Your gift not only makes a difference, it creates difference-makers

Your financial support helps the Institute for Urban Education produce more high-quality teachers from diverse cultures and races in schools serving urban communities. Your dollars go toward student scholarships and support our curriculum focused on equity, social justice, and community responsiveness. It makes a difference. When teachers of color teach students of color, math and reading scores improve. Brown and black students taught by a passionate teacher who looks like them are more likely to graduate and aspire to attend college.

Why we need you

Student achievement isn’t where it needs to be. As a country, America ranks 38th in the world. Low-performing schools and a teacher shortage contribute to our poor ranking, made worse by the Coronavirus global epidemic. For example, in Kansas City, only 40% of children in public schools are proficient in reading, and just 25% are proficient in math. In addition, only half of our teachers make it past their 5th year of teaching.

Poor rankings and performance showcase the importance of school, education, and the preparation of teachers. They uplift our society and promote equity and social justice. School is the place where children learn to socialize. Education is the ticket to a better life. Teachers wield power to mold young minds and unleash their potential. Simply put, solid education = self sustainability. It moves people out of poverty, generates steady incomes, and helps build assets like homeownership, which contribute to healthier communities and workforces.

Our Goals

IUE’s mission is to provide more high quality teachers who represent diverse cultures and races, ensuring they’re trained for culturally relevant instruction and are committed to teaching in Kansas City’s urban-serving schools long-term. For that to happen, we plan to offer:

  • 100 scholarships each year for the next ten years
  • 50 dual credit scholarships annually for area high school studies through the Grow Your Own initiative
  • 5,000 hours of professional development each year to urban-serving schools

Successes: Thanks to our partners, collaborators, and donors

Our fundraising goal is $15 million by December 2023. We’ve already raised $5.2 million.
We’d like to thank our partners, collaborators, and donors for their generous support.


  • 1Million Project Fund
  • 3M
  • Anonymous
  • Aquila
  • AT&T Foundation
  • Atterbury Family Foundation
  • Marion & Henry Bloch Family Foundation
  • Cathi & David Brain
  • Alvin Brooks
  • Capitol Federal Foundation
  • Dennis Curtin & Tamara Libbey
  • Dave & Dee Dillon Fund
  • Shelly Doucet & Ed Vogt
  • Linda L. Edwards
  • Elsberry Family Foundation
  • Francis Family Foundation
  • Funky Fund
  • Haldex Brake Product Corp.
  • Hallmark Foundation
  • James Heryer
  • Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Kirk Family Foundation
  • Stephen and Cynthia Lehmkuhle
  • Donta Littlejohn
  • Mary Ford Maurer Fund
  • Sarah & Ryan McQueary
  • Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation
  • Morgan Family Foundation
  • Leo & Yvette Morton
  • David Olivia
  • Justin Perry
  • Jerry & Patty Reece Family Foundation
  • SchoolSmart KC
  • Sherman Family Foundation
  • Sprint Foundation
  • Sosland Foundation
  • Sunderland Foundation
  • Union Pacific
  • Jennifer Waddell
  • Terry & Linda Ward
  • Hugh J. Zimmer & Family
  • David Zimmer and Newmark Zimmer

Our Urban Education Advisory Board


Leo Morton
President & COO, DeBruce Companies
Chancellor Emeritus, UMKC

Jerry Reece
Chairman Emeritus, ReeceNichols


Mary Atterbury
President, Atterbury Family Foundation

Debby Ballard
President, UMKC Trustees
President, Sprint Foundation – retired

Alvin Brooks
Author, Founder, Ad Hoc Group Against Crime

Dianne Cleaver
President and CEO, Urban Neighborhood Initiative – retired

Dave Dillon
CEO Kroger – retired

Chris Ellis
President, Ellis Foundation

Anne Elsberry
Chief Counsel, Westlake Hardware – retired
President, Elsberry Family Foundation

Mike Kirk
Spencer Fane – retired

Christine Maurer
Foxx Equipment Company

Ramon Murguia
Murguia Law Firm

David Oliver
Attorney, Berkowitz Oliver, LLP

Marny Sherman
Sherman Family Foundation

Terry Ward
North Kansas School Board

David Zimmer
Chairman / Vice-Principal, NewmarkZimmer

Big dreams start in the present.
They start with you.

Your financial contribution can go a long way to turning big dreams into reality. Imagine rising test scores and a growing percentage of brown and black students pursuing advanced education. Envision our urban core known nationwide for its great schools and teachers passionate about urban education, equity, social justice, and community responsiveness. With every donation, it gets closer to reality.

Make a donation or contact Nathan Shields, Director of Philanthropic Giving – School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences,

Your generosity directly impacts our city. Please consider supporting us today.