We were able to raise nearly $1,000 towards scholarships, thanks to you!

"Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be able to receive a college education. I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise...”

Read more about how the event was a huge success!



KC Scholars' Shout Out!

Our latest Scholar SHOUT OUT goes to Tiana Sims. When one of our Adult Learner Scholars was in crisis, she and Scholar Advocate Carrie Barnes worked together to contact 988 on his behalf and stay (virtually) by his side until he was feeling better.

The Scholar created a safety plan and is seeking additional mental health resources. 988 is a resource that all of us can use to support Scholars, and Mental Health First Aid training is being scheduled for all Scholar-facing staff. Great work, Tiana!

A Message From Our CEO

“As we stand at the threshold of another academic year, I am filled with excitement and anticipation.” -Earl Phalen

Where Excellence Meets Opportunity

“All of the money in the world cannot solve problems, unless we work together and (when we) work together there is no problem in the world that can stop us as we seek to develop people to the highest and best potential.”

– Ewing Marion Kauffman

As we stand at the threshold of another academic year, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. The start of this journey marks not just the beginning of classes and training programs, but the unfolding of a new chapter in your life – one that holds endless opportunities for growth, discovery and achievement.

Our unwavering commitment is to honor the vision and legacy of Ewing Marion Kauffman by helping individuals access the education and credentials needed to secure family-sustaining jobs.

We understand that the journey toward a family-sustaining job through obtaining a college degree or earning a job training credential is multifaceted. Therefore, you will hear more about paid internship programs with potential partners focusing on our high school scholars, and college freshmen, sophomores’ juniors in the coming months. The goal is to support you, from the start, in securing paid internships in our local businesses, ensure you experience corporate culture over the summers, build up your resumes, broaden your professional connections, and ensure that you have multiple career experiences and opportunities.

Our degree-seeking and credential programs and all our community partnerships are designed to provide scholars with the skills, knowledge, and qualifications necessary to access and secure high-quality job opportunities ($45,000-$85,000 per year plus benefits) and forge a path toward a prosperous future.

Just as Ewing Kauffman believed in the power of collaboration, we acknowledge that our mission can only thrive through collective effort. By uniting scholars, educators, community partners, donors, and mentors we celebrate progress, enable dreams, and carry forward the visionary spirit that will enable Kansas Citians and Kansas City to thrive.

We look forward to witnessing your progress, celebrating your successes, and supporting you in your journey.

– Earl

Ewing Kauffman believed in the power of collaboration

Our mission can only thrive through collective effort

We look forward to witnessing your progress

Scholars First

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.

“That is amazing news! Thank you for all your help. I am so grateful to KC Scholars. This has been a wonderful opportunity, and I have benefited in so many ways. I am better at my job, I am earning more money, and I have better prospects for my future. And with all that being said, I am just proud of myself for reaching the finish line!!

Cheryl Edwards – An Adult Learner Scholarship Scholar at UCM who had stopped out for awhile but when she returned, found out she only had one class left to finish her degree.

It's Our Honor to Serve the Kansas City Community

It is our honor to serve, but sometimes the community honors us.

August 5, 2023 KC Scholars was honored as the Community Champion of the Match at the KC Current home game.

August 8, 2023 KC Scholars was honored to be the recipient of the GIVE BACK NIGHT at Chicken n Pickle in North Kansas City where we raised nearly $1,000.

August 28, 2023 KC Scholars and Earl were honored before the Kansas City Royals game and with selection for the Buck O’Neil seat. See the presentation here

Our Traditional Scholars

KC Scholars Engage

Saturday, August 19th was our first annual KC Scholars Engage Conference. The event was a big success and everyone left feeling proud, hopeful, and energized.

