Press Releases

Area Organizations Form Alliance “OneKC for Women” to Create Business Opportunities in the Region

LENEXA, KS (June 15, 2009) — Four entities with a history of serving women in the Kansas City metropolitan area are forming an alliance to respond to the needs in our community. The current economic climate precipitates the need for increased services as job creation in our region becomes a primary focus.

The Women’s Employment Network, Kansas Women’s Business Center, Women’s Capital Connection and First Step Fund provide services that create financial growth and independence. This alliance will more fully integrate many of the current services each organization offers.

The collective mission of this alliance is to empower women to become economically self-sufficient and prosperous through career development and business growth. The integration of existing programs will provide options for the following clients:

  • Unemployed
  • Underemployed
  • Transitioning
  • Business start-ups
  • Existing businesses
  • Microenterprises
  • Businesses seeking funding

Eighty percent of the services these organizations provide is focused on women in all social and economic demographics in the 11-county metro area. Services include résumé writing, interviewing/job training, entrepreneurial training, consulting, mentoring, matchmaking, business loans and business investment funding. Clients of this collaboration will have an expanded menu of offerings.

Mission alignment provides tremendous synergy to more effectively deliver programs with the intention of serving more clients. This alliance will produce some operational efficiencies and enhances collective fundraising efforts for long-term sustainability.

Sherry Turner has been named President of the Women’s Employment Network, and maintains her leadership role with the Kansas Women’s Business Center and the Women’s Capital Connection to support the OneKC for Women’s alliance.

Vanessa Finley, Executive Director of First Step Fund, will continue to provide excellent leadership for the First Step Fund at 4747 Troost, as she has for 11 years.

The organizational entities involved:

  • Women’s Employment Network (WEN)
    Self-sufficiency through economic independence
    (www.kcwen.org)
     
  • Kansas Women’s