Kalamazoo City Commission approves plan connected to $70M donation

Posted at 9:15 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 21:23:49-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo City Commission approved plans to go through with creating a massive philanthropic infrastructure in a 6-1 vote.

The Commission gave the go ahead to establish the Foundation for Excellence, which will help bring taxes down for Kalamazoo homeowners, stabilize the city’s budget, and provide approximately $10 million a year for “aspirational” projects.

Click here for the full meeting agenda and Memorandum of Understanding.

The Foundation will be funded for its first 3 years with a donation from lead donors William Johnston and William Parfet. After which, the goal is to have the fund be self-sustaining from public donations made by anyone. It’s estimated the permanent endowment will need to stay in the range of $500 million.

The City of Kalamazoo was looking a nearly $2 million deficit heading into 2017, and more than $5 million by 2020 before the donation without raising taxes. Property taxes will drop, according to the plan, from 19.27 mills to 12.00 mills.

According to the commission’s agenda, the aspirational projects will address generational poverty and provide opportunities for the youth.

The next steps are for the legal papers to be drafted and approved by the city that will create the Foundation. A budget and work plan will follow soon after.