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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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

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

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 and Vice Chair
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

Earl Martin Phalen

CEO
KC Scholars

Michael Roane

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

Jeff Simon

Office Managing Partner
Husch Blackwell

David Warm

Executive Director
Mid-America Regional Council

Board Secretary
KC Scholars

MEET THE KC SCHOLARS TEAM

Yonatan Abraham

IT CRM Relations/Solutions Analyst

Carrie Barnes

Adult Learner Coach

Angie Besendorfer

Executive Vice President

Maria Chaurand

Development Relationship Coordinator
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Yonatan Abraham

IT CRM Relations/Solutions Analyst

Phone

816-601-2303

Email
yabraham@kcscholars.org

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Carrie Barnes

Adult Learner Coach

Phone
816-398-7658

Email
cbarnes@kcscholars.org

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

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Angie Besendorfer

Executive Vice President

Phone
816-601-2285

Email
abesendorfer@kcscholars.org

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, University of Missouri – Columbia
M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Central Missouri State University
B.S. in Elementary Education, Missouri Southern State College

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Maria Chaurand

Development Relationship Coordinator

Phone
816-406-1636

Email
mchaurand@kcscholars.org

B.A. in Psychology, Rockhurst University

Tom Clark

Director of Traditional/Adult Learner Programming

Samantha DeVilbiss

Director of Programs

Karolyn Dreiling

Associate Vice President of Development

Canda Gierach

Scholar Advocate
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Tom Clark

Director of Traditional/Adult Learner Programming

Phone
816-601-2290

Email
tclark@kcscholars.org

B.A. in Biology, William Jewell College, Liberty, MO
M.S. in Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

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Samantha DeVilbiss

Director of Programs

Phone
816-601-2299

Email
SDeVilbiss@kcscholars.org

B.A. in History and Anthropology, University of Iowa
M.A. in Student Development in Post-Secondary Education, University of Iowa
Ed.D. in Educational Studies with an Emphasis in Leadership and Higher Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Karolyn Dreiling

Associate Vice President of Development

Phone
816-601-2282

Email
kdreiling@kcscholars.org

Master of Public Administration – Nonprofit Management, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Rockhurst University

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Canda Gierach

Scholar Advocate

Phone
816-601-2283

Email
cgierach@kcscholars.org

B.A. in Modern Languages, Kansas State University

M.S. in Education, University of Kansas

Terri Hart

Scholar Advocate Manager

La'Tia Johnson

Data Analyst/IT Specialist

Darnell Jones

Technology Manager

Kailee Karr

Adult Learner Scholars Success Manager
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Terri Hart

Scholar Advocate Manager

Phone
816-601-2304

Email
thart@kcscholars.org

Degrees
Bachelor of Science – Elementary Education, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg KS
Master Ed. – Educational Leadership, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS

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La'Tia Johnson

Data Analyst/IT Specialist

Phone
816-601-2292

Email
ljohnson@kcscholars.org

A.A. – Liberal Arts

Bachelor of Science in Analytics and Technology – Rockhurst University

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Darnell Jones

Technology Manager

Phone
816-601-2302

Email
djones@kcscholars.org

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Kailee Karr

Adult Learner Scholars Success Manager

Phone
816-406-1676

Email
kkarr@kcscholars.org

Natalie Lewis

COO

Justin Martin

Scholar Advocate

Emily Monchusie

Director of Finance and Business Operations

Earl Martin Phalen

CEO
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Natalie Lewis

COO

Phone
816-601-2294

Email
nlewis@kcscholars.org

MBA, University of Texas McCombs School of Business
Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Justin Martin

Scholar Advocate

Phone
816-265-1736

Email
jmartin@kcscholars.org

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

Phone
816-398-7671

Email
emonchusie@kcscholars.org

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

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Earl Martin Phalen

CEO

Phone
816-601-2281

Email
ephalen@kcscholars.org

J.D., Harvard Law School

B.A. in Political Science, Yale University

Racquel Phillips

Executive Administrative Assistant

Amy Polen

Leadership Annual Giving Director

Jessica Rhodes

Chief Development Officer

Amy Shapiro

Part-time Program Assistant
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Raquel Phillips

Executive Administrative Assistant

Phone
816-533-6909

Email
rphillips@kcscholars.org

Degrees
BA, Studio Art with a minor in Business Administration at University of Missouri- Kansas City

AA, MCC-Penn Valley

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Amy Polen

Leadership Annual Giving Director

Phone
816-384-1208

Email
apolen@kcscholars.org

B.S. in Organizational Communications, University of Kansas

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Jessica Rhodes

Chief Development Officer

Phone
816-601-2297

Email
jrhodes@kcscholars.org

Masters of Science, College Student Personnel, University of Central Missouri

Bachelors of Arts, Psychology, Missouri Valley College

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Amy Shapiro

Part-time Program Assistant

Phone
816-406-1599

Email
ashapiro@kcscholars.org

B.S. in Business Administration, University of Kansas

Ashley Rudd

Director of High School CSM/Traditional Programming

Naila Sherman

College Savings Match and Traditional Scholars Manager

Kaylee Sundeen

Traditional Scholars Coordinator

Eric Thompson

Stackable Credits Manager
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Ashley Rudd

Director of High School CSM/Traditional Programming

Phone
816-601-2291

Email
arudd@kcscholars.org

Bachelor of Arts – Applied Behavioral Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Master of Science – Digital Content Strategy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

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Naila Sherman

College Savings Match and Traditional Scholars Manager

Phone
816-398-7662

Email
nsherman@kcscholars.org

M.A. International Communication, The American University

B.S.B.A. International Business and Computer Systems, The American University

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Kaylee Sundeen

Traditional Scholars Coordinator

Phone
816-601-2280

Email
ksundeen@kcscholars.org

M.S. in Counseling and Student Development
Kansas State University

B.S. in Journalism-Mass Communications
Kansas State University

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Eric Thompson

Stackable Credits Manager

Phone
816-601-2292

Email
ethompson@kcscholars.org

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

Alex Villagran

Project Manager

Sharmelle Winsett

Director of Workforce

Bryan Woodson

College Savings Match Coordinator
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Alex Villagran

Project Manager

Phone

Email
avillagran@kcscholars.org

Degrees
Bachelor of General Studies- University of Kansas
Masters in Public Administration- University of Kansas

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Sharmelle Winsett

Director of Workforce

Phone
816-601-2293

Email
swinsett@kcscholars.org

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

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Bryan Woodson

College Savings Match Coordinator

Phone
816-601-2295

Email
bwoodson@kcscholars.org

B.S. in Psychology from the University of Kansas-Edwards
M.A. Ed in Higher Education/Educational Leadership and Policy Foundations, University of Missouri-Kansas City

2022 AWARDEES

To learn who received scholarships in 2022, click below to download lists.

Traditional Awardees

Adult Learner Awardees

College Savings Match Awardees

MU 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.