A STRONG, RECOGNIZABLE COMMUNITY ASSET

A STRONG, RECOGNIZABLE COMMUNITY ASSET

HOW KC SCHOLARS STARTED THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND IS A COMMUNITY ASSET

From its beginning, KC Scholars was planned and is now implemented as a community asset! It is creating a strong college-going culture across our region and is among Kansas City's most prized and transformative programs!

Its roots are in one man’s commitment to postsecondary education as a life-changer! Ewing Marion Kauffman was an entrepreneur and humanitarian, whose innovative and long-lasting contributions have benefited millions of people in Kansas City and beyond. One of Mr. Kauffman’s visions was to ensure a postsecondary education was possible for everyone, regardless of income, age or ethnicity. The Kauffman Foundation wanted to continue this legacy and to gift to our community with a large-scale scholarship and support program that would serve many across the broad region.

KC Scholars started as a community-engaged process. Over 70 members of the regional community helped to plan KC Scholars. They served on planning committees in 2016 and 2017 and their experiences and expertise shaped program design.

As a community asset, KC Scholars a 501(c)(3) entity, resides in the community, and has a community-based Board of Directors.

KC Scholars was publicly launched on September 28, 2016. It awarded its first scholarships in May 2017. Read more about the number of Scholars and impact here.

KC Scholars has grown into a strong, recognizable community asset! It is unlike other programs nationally and is changing the lives of thousands of low- and modest-income Kansas Citians and will be transformative to our region’s workforce and economy.

KC SCHOLARS WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT THE REGION

KC Scholars was designed to create individual impact and to positively impact the Kansas City region’s economy and workforce.

Learn more at Impact about how the program matters to this region.

KC SCHOLARS PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COMMUNITY TO DONATE AND SERVE

Designed by the community as a community asset, KC Scholars embraces the philosophy that community involvement is necessary for its success and to achieve the desired impact. Check out the many ways to become involved in KC Scholars.

  • Community members can donate so that more scholarships are awarded annually. 100% of donations support scholarships. 
  • Community members can be scholarship application reviewers. Learn more.
  • Community members can share the scholarship opportunities with their family and friends and in the organizations in which they are involved. Refer to the Marketing Resources page for more information.
  • Community members can set up a Named Scholarship and name it and direct it to support something they care deeply about.

WHY KC SCHOLARS MATTERS SO MUCH

Near every Scholar says that KC Scholars was a game-changer and that it matters a LOT.

Without the financial support from KC Scholars, most Scholars would have been challenged paying for a college education. Without KC Scholars, most students would have gone deep into debt and many others would not have attended or completed college.

Listen to these Scholars share why KC Scholars matters so much
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

As a 501(c)(3) public charity, KC Scholars has a community-based board of directors.

The inaugural board of 5 began their terms in July 2017. KC Scholars will continue to expand the size of its board in future years.

Terry Bassham

President and CEO
Evergy

Tammy Edwards

Senior Vice President, Community Engagement and Inclusion Division, and Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Board Treasurer
KC Scholars

Michelle Kay

Vice President and General Manager
Enterprise Holdings

Jan Kreamer

Chair, Kauffman Foundation (prev.)
Board Chair
KC Scholars

Beto Lopez

Chief Operating Officer
Guadalupe Centers

Michael Roane

Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer (ret.)
JE Dunn Construction Company

Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, PhD

President and CEO
KC Scholars

David Warm

Executive Director
Mid-America Regional Council

Board Secretary
KC Scholars

MEET THE KC SCHOLARS TEAM

Juanita Ariza

CSA/M and Traditional Scholars Coordinator

Carrie Barnes

Adult Learner Coach

Maria Chaurand

Part-time Administrative and Development Assistant

Karen Collins

Executive Assistant
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Juanita Ariza

CSA/M and Traditional Scholars Coordinator

  • B.A. in Communications & Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Indiana University-Bloomington

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Carrie Barnes

Adult Learner Coach

  • B.A. in Political Science, Central Methodist University
  • M.A in Public Administration, University of Missouri-Kansas City

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Maria Chaurand

Part-time Administrative and Development Assistant

  • B.A. in Psychology, Rockhurst University

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Karen Collins

Executive Assistant

  • B.A. in Management, Webster University
  • M.A. in Management and Leadership, Webster University

Michael Fitkin

IT Solutions Analyst

Camry Ivory

Adult Learner Scholars Manager

Justin Martin

Adult Learner Coach

Emily Monchusie

Director of Finance and Business Operations
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Michael Fitkin

IT Solutions Analyst

  • A.A. in Financial Services Management, Johnson & Wales University
  • Certificate in Application Development, Centriq

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Camry Ivory

Adult Learner Scholars Manager

  • B.A. in Linguistics and Spanish, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • M.A. in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration,
    University of Missouri-Kansas City

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Justin Martin

Adult Learner Coach

  • A.A. in Liberal Arts, Southwestern Community College
  • B.A. in History and Communication, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • M.A.Ed. in Higher Education with an Emphasis in Exercise Science, University of Missouri-Kansas City

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Emily Monchusie

Director of Finance and Business Operations

  • B.S. in Accounting, University of Kansas
  • M.S. in Accounting, University of Missouri- Kansas City

Amy Polen

Part-time Development Coordinator

Valerie Salazar

Director of Programs

Amy Shapiro

Part-time Program Assistant

Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, PhD

President and CEO
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Amy Polen

Part-time Development Coordinator

  • B.S. in Organizational Communications, University of Kansas

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Valerie Salazar

Director of Programs

  • B.A. in Communication Studies and Spanish, Texas Christian University

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Amy Shapiro

Part-time Program Assistant

  • B.S. in Business Administration, University of Kansas

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Beth Tankersley-Bankhead, PhD

President and CEO

  • B.S. in Elementary Education,
    University of Central Missouri
  • M.S. in Guidance and Counseling,
    with an emphasis in College Student Personnel, Eastern Illinois University
  • PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, with an emphasis in Higher and Continuing Education,
    University of Missouri-Columbia

Eric Thompson

Adult Learner Innovation Manager and Adult Learner Coach

Cherelle Washington

CSA/M and Traditional Scholars Manager

Dustin Wightman

IT Solutions Analyst

Sharmelle Winsett

Director of Workforce and Alumni Engagement
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Eric Thompson

Adult Learner Innovation Manager and Adult Learner Coach

  • EdD in Higher Education Policy and Leadership at University of Kansas (in process)
  • M.S. in Family Therapy, Friends University
  • B.S. in Psychology, Jackson State University

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Cherelle Washington

CSA/M and Traditional Scholars Manager

  • B.A. in Communication, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Missouri-Columbia

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Dustin Wightman

IT Solutions Analyst

  • B.S. in Business Administration, University of Kansas

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Sharmelle Winsett

Director of Workforce and Alumni Engagement

  • B.A. in Communications, Business Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia
  • MBA (in progress), University of Missouri-Kansas City

2020 AWARDEES

KC SCHOLARS SURPRISE AWARD CEREMONIES

Every May, KC Scholars has surprise scholarship award ceremonies at schools across the 6-county service region.

In 2019, we surprised 48 Scholars (traditional, adult learner, and college savings match) by awarding their scholarship to them at the school. Parents and families were told in advance and they – along with community donors, press, school leaders, and community members – attended the ceremonies.

At that moment, you can see lives change. Scholars are so proud and happy that they are receiving the award.

Watch Scholars being surprise awarded – this is what KC Scholars is all about.

Remember, to potentially be among those surprise awarded in May 2021 – you have to apply and be awarded a scholarship. Applications open January 1, 2021.