Kalamazoo Promise Celebrations Planned
Planning has started for celebrations to mark the tenth anniversary of the Kalamazoo Promise.
The privately-funded college scholarship for graduates of the Kalamazoo Public Schools was announced in November 2005. It was the first program of its kind in the nation. Since then, Promise officials say it has provided more than $60 million to help almost 4,000 students to on to college. The program covers tuition at all public colleges and universities in Michigan as well as at a number of private institutions like Kalamazoo College.
Promise officials say the theme of the year-long celebration is "The Promise We Keep."
Planned events include a celebration in downtown Kalamazoo in August for the community as well as a number of "community conversations" that will start in March. They are intended to point out problems that prevent some students from take advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise and finding ways to overcome them. The formal anniversary will be observed in November. The Promise also plans to hold a "PromiseNet" conference that will feature people involved in similar scholarships around the country that started after Kalamazoo's program was launched. Kalamazoo Promise officials say new data about the program's effect on the area's economy and community will be announced during the conference.