organization and as you can imagine that is A LOT for 3 people to manage, to that end we’ve developed a process and form that will explain the process to use when engaging marketing for your next project or event. We are here to support YOU! Let’s work together to DO GREAT THINGS! Here is the link 


Who doesn’t like to SHOP??? Well even if you don’t we’ve tried to make the process of ordering printables, merch, business cards, and more as easy as possible. Please take a moment to read (or watch the video) to learn how to use the Merch Store in order to make sure you get what you need and it gets billed to the proper department. The Merch Store “How-To” can be found HERE

As always if you have any questions please reach out and ask. The only question we won’t answer is the one you never ask!

Data Report

We do a LOT of surveys. We like to find out about our Scholars so we can better serve them. But we always want to be conscious of how often and what we are asking them. We don’t want to bombard them with surveys or ask them the same question numerous times. It exhausts the Scholars and frankly makes us look a little less professional. So, ALWAYS make sure to get the data team’s approval and input on ANY AND ALL surveys that go out whether internal or external. Just email data@kcscholars.org for their assistance.

IT News

Thank you for welcoming me with open arms into this wonderful organization. As I get settled, I wanted to share a few things with you about what to expect from the IT team going forward.

We want to be your partner so that everyone in the organization feels empowered to serve our community and make a difference. Along with that we also want to make sure that our systems and applications are secure so that we don’t let down those who trust us with their information.

To achieve these objectives, we need your help. We want to make sure IT resources are dedicated to the tasks that are top priority for our organization and deliver the most value. We will start this transition with:

1. The rollout of Asana (our Project Management tool) and,
2. Enabling restrictions on what can be installed on KC Scholars issued laptops.

We have established a self-training program using Asana project management software to help our team members work more efficiently. This program enables our team members to track their projects and tasks, communicate with their colleagues, and stay on top of deadlines.

In addition, we are implementing an IT asset management policy to keep track of all our IT assets, such as incident reports on lost or stolen devices and approval of additional technology or software applications. This ensures we use our assets effectively and efficiently and constantly improve our IT infrastructure.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always here to help.

Best regards, Sandeep Bansal, Sr. Director of IT


Where Humans Find Resources

Our culture is a culture in which every human understands how invaluable the education, development and contribution of every Scholar is to the betterment of ALL. We foster a positive internal company culture by prioritizing open communication, collaboration, and continuous learning. We work to create an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute to our mission of providing access to education and opportunity for Kansas City Scholars. We encourage innovation and creativity, celebrate our successes together, and strive to improve and grow as individuals and an organization.

October Inclusion Awareness:

October 2nd – International Day of Non-Violence
October 5th – World Teacher’s Day
October 9th – Native of American’s Day
October 10th – World Mental Health Day
October 11th – National Stop Bullying Day
October 11th – National Coming Out Day
October 12th – Farmers Day
October 24th – United Nations Day
October 27th – National Mentoring Day
October 28th – National Make a Difference Day


Events around Kansas City:

Here are a few events taking place in our great Kansas City during the month of October:

10/13/23 – HB 2350 Forum at Grand Street Café

10/13/23 – Queer Dance Night at Redux Society

10/14/23 – Dia de Los Muertos with Chef Itan at the Kansas City Museum

10/27/23 – Route 66 Band at Aztec Shawnee Theater

10/28/23 – Kansas City Halloween Bar Crawl

10/31/23 – Halloween

Happy Birthday to these team members celebrating in October!

Tiffany Boulware

Maria Chaurand

Lauren Fant

Lauren Fuchs

Duane Jordan

Emily Monchusie

Deekay Fox

Lilia Alvarado

Natasha Noel


Welcome to these new hires:

Welcome to these new hires:

Reporting to Nita Daniels: Brian Hernandez Mota – Bilingual Spanish/English Recruiter

Reporting to Macenzie Tucker: Kellie Jones – Workshop Facilitator / William Rodelo – Scholar Advocate, GJKC / Antonio Ellis – Scholar Advocate, GJKC / Leslie Smith – Scholar Advocate, GJKC

Reporting to Lilia Alvarado: Sandeep Bansal – Sr. Director of IT

Reporting to Emily Monchusie: William Markley – Sr. Accountant

Reporting to Natalie Lewis: Manomay Kidd – VP of Scholarships

Reporting to Khara Reed: Coley Mattison – Project Management Assistant

We are still looking to fill a few critical positions. If you know anyone who would be a great fit for both the position and our company culture please reach out to Keyanna Dawson at kdawson@kcscholars.org