Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Helping Hand

For years, the name Ewing Marion Kauffman has been as indelibly linked to life in Kansas City as jazz and barbecue.

The legacy of the renowned philanthropist and pharmaceuticals magnate, who died in 1993, spread to his hometown's middle schools this month, with a decision by his foundation to establish a $70 million program to help at least 2,300 children from urban neighborhoods make the often-difficult trek from 7th grade through college.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's initiative would provide students with tutoring, counseling, career planning, and internship opportunities, beginning in middle school. The foundation, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., is still setting the criteria for selecting the students. But the plan is to select pupils from the next eight years of 7th grade classes as part of an overall program that would track them for 19 years.

The initiative, known as "Kauffman Scholars," would specifically target students from low-income families in the Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., school systems. The overall goal would be to prepare them for life success, but the program is also offering to provide at least partial college scholarships to those students, foundation spokeswoman Joy Torchia said.

A World War II veteran, Mr. Kauffman left a job as a pharmaceuticals salesman during the 1950s to start his own business: grinding up discarded oyster shells into calcium pills in the basement of his Kansas City home. Eventually, that small-time operation evolved into Marion Laboratories, which by the time it was sold in 1989 had annual sales of $1 billion. Mr. Kauffman's name was also associated with another beloved institution among residents of the metropolis on the banks of the Missouri River: He was the longtime owner of the Kansas City Royals baseball franchise.

Kauffman Scholars evolved out of Project Choice, a dropout-prevention program that operated from 1988 to 2001. It encouraged high school students to stay in school, with the promise of a college scholarship or funding for other kinds of postsecondary education. But foundation officials said that experience taught them they needed to intervene in disadvantaged students' lives even earlier than 9th grade.

"The kids who didn't make it were struggling already when we got to them," said Bernard Franklin, who will direct the foundation's scholars program. A central question for the latest effort, he says, is "How can you do things to encourage the middle-schooler to hang in there?"

—Sean Cavanagh

Vol. 22, Issue 29, Page 7

Published in Print: April 2, 2003, as Colleges

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Dyslexia: How to Identify Warning Signs at Every Grade

Increased Social Connectedness Through Digital Peer Learning

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >