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WATCH: City gets $400 million donation to fund Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence endowment

Kzoo gets 400 million for foundation of excellence.jpg
Posted at 1:08 PM, Jul 28, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The city of Kalamazoo announced they have received an anonymous $400 million donation to fund the city's Foundation for Excellence.

They made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

City officials said the $400 million gift will be funded over a 10-year time period bringing the foundation's original fundraising goal of $500 million to life.

"This remarkable gift is like none other. This is to our knowledge the largest gift in history to support a municipality," said Jim Ritsema, the City of Kalamazoo's City Manager and Co-Founder and President for the Foundation for Excellence board.

The Foundation for Excellence (FFE) was created back in 2017 to fund three areas: property tax reductions, sustaining the city budget and paying for diverse projects.

Those areas are all areas the foundation has been working on since then, taking in input from the community.

"All this input we took in, we incorporated into 10 strategic goals that totaled to over 145 individual actions that we intend and have been implementing for the benefit of all," said the City of Kalamazoo's Deputy City Manager Laura Lam.

Lam added three quarters of those 145 actions have been completed or are in process.

"Major investments are in affordable housing, our youth developments, in parks rehabilitation, our infrastructure, are in areas of the governance as well," said the City of Kalamazoo's Foundation for Excellence Manager Steve Brown.

The anonymous $400 million donation came from long term residents of the city according to city officials.

It will be funded over 10 years getting the foundation to its full intended amount of $500 million.

"We are putting a stake in the ground for our children and our children’s children by creating and funding his endowment that will put us in the position of literally having a fund that will last in perpetuity," said the City of Kalamazoo's Mayor David Anderson.

City officials said this money will be used going into the future. It will used for things based off of community needs by having community conversations with what people want to see in their neighborhoods.

For more on the Foundation for Excellence and what it does, click here.