Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

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Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation logo.jpg
Founded 1966
Founder Ewing Marion Kauffman
Focus Entrepreneurship and education
Method Research and grant making
Key people
Wendy Guillies, President and CEO
Endowment US$2.0 billion
Website kauffman.org

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kauffman Foundation) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, private foundation[2] based in Kansas City, Missouri.


The Kauffman Foundation's vision is to foster "a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities".[3] Its grant making and research activities are focused on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth.[citation needed] Established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, founder of Marion Laboratories, it is the largest American foundation to focus on entrepreneurship.[citation needed]

The Kauffman Foundation has an asset base of $2 billion[2][3] and distributed over $17 million in grants in 2013.[2]


The organization was established in 1966 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, founder of Marion Laboratories, who was affectionately known to some as simply "Mr. K."[4]

Carl Schramm retired as president at the end of 2011, at which point Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. served as interim President and CEO until 2013.[5] Tom McDonnell, long-time CEO of the Kansas City-based software development firm DST Systems (1984-2012),[6] was the foundation's president and CEO from January 2013-July 2014.[7] McDonnell was succeeded by Wendy Guilles, who became acting president and CEO as of July 1, 2014.[8]


Research and Policy[edit]

The Kauffman Foundation's research contributes to a more in-depth understanding of what drives innovation and economic growth in an entrepreneurial world, and best practices for improving academic achievement in Greater Kansas City. With the goal of creating new knowledge about entrepreneurship, Kauffman conducts and supports research that informs our own education programs and that educates policymakers and the public about pro-entrepreneurship policies at all levels of government.

For research related to improving academic achievement, Kauffman focuses on Kansas City-area education issues and the development of a longitudinal database of student data from preschool through postsecondary.

Major Initiatives

  • Business Dynamics Statistics, a data series in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies that allows users to track the annual changes in employment for growing and shrinking businesses at the establishment level.[9]
  • Data Maven, a blog that tracks developments in entrepreneurship, innovation, and education data. [10]
  • Entrepreneurship Policy Digest, a compilation of summaries of findings around relevant policy issues that will inform and educate lawmakers.[11]
  • Growthology, a blog that focuses on the links between entrepreneurship, economic welfare and economic growth. [12]
  • Kauffman Emerging Scholars, a series of programs and initiatives designed to support the overall goal of advancing the study of entrepreneurship. These include the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship Program (KDFP); Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research (KJFF); and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship [13]
  • Kauffman Firm Survey, which consists of reports that explore the relationship between firm formation and economic growth in the United States from a variety of angles. [14]
  • Kauffman Index, the first and largest index tracking entrepreneurship across city, state and national levels for the United States. [15]
  • Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, a blog that informs and connects thought leaders looking to understand policies that help entrepreneurs start companies, create jobs and strengthen the economy. [16]

Select Research Series

  • Firm Formation and Growth, a research series that consists of reports that explore the relationship between firm formation and economic growth in the United States from a variety of angles.[17]
  • Immigration and the American Economy a series of studies examining the economic contributions of skilled legal immigrants in the United States, what is different about them, what obstacles they face with the U.S. immigration system and why tens of thousands of skilled immigrants and would-be immigrants are heading back to their home countries and what the implications are for the United States. [18]
  • Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Research, Policy and Practice, a compilation of reports about fostering entrepreneurship dynamism and resilience, assessing entrepreneurship program outcomes, culling insights from high-growth firms, and detailing entrepreneurship profiles of metropolitan areas.[19]

In May 2012, the Foundation published a report on the performance of venture capital, showing that VC returns haven't significantly outperformed the public market since the 1990s, and that "the average VC fund fails to return investor capital after fees".[20]

In 2009, with support from the Kauffman Foundation, professor Vivek Wadhwa conducted a study on the impact of foreign-born entrepreneurs and restrictive visa policies on the American economy, showing that in 25% of the U.S. science and technology companies founded from 1995 to 2005, the chief executive or lead technologist was foreign-born (the proportion is 52% in Silicon Valley), and that in 2005, these companies generated $52 billion in revenue and employed 450,000 workers.[21]


The Kauffman Foundation believes that entrepreneurs are critical to the long-term health of the economy. The Foundation works to advance entrepreneurship education and training, to promote startup-friendly policies, and to understand what new firms need.

Kauffman's entrepreneurship work is national in scale and global in reach. The Foundation's entrepreneurship strategy supports entrepreneurs in the U.S. by expanding signature education programs, notably Founders School, FastTrac, and 1 Million Cups, and investing in proven education models. The Kauffman Foundation also seeks to foster startup communities and develop challenges to spur entrepreneurial activity in select metropolitan areas.

