The Midtown Community School Initiative is a grassroots organization working to ensure quality school options for families in the Midtown neighborhoods of Kansas City, Missouri.

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Funding announcement

Today we’re excited to announce that Citizens of the World, our charter school partner, has received a total of $2.65 million in funding to open two new elementary schools in Kansas City.

Since Midtown Community School Initiative’s (MCSI) first community meeting in summer 2013, it’s been clear that our community was ready to work together to improve education options in Kansas City. For too long, we watched friends and neighbors move out of the city in search of better schools. We believed that if our community joined together, we could increase the number of high-quality schools in our neighborhoods -- which would have ripple effects for our city's economic development, neighborhood stability, and community growth.

Because of our community's shared vision and collective action, we're thrilled to say that there will be two new high-quality schools serving our neighborhoods in 2016. This funding commitment is a significant step toward making our goal a reality.

What began as living room meetings with neighbors led to an innovative RFP seeking high-quality school operators. This initiative has become a first-in-its-kind partnership between parents and community members (MCSI), a charter school network (Citizens of the World), and community funding partners (Kauffman Foundation, Hall Family Foundation and Walton Family Foundation).

Citizens of the World (CWC Schools), which focuses on serving economically and racially diverse student populations that reflect the demographics of their communities, aims to open two K-1 elementary schools in August 2016, and add a grade each year. They intend to be operating four schools, including elementary, middle and high schools, at full capacity of 1,650 students by the 2027-28 school year in the area bounded by State Line to the west, Prospect to the east, Union Station to the north and Brush Creek to the south.

“We are proud to partner with so many parents who have taken the initiative to give even more families high-quality public school options and now with foundations who are giving back to strengthen communities,” said Kriste Dragon, co-founder and CEO of Citizens of the World.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to provide Kansas City with a school model that reflects the inclusiveness and diversity as well as academic rigor parents value, helping students realize their full potential and become true citizens of the world.”

The Kansas City-based Kauffman and Hall Family Foundations contributed $1 million and $650,000, respectively. The Walton Family Foundation contributed $1 million. The total $2.65 million funding will be used to ensure a successful launch of the first Citizen elementary schools in the 2016-2017 school year.

Today’s announcement is a testament to the fact that when the power of community and parents is bolstered by the generous support of foundations, we can fuel change in our neighborhoods and city at large. This collaboration with schools and foundations that value community, excellence, and diversity, is great news for Kansas City and for the many families who call Midtown home.

In the coming months, MCSI and CWC Schools will continue to share updates about our progress. Additionally, CWC Schools and their Community Advocates Committee will be hosting small group meetings to ensure the community has an opportunity to learn more about CWC Schools' model and charter application and approval process. If you are interested in getting involved, or would like to attend or host a meeting, please contact Andrea Arroyo, New Site Development and Community Engagement Director for CWC Schools, at

Thank you for helping to make this exciting announcement possible! As always, we look forward to working together to launch these schools, and improve educations options in our community through expanded efforts.