Natalie captured the feeling incredibly well, here:
“The energy of the conference was electrifying, and it was all thanks to the leadership of Khara Reed and Amy Polen and their superstar planning team (Laura Cooke, Kate Crockett, Deekay Fox, Mary Kate Kelly, Coley Mattison, Amy Shapiro, and Kaylee Sundeen). Thank you also to all our amazing KC Scholar Staff members who showed up in forces to volunteer this weekend. The atmosphere was charged with positivity, and I can’t help but feel immense pride in the remarkable impact we made on the KC Scholars community.

The conference not only inspired our Scholars but it ignited a fire within them. Witnessing the enthusiasm, curiosity, and hunger for knowledge in their eyes reaffirmed the importance of our mission.

Moreover, having Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace, the new President and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, present to share her inspiring journey and connect with our Scholars provided a real-life example of the heights they can reach with determination and resilience. Her story will undoubtedly resonate for years to come and inspire our Scholars to dream big.”

To see the excitement watch a video capturing the day:

Adult Learners

ROCKSTARS!! 100% of new Adult Learner awardees have filed their 2023 Fall enrollment form – this is the first time in KCS history that we’ve had 100% before the start of the Fall semester. This means that Scholars are engaging with our AL Advocates and building trusting relationships. Exactly what we want! Andrea Diaz & Carrie Barnes have been absolute ROCKSTARS in this initiative.

KC Scholars Connect

We recently started monthly “KC Scholars Connect” virtual meetings for our Adult Learners. We began in June, and with each month, they’ve continued to grow in attendance. Our August version had 21 Scholars! YAY!!!

Andrea, Carrie, & Tiana host KC Scholars Connect for our Adult Learners every first Wednesday of the month on Zoom. This is a virtual session during which Adult Learners share their experiences with one another, share resources, and build connections. Typically, we have a topic that we focus on, Tiana will share a related community resource, and finally, we have a facilitated discussion. In August, Tiana and Carrie hosted on the topic of having a “Growth Mindset.”

Great Jobs KC

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




currently in programs


in workshops




Great Jobs KC job skills workshops continued strong in August! Nice job, TEAM!

Employer Network Team

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

We are excited to welcome Swope Health and Children’s Mercy of Kansas City to our Employer Partnership Program.

We are partnering with local KC businesses through a program called: Great Jobs KC (GJKC) Employer Partnership Program. We want our Scholars to experience socio-economic success by entering jobs paying $45,000 or more a year.

We can partner with employers through one or more of these program options:

1. Talent Supply – Employers become members of our program through an annual membership, bringing in a certain number of Scholars as hires.

2. Talent Acquisition – Employers welcome our Scholars as hires through a per hired fee.

3. Talent Development – Employers identify staff members within their workforce making less than $45,000 a year and we partner with training funds to advance their careers.

All three options offer support services to the hired Scholars such as soft-skills GJKC training, basic needs services, retention support for up to a year of their new employment, and more.

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

Training Partners

On July 28th, George Hudson, DeLano Sheffield, and Jamie Kellogg had the opportunity to attend IC Star’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. IC Star is one of our newest training partners. They offer training in information technology as well as an apprenticeship for their students. Above is a picture of the ceremony which includes their Executive Director for Kansas City, Shamika Hogan (left); co-founder and president, Sandee Kastrul (middle); and national board member, Will Shields.

NEW PARTNER!!! Pawsperity

Pawsperity, is devoted to helping impoverished families become self-reliant through job training in the high-demand, high-pay trade of pet grooming. Pawsperity’s education-based approach not only financially empowers single parents in poverty by equipping them with credentials in a competitive market, but it also ensures that they focus on improving their family’s future as a whole through parenting and budgeting classes, mental health support, life skills courses, and other needed medical services coordinated with many local organizations. Upon completing the 6-month grooming training, students can work in one of the area’s 200 pet salons or even start their own grooming business.

Exciting News!!

We have at least 2 Scholars who will be part of this graduation with the possibility of 4 additional Scholars.

Partner Impact!

Hello, and happy back-to-school season!

In our senior year of high school, a friend of mine didn’t have the clarity she wanted about her future. I could see the disappointment on her face and hear the indecisive tone in her voice. I jumped at the chance to tell her all about the Agile Work Profiler© and The DeBruce Foundation’s various career tools.

What I love about the Agile Work Profiler© is that it doesn’t “clear up” that question of what/who we could be. It simply reminds people of the qualities and attributes that they’ve already exhibited. It shows them that there is a place that they could use their skills and interests in our ever-changing workforce.

This tool empowers me as I embark on my college journey this semester; it reminds me that I hold qualities already that are employable, applaudable, and worthy of recognition. Having the resources of The DeBruce Foundation makes me feel secure in my vision and in my capabilities.

As you embark on your next season, I encourage you to be open to discovering yourself as well as your Agilities. I have a feeling you’ll discover something great that lived inside you all along. Anyshya Hemphill – traditional scholarship recipient in 2022 freshman at Mizzou and a DeBruce Career Corps member

Development News

Thank you to everyone who came out to support us at GIVE BACK NIGHT on August 8th at Chicken N Pickle. We were able to raise nearly $1,000 towards scholarships.

A Thank You from one of our named scholarship recipients

Hello Terry Smitka of the WDS Educational Foundation,

I am Anna Nguyen, an incoming senior at North Kansas City High School and recipient of the KCS Named Scholarship. To tell you a little bit about myself, I am a first-generation college student, and I dream of going to college and hopefully pursuing a degree in Communication Science and Disorders to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. At the moment, I am also a current Early College Academy student at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, finishing off both my high school diploma and Associate of Arts.

Finding out that I had received the KC Scholars scholarship has been a true blessing to my family and I as it has helped take the burden of financial stress off of our shoulders. The happiness I felt to be named a scholar gave me hope that I would be able to attend a University without having to worry much about how I will pay for my education.

I would like to take this time to thank you for being a donor of KC Scholars as it has and will help many students like me to pursue their dreams for their future education.

Thank you again,
Anna Nguyen

Impact Outside The Lines

Often times our organization is able to make an impact outside the lines of our regular programming. On July 29th KC Scholars was able to do just that when we had the honor of co-sponsoring a private movie screening event of “Till” for local teens and their parents/guardians. The event included a powerful 45-minute panel discussion hosted by Dia Wall. Esteemed panelists included Alana Mayo, President of Orion Pictures – Preston Holmes, Executive Producer – Tricia Bushnell of the Midwest Innocence Project. It was an open and honest discussion of the challenges that face our community every day and the historical significance of Emmett Till’s story. Pictured with the panelist is our very own KC Scholar, Hadiyah Bayan, who asked of the panelist the simple question, “Do you all feel like America will ever achieve 100% equality?” During the event, we announced that we have created a $50,000 college scholarship that will be awarded yearly in honor of Ralph Yarl. Yarl and his family were in attendance to receive the announcement of the named scholarship.

Always Hustlin' Always Learnin'

On Thursday, August 17th the Community Engagement Team and our GJKC Education Partner team came together and conducted a half-day training on everything from the GJKC Model, Our New Workshops, current Career Tracks and how we vet our training providers. It was a great meeting filled with great questions and discussion. It’s so important that we continue to train and communicate so that we can consistently provide the best scholar experience.
Kudos to Nita Daniels, George Hudson and Jaime Kellogg on putting this training together.

Community Engagement

Engaging The Community


A KC Scholar ALUMNI, and leader on the team, Dee Burns brings over 24 years of experience in workforce development to the team. Dee embodies compassion and care as she shares a soft, knowledgeable introduction to GJKC.

Dee joined the team in March 2023 and has supervised the efforts of other recruiters as they push to obtain goals and make connections in the community. Her dedication and support have impacted the lives of over 1000 scholars and counting.