Major Initiatives

  • 1 Million Cups, a free, weekly national program in 70+ cities in the U.S. designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs. 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. [22]
  • Entrepreneurship.org, a free, online international resource designed to help build entrepreneurial economies. Entrepreneurship.org provides users with information, tools, and resources available to help them operate a business venture, create wealth, and employ people. [23]
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. [24]
  • Kauffman FastTrac a global provider of education courses that equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with the business skills and insights, tools, resources, and networks to start and grow successful businesses.[25]
  • Kauffman Founders School, which taps the potential of online education, presenting a robust curriculum from which entrepreneurs can learn anywhere, anytime. Subject experts present lectures that are embedded in modules designed to give founders a rich learning experience, engaging them in lessons that will make a difference in what they do in their business today, tomorrow, and in the future.[26]

The Foundation originated the Kauffman Fellows Program for venture capitalists, promoting the growth of global innovation investment.


Ewing Kauffman believed that youth prepared to succeed in college will go on to lead productive, economically independent lives. The Kauffman Foundation's education strategy focuses heavily on access to high quality public school options and postsecondary opportunities intended to improve academic and life outcomes for lower income urban students in Kansas City.

Building on experiences from the Kauffman Scholars program, the Foundation provides postsecondary completion incentives, including scholarships, for more students in the Kansas City area. Kauffman also supports programs that attract and retain great teachers and leaders in the Kansas City community.

Major Initiatives

  • Citizens of the World Charter Charter Schools, a charter school network currently operating five schools in two states – California and New York – that provide a rigorous, high-achieving education to an economically and racially diverse student population. In partnership with the Hall Family Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation is supporting Citizens of the World Charter (CWC) Schools' development and opening of a four-school network of charter public schools in Midtown Kansas City.[27]
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory school founded in 2011. The school design is based on examples of charter schools throughout the country that are helping urban students achieve at very high academic levels.[28]
  • Individual Schools, an investment that demonstrates the capacity to deliver strong academic outcomes for students in Kansas City. Schools supported include: Academie Lafayette, Cristo Rey Kansas City, Crossroads Academy, KIPP Endeavor Academy, and University Academy.[29]
  • Kansas City Scholarships, which provides $1.5 million to ten local scholarship programs to increase the opportunity for more Kansas City-area students to earn a college degree. This program specifically targets low-income, minority, and/or first generation college students.[30]
  • Kauffman Scholars is a multi-year, out of school program that supports the academic, social and emotional development of low-income students to increase their chances of post-secondary success.[31]


  • In February 2011, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation partnered with TechStars. The Foundation provided Techstars with $200,000 in funding to build software utilized by the TechStars Network. This will go towards building and managing a unified application processing and tracking system for seed accelerator programs, dozens of which are part of TechStars Network.[32]


  1. ^ "Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Profile". LexisNexis Academic (database). 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Kauffman Foundation Grantmaker Record". Foundation Center Directory Online. 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Foundation Overview". 
  4. ^ Mariotti, Steve (1 July 2013). "Me and 'Mr. K'-- How Meeting Ewing Marion Kauffman Changed My Life and the Future of Entrepreneurship Education". Huffington Post. 
  5. ^ http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/carl-schramm-decides-to-step-down-as-kauffman-foundation-ceo.aspx
  6. ^ Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "Thomas A. McDonnell: Executive Profile]]". Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  7. ^ Bauters, Fred (14 May 2014). "Tom McDonnell to step down in June, leave Kauffman Foundation after 2014". Silicon Prairie News. 
  8. ^ Bannister, Megan (14 May 2014). "Wendy Guillies says Kauffman's focus will be on KC, growing other metros". Silicon Prairie News. 
  9. ^ "Business Dynamics Statistics". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  10. ^ "Data Maven". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  11. ^ "Entrepreneurship Policy Digest". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  12. ^ "Growthology". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Kauffman Emerging Scholars". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  14. ^ "Kauffman Firm Survey". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  15. ^ "Kauffman Index". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  16. ^ "Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  17. ^ "Firm Formation and Growth". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  18. ^ "Immigration and the American Economy". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  19. ^ "Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Research, Policy and Practice". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  20. ^ ""WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY… AND HE IS US" - Lessons from Twenty Years of the Kauffman Foundation's Investments in Venture Capital Funds and The Triumph of Hope over Experience" (PDF). May 2012. 
  21. ^ Wadhwa, Vivek (2009). "Foreign-Born Entrepreneurs: An Underestimated American Resource". 
  22. ^ "1 Million Cups". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  23. ^ "Entrepreneurship.org". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  24. ^ "Global Entrepreneurship Week". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  25. ^ "Kauffman FastTrac". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  26. ^ "Kauffman Founders School". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  27. ^ "Citizens of the World Charter Schools". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  28. ^ "Ewing Marion Kauffman School". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  29. ^ "Individual Schools". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  30. ^ "Kansas City Scholarships". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  31. ^ "Kauffman Scholars". Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  32. ^ TechStars and Kauffman Foundation Join Together to Provide Entrepreneurs Better Access to Seed Accelerators. (2011, February 16). Targeted News Service. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from General Interest Module. (Document ID: 2268716331).

In the media[edit]

External links[edit]