City of Kalamazoo Seeks Community Board Members

Contributed by the City of Kalamazoo

city logoApplications are now being accepted for membership on the Foundation for Excellence (FFE) Board of Directors.  Community members that would like to apply are encouraged to complete the application form HEREApplications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m., November 1, 2017. The form is very brief and should take about ten minutes to complete.

Paper applications (attached) are also available at the Kalamazoo Public Library branch locations and in the City Manager’s Office on the second floor at City Hall. If you need assistance accessing a computer to complete the online form, one is available at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation located at 402 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.  Please call (269) 381-4416 in advance to schedule an appointment.

Application questions include contact information, employment sector, skills and experience, and demographic information. “It is our intention to foster a respectful board culture where every member contributes their unique voice and skills to the work ahead,” said City Manager Jim Ritsema.

The Foundation for Excellence is a unique innovation by the City of Kalamazoo and private donors to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city. The Foundation will provide $70.3 million to stabilize the city’s budget, lower its property tax rate, and for $10 million of aspirational community projects per year through 2019. During this period, a fundraising effort will be launched to create a fully endowed foundation that can sustain this funding in perpetuity.

Board responsibilities are addressed through policies, and in the bylaws and articles of incorporation (available at http://www.kalamazoocity.org/ffedocs) to ensure the integrity of the Foundation for the good of the public and its financial contributors. Members will govern the Board’s operations and make recommendations to the City Commission in order to provide funding each year for aspirational projects and Shared Prosperity initiatives that realize the community vision established in the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan. “Staff will be working very hard to ensure that board members do their homework on the Imagine Kalamazoo Strategic Vision in order to understand the Foundation’s specific alignment,” added Assistant City Manager Laura Lam.

Being the FFE’s inaugural Board, members will be especially involved with the creation of policies, procedures and schedules, and coordinating with staff on project planning and selection, budgeting, and presentations. “This first board needs to be passionate about creating a lasting culture and institution,” said Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell.

The fifteen-member Board will have specific requirements of residency and affiliation. Two seats will be automatically filled by the City Manager and Mayor. The City Commission will nominate and appoint two additional City Commissioners to the Board at a public meeting. One seat will be filled by the Commission from any at-large resident of Kalamazoo. Three seats will be filled by representatives from any three of the City’s officially recognized neighborhoods. Finally, one seat will be filled by professionals from each of the following sectors: housing, healthcare, faith-based organizations, education, business/banking, arts community, and affinity organizations. Any combination of nine of the 15 seats must be filled by City residents.

It is the hope of City and FFE leadership to have an inaugural Board of Directors in place in time for orientation at the end of January, 2018. The new Board’s next meeting will convene at the end of January, 2018 and be open to the public.

The City Commission is expected to approve the final slate of nominations at its December 18, 2017 meeting.