In her leisure, she enjoys spending quality time with family, cooking, baking, party planning, and shopping. Her reach extends across the Kansas City community by volunteering for breast cancer awareness, women empowerment efforts, and she’s dedicated to educating those who want to improve their lives.

She shows up with a “whatever it takes” mentality and has witnessed lives changed through her efforts. We are thankful to have her on the team and a member of the KC Scholars family. Dee, thank you for your continued drive to succeed, and to help others do the same.

Picture of Dee Burns (Left) and Anta’ Williams (Right) at the Belton Community Resource Fair

Picture of KC Superman for the Lord, Pastor Michael Wheeler (Left) and Dee Burns (Right) at the Royals’ Game

Picture of KC Superman for the Lord, Pastor Michael Wheeler (Left) and Dee Moore (Right) at the Royals’ Game

Perspective scholar who is relocating to Kansas City at the Royals’ Game

Pictures of John Ginwright (Left) and Earl Martin Phalen (Right) at the State of Missouri Resource Conference

Pictures of Earl Martin Phalen (Left) and Mario Gaitan (Right) at the State of Missouri Resource Conference

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 itself please invite them to SHARE THE LOVE about KC Scholars by leaving a review. Use this link to send them directly 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!

See Our Impact

KC Scholars, I don’t have the words to express my gratitude for this organization or the extraordinary people that work there. As I start my senior year at the University of Central Missouri, and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just want to say thank you to everyone associated with KC Scholars that has been a part of the amazing journey. Without the generosity of those who provide funding for my scholarship, I would never have been able to complete my degree or had the experience of a lifetime studying in France as part of my major in World Languages and Cultures. I have learned more than I could have possibly imagined, not just in my classes, buy through so many experiences that I can’t even name them all. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This is truly an amazing organization. I would encourage you to find out more and spread the word about the transformative work they do.

– Melissa Longo, KC Scholar at UCM

Team Building

Our staff and our Great Jobs KC Scholars had a great time at the Royals game on August 28th. They even shared some photos with us. We love being able to spend time with our team members and Scholars away from our computers. Pictured here is Jodi Smith and her grandkids.

Also at the game one of our recently awarded traditional scholars, Michel Mugisha, a senior at J.C. Harmon High, got to meet Earl and share his story. He was so moved to be able to meet Earl and receive a signed copy of Earl’s book. We are so very proud of Michel and his accomplishments.

Rewarding Our Scholars

For those of you who may not know, we recently rewarded our currently enrolled Scholars with a KC Scholars OGIO backpack. Our Scholars have recently started receiving their backpacks and our reaching out with their appreciation. The response is inspiring. We took on a huge project of sending a backpack to every enrolled Scholar. It was a huge undertaking by members of our team and our promotional products vendor. See the photos below of the massive operation they set up special for us, and this project.

Thank Yous~

Dear KC Scholars Team,

I trust this email finds you in good health and high spirits. I wanted to take a moment to extend my heartfelt appreciation for the thoughtful gift that I recently received from KC Scholars. Receiving the beautifully crafted bookbag was a delightful surprise, and it has left me truly touched by your organization’s kindness and generosity.

Your dedication to providing scholarships for individuals like myself has already made a profound impact on my educational journey. The bookbag is not only a practical and cherished gift, but it also serves as a constant reminder of the incredible support that KC Scholars extends to its recipients. The resources and opportunities you offer are immeasurable, and I am deeply grateful for the ways in which your organization continues to shape the futures of many.

With the new academic year ahead, I am excited to step forward with renewed motivation and determination, thanks to the encouragement your gift has provided. As I work diligently towards my educational aspirations, I will carry the spirit of KC Scholars with me and strive to make the most of the opportunities that your scholarship has afforded me.

Once again, thank you for your boundless generosity and for believing in the potential of individuals like myself. It is an honor to be a part of the KC Scholars community, and I eagerly anticipate the day when I can give back to others in the same impactful manner.

