Thank you to those who were able to provide our team with feedback by filling out the Partners in Progress survey. 

We're continuing to find new ways to make Partners in Progress relevant, timely and useful for you. We heard ideas for future topics, including technology support, relationship building opportunities between funders and nonprofits, as well as highlighting additional resources to support your work in community. 

Meanwhile, we will continue to feature the topics you have highlighted as most valuable, including important dates and capacity-building opportunities. 

We appreciate hearing from you and encourage ongoing feedback that will help us make Partners in Progress useful in your work.

Activating Your Policy Influence

Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to release her proposed 2019-2020 state budget on March 6. It is critical for nonprofits to make their voices heard as the budget develops. Legislators are listening to your input about where resources are allocated for services that our community needs and values.

To build your organization's capacity for legislative advocacy and find resources on how to influence the upcoming state budget, we would like to direct you to the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), a nonpartisan policy institute that promotes racial equity, economic security, health and well-being for all people in Michigan through policy change. 

MLPP provides advocacy resources for nonprofits including an advocacy guide, as well as tools and tips. Advocacy is not something you have to do on your own. One suggestion for influencing policy is working with other local organizations or coalitions in your sector to show a unified position. To learn more, click the button below.

Inclusion in the Workplace

At KZCF, inclusion means we value, actively seek out and honor the full identities and perspectives of diverse individuals to advance organizational learning, understanding and decision-making for the benefit of our community. We know that it is simply not enough to have colleagues of diverse backgrounds in the room. This is why inclusion is critical.
Every organization needs to determine how it can best create the conditions to honor the culture and identities of its staff. One way KZCF is working on expanding our lens is through culture and celebrations. In February, KZCF recognized both Chinese New Year and Black History Month. One of our staff members is a Chinese-Malaysian immigrant and in honor of Chinese New Year staff worked together to hang red lanterns around our workspace and participated in a lunch gathering to learn about food and traditions related to the holiday. For Black History Month, Black staff teamed up to share stories about little known figures, concepts, and organizations in Black history and hosted a documentary screening and discussion about Black Wall Street.

As we work to affirm diverse identities, it is important not to tokenize people who may be underrepresented at work. This can play out by expecting them to take on the full burden of teaching others about their culture. Help alleviate this burden by doing your own research about a culture or celebration instead of looking to one person or group for all the answers. You can also offer to help them celebrate in a way that is respectful and appropriate.

How is your team intentionally inclusive of other cultures at work?

As a reminder, these deadlines are for requests of more than $25,000. KZCF reviews all other Letters of Inquiry once per month year round. Learn more here!

First Round 2019
  • Letter of Inquiry Due Date  March 1 by 5 p.m. 
  • Application Due Date  April 8 by 5 p.m.
  • Funding decisions will be made the week of June 10, 2019
Second Round 2019
  • Letter of Inquiry Due Date  August 30 by 5 p.m.
  • Application Due Date  October 7 by 5 p.m.
  • Funding decisions will be made the week of December 9, 2019
National Day of Racial Healing

Disability Network Ableism Training
9 - 11:30 a.m.

MARCH 20-22
ERACCE 2.5 Day Training
1 - 5 p.m. on first day; 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. on following two days

SAVE THE DATE: 5th Annual Find Your Cause
Details coming soon!


Meet Sarah Lee!

Sarah is KZCF’s director of Marketing Communications and has been with the organization for just over one year. Sarah designs and directs KZCF’s strategic marketing and communications plan and develops external and internal communications in collaboration with the MC team.
What are you most excited about in the year ahead relevant to your work and/or at KZCF?
From a Marketing Communications perspective, I am excited for our team to work with greater intention on developing impactful narratives to deepen community engagement with our equity work in the Kalamazoo community. We have a unique opportunity to tell stories in partnership with our community and how we are working together to make Kalamazoo County the most equitable place to live.
Before KZCF, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?
I worked for a semi-pro hockey team in developing marketing promotions for 36 home games. 
What’s one interesting fact about you?
My husband (pictured right) and I share the same last name before we got married. Note: We are not related.
To connect with Sarah and to get to know her more, please contact her at or connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram. Check out her    recent blog on our website about why she chose Kalamazoo as her home.

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