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Kalamazoo City Foundation Gets A Big Boost

John McNeill

The privately funded foundation that supports services in the City of Kalamazoo got a major boost on Wednesday, July 28.

On the steps of City Hall, Mayor David Anderson announced that the it has has received a very large anonymous gift.

"The City of Kalamazoo has received a $400-million to fund the Foundation for Excellence."

The donation brings the foundation's endowment up to the goal of half-a-billion dollars.

The city says FFE allowed the city to cut property tax rates in 2017. Anderson says the new gift will keep tax rates low and city services funded.

"It means the capacity to keep our property taxes lower. That's huge."

Kalamazoo officials say the new donation means the 40-percent reduction in property taxes in the city can now continue indefinitely.

Anderson says funding from the foundation also makes up for dollars the city hasn't been getting from the state.

"It allows us to fill that gap, and the most important thing is that it allows us to dream. We can now aspire (to) what a better future can be and invest dollars in those areas to make sure that we can actually change lives."

Money from the foundation also pays for things like programs that fight poverty and homelessness. Anderson says the latest gift is on a par with the creation of the Kalamazoo Promise college scholarship program in 2005. Although its money comes from private sources, Anderson says decisions about how it is spent are made by elected officials in accord with the city's "Imagine Kalamazoo 2025" plan.