Sending my warmest regards and best wishes for continued success,

-LaToria Campbell, KU

I’m writing to inform you that I’ve just received my KC Scholars backpack this week and I absolutely love it! It really made my day! I’ve already packed all my things in it and I’m now taking it for a test run. Now whenever I feel overwhelmed and frustrated with myself, school, and work I’ll look at this backpack as a reminder that you all are really rooting for me and really care about me and my time here at Park.

Thank you all so much for banking in this investment!

With gratitude,
Cheri Regis

I just wanted to say thank you for the really nice backpack delivered to me yesterday! I don’t get to say it often but I am very appreciative of KC Scholars and all that the advocates and other staff do for students…especially for us adult learners.

Thank you and have a great day!

Andrea Hooper

Surveys Surveys Surveys

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.

Data Report

Talent Team Tidbits

Welcome to these new hires:
Reporting to : James Swift
Macenzie Tucker, Director of GJKC
Reporting to : Jennifer Clarke
Clinton McCullough, Admission Enrollment Coordinator
Asya Beasley, Admission Enrollment Coordinator
Reporting to : Lilia Alvarado
Michael Chavez, Sr. Director of Employer Network

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

IT News

6 easy Steps to Free Your Inbox of SPAM:
How to block spam email using KCS Scholars Barracuda Essentials from your Outlook 365 Email

Please locate the Barracuda Essentials on the top of your Outlook ribbon.

Go to your inbox and select the email you want to block.

Click on the Message Actions Barracuda Essentials at the top of your Outlook 365 Ribbon to block an email.

Once you click on the Message Action Barracuda Essentials, you will see a box that will pop up like this below.

Once you click REPORT & PROVIDE FEEDBACK, the window below gives you different options to report the email. Once you select, please click the submit button!

Once you have reported the email and provided feedback, the email will automatically be deleted from your inbox!

What’s Up With Marketing?

We have created a Marketing Process Document*.
This document 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 a link to the Marketing Procedures Document.

Big Plans for a BIG DAY!

September 21st is both Mr. K’s birthday and our 7th anniversary as an organization. In honor of both we have fun plans for our social media the week leading up to the BIG DAY, including giveaways. Follow along for the FUN!

Show Your Scholars’ Pride

Facebook no longer allows you to submit a Facebook Profile Frame unless it’s about specific things.

However, we wanted you, our partners, and our scholars to be able to show your KC Scholars’ pride. We created this Profile Pic Frame for you to use and share with our scholars and partners so anyone who wants to show their pride can.

In order to use this frame you will have to use a program like Canva to drop this frame on a profile pic of your choosing. The frame file can be found here.

If you have questions about how to do this on our personal page, reach out to Emma Cruciani at ecruciani@kcscholars.org

HUMAN RESOURCES: 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.

September Inclusion Awareness:

Sept. 15th – Oct. 15th Hispanic Heritage Month: Honors Hispanic/Latino Americans for the contributions to U.S. culture.
Sept. 15th-17th:  Rosh Hashanah : Jewish New Year, provide the opportunity to reflect on Jewish faith.
Sept. 23rd:  First day of Fall.
Sept. 24th-25th Yom Kippur: The holiest day in Judaism and Samaritanism, focus on atonement and repentance.
Sept. 27th Mawlid: Celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad in the Islamic faith.

Events around Kansas City:

Fiesta Hispania – Sept. 15-17, 2023 (link here)
Plaza Art Fair – Sept. 22-24, 2023 (Link here)
Latino Arts Festival – Sept. 23, 2023 (Link here)
Deaf Cultural Festival – Sept. 23, 2023 (link here)
American Royal World Series of Barbecue – Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2023 (link here) 


Happy Birthday to these team members who celebrated during the month of August
Colleen Anderson, Anta’ Williams, Stephanie Johnston, Terri Hart, Jennifer Clarke, Brandey Chandler, Eddie Young and Amy Shapiro