IFF launches Kansas City Quality Seats, helps to open three new charter schools September 1, 2016

Three new charter schools opened this summer in Kansas City with help from IFF, creating over 1,650 seats for students who live in high-need areas.

Citizens of the World, Crossroads Academy and KIPP Endeavor Academy are benefiting from IFF’s partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. IFF’s Kansas City Quality Seats Initiative is an effort to improve the education landscape in neighborhoods across the city by providing the research, financing, and real estate services necessary to support the growth of quality charter schools.

IFF’s analysis of 2014-15 school year data shows that nearly half of Kansas City’s school-age children lack access to a quality school near where they live, with most of the shortage concentrated in just six areas of the city.

Citizens of the World, which operates charter schools in Los Angeles and New York, came to Kansas City at the request of the Midtown Community School Initiative, a group of Midtown parents and community members who want better options in their neighborhood.

At full capacity, CWCKC will serve up to 432 students in grades K-5 while leasing a building from IFF. The facility is owned and being financed by IFF, with plans that CWCKC will eventually buy it. IFF also redeveloped the vacant office space into a modern school.

IFF has worked with CWCKC since September 2015 to find a site and make possible the opening of the new school. This location is one of two elementary schools being opened by CWCKC and will draw students from nearby areas identified as priority according to IFF research.

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City opened a second campus, Quality Hill, for 186 students in grades K-3 during the 2016-2017 school year and eventually will serve 422 students in grades K-8. The new school is in a historic and formerly vacant office building in downtown Kansas City, preserving a neighborhood anchor institution.

IFF closed on $4.8 million in bridge loans for buying and renovating the building, with plans to provide permanent financing next year. The bridge loan allowed the school to open on time while securing historic tax credits and capital campaign pledges. Previously, IFF made a loan to Crossroads to renovate its first campus.

KIPP Endeavor Academy now owns the former community college building where it used to lease space, partly through a $3 million loan from IFF to buy and renovate the property. IFF also provided real estate services, including how to consider renovation phasing as part of a feasibility analysis.

At full capacity, KIPP will serve up to 800 students in grades K-8. It’s located in a zip code where another 1,700 students are in need of high-performing schools. IFF estimates KIPP will provide over 500 new seats in the highest-need areas and also create 14 full-time jobs.

Through its recent partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, IFF has leveraged $13.2 million in investments for new schools. And since first coming to Kansas City, IFF has provided $47 million in financing and new markets tax credits, including nearly $35 million for charter schools.