Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership Awarded $396,000 Kauffman Grant for Capacity-Building

Primary objectives will be to sustain and enhance the capacity of the metro region’s nonprofits and expand the center’s own capacity for data analysis

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has awarded The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City a two-year, $396,800 grant to continue and expand its work to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan region.

This grant will support the center’s extensive portfolio of nonprofit leadership and organization development programs and services, as well as expanding the center’s research capacity in the areas of social entrepreneurship and governance at the Center, which is a unit of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. The grant will also be used to create Learning Circle programs for nonprofit organizations.

Scott Helm, Associate Director of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, said the Kauffman Foundation approached the Center about two years ago as part of its decision to invest in the development of intermediaries serving Kansas City’s nonprofit sector. Kauffman recently decided to renew the investment for two more years. The primary objectives of the new grant will be to sustain and enhance the capacity of the metro region’s nonprofits, expand the center’s own capacity for data analysis, create more community engagement, and focus on research capacity while also refining the center’s reports to civic leaders and the citizens of the region to help them more fully understand the nature and work of the nonprofit sector.

The Center also serves as an entry point for people from the community who want to go back to school to get a master’s degree or complete continuing education credits in areas such as nonprofit financial management, program evaluation, and fundraising.

The Kauffman Foundation grant will allow the Center to add a course structure they describe as a Learning Circle, and its first Learning Circle will focus on helping nonprofits build their capacity to engage in program evaluation.  Between 10 and 20 nonprofits that need evaluation services, but cannot afford them, will attend one four-hour class each month for six months and, between the sessions, they will work on a sequence of work activities. During that six months, as a result of completing these steps, the agency will have completed an evaluation from start to finish, leaving them with one program they can replicate year after year.  This evaluation will give them a current market analysis, employee satisfaction information, customer satisfaction data, current performance evaluations, nonprofit board assessments, and an overall program evaluation for their organization.  This concept will connect the nonprofits with each other, creating a cross-pollination of ideas and resources, and build their long-term capacity for future evaluations.

The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership has become a nationally recognized university-based nonprofit center that focuses on serving the nonprofit community of a particular region. To learn more about the Center find them online at or visit their office at 4747 Troost Ave, Kansas City MO; or contact their main office at 816-235-2305.

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