Announcement, News, Press Release

The GreenLight Fund Launches GreenLight Kansas City

May 9, 2018

Kansas City

Kick-off reception with Mayor Sly James and founding investors for GreenLight Kansas City


Fund intends to commit $4.4 million in Kansas City over the next five years to attract innovative, proven high-impact approaches to address local needs and help improve outcomes

Kansas City, MO, May 8, 2018 – The GreenLight Fund, with support from 45 local philanthropic investors, today announced the launch of GreenLight Kansas City to identify and address critical needs of the region’s low-income children and families.

Jon Baum of George K. Baum Family Foundation, a founding philanthropic investor in GreenLight Kansas City, is optimistic about GreenLight’s ability to energize and enhance Kansas City’s social sector: “We are extremely excited to support GreenLight as it launches in Kansas City – its seventh city.  GreenLight will serve as a value-added partner for the city – offering proven solutions to locally identified problems not currently being addressed, and bringing meaningful change to our community.  It seems like the right idea at the right time in Kansas City to welcome GreenLight!”

In addition to George K. Baum Family Foundation, GreenLight Kansas City’s record number of co-founding funders include Abby Sosland and Mark Goodman, AdPredictive, Bank of America, Brad and Elizabeth Bergman, Burns & McDonnell, Darcy Howe and John Black, Dave and Dee Dillon, DST Systems, Inc., Fred and Lucy Coulson, Gautreaux Family Fund, George K. Baum Family Foundation, Global Orphan Project Founders Circle, Global Prairie Foundation, Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation/Midwest Trust/Thomas A. McDonnell, Jean and Don Wagner, John and Sue Simon, Kansas City Southern, Kansas Health Foundation, Kemper Foundations, KPMG LLP, Leigh and Tyler Nottberg Family Foundation, Mariner Holdings, Millie and Michael Brown, Mollie Hale Carter/Sunflower Bank, Neal and Angela Sharma, Ottensmeyer-Porter Charitable Fund, Polsinelli, Raymond Kowalik, Regnier Family Foundations, Robert S. Kaplan, Ron and Cassie LeMay, Russ and Debbie Welsh, Sandra Price, Scott and Tammy Ford, Sherman Family Foundation, Thad and Susan Langford, The DeBruce Foundation, The McDonnell Foundation, Inc, The Sosland Foundation, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Tortoise Investments, Tracy and David Lockton, VantEdge – Paul Edgerley and Terry Matlack, and an anonymous donor.

“An incredible group of Kansas City investors has rallied around GreenLight Kansas City and believes in its potential to help the region address critical needs facing low-income children and families,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures. “Our locally-driven, action-oriented proven approach to addressing issues will be amplified by the amazing civic spirit we’ve seen in our visits to Kansas City.”

GreenLight Kansas City will work to transform the lives of low-income children, youth and families in Kansas City by conducting an annual process to identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with proven, measurable results; and galvanize local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

Kansas City is the seventh community to join the GreenLight network. In other cities – Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area – the GreenLight Method has been used to address a wide variety of issues including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family economic mobility, and youth aging out of foster care.

“Kansas City has a track record of coming together to change lives in our community. GreenLight will be a powerful addition to the philanthropic and social communities already in place. We welcome GreenLight as part of our community-wide efforts,” said Ray Kowalik, Chairman and CEO at Burns & McDonnell and past Chairman of United Way Kansas City. “GreenLight will bring a strong focus on identifying best-in-class proven anti-poverty solutions from across the nation in order to transform lives in high-poverty neighborhoods here in Kansas City. We are proud to have brought together a record number of co-founding coalition supporters to launch GreenLight Kansas City.”

“GreenLight Fund Kansas City will help us focus on our highest needs as a community,” said Paul DeBruce, Founder and Chief Executive at DeBruce Foundation. “Bringing GreenLight to Kansas City allows us to tap into innovative programs from around the nation that we can welcome to Kansas City to benefit the city and the region.”

In 2017 alone, GreenLight’s 20 portfolio organizations reached almost 60,000 children and families across GreenLight’s cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs.  With six GreenLight communities importing programs with demonstrated and scalable impact, GreenLight is on track to reach 100,000 low-income children, youth and families annually in GreenLight cities across the nation in 2018 – with consistently proven results.

“We are excited to be a co-founding investor as GreenLight’s focus aligns with our interest in developing next generation leaders and bringing innovating ideas and solutions to Kansas City,” said Brad Sprong, Office Managing Partner, KPMG LLP.

Tom and Jean McDonnell, also founding investors in GreenLight Kansas City, are enthusiastic about GreenLight’s track record as entrepreneurial, pragmatic, and community-focused in matching community needs to promising practices from around the country.  “GreenLight’s success in other cities gives us great confidence that the GreenLight Method is just what we need to take our efforts and innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to problem-solving here in Kansas City to the next level,” said Tom McDonnell.

GreenLight Kansas City will be led by a local executive director with advice and insight from a Selection Advisory Council made up of Kansas City leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy and government.  The search for GreenLight Kansas City’s executive director is underway; once hired, the local executive director will engage the Selection Advisory Council in the annual GreenLight process to identify issue areas, perform diligence and select an organization for support.  The first selection will be made in 2019.

Margaret Hall, GreenLight’s co-founder and chief executive, said of the launch timeline, “Our all-important first step is to hire an executive director to lead GreenLight Kansas City. With this person in place, we plan to launch our first selection process this coming fall and look forward to keeping the community apprised and engaged with our progress.”

About the GreenLight Fund

The GreenLight Fund is a Boston-based 501(c)(3) organization that aims to transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative programs with proven, measurable results; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact. Current GreenLight cities include Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Kansas City is our newest and seventh city.

Learn more at: www. or contact [email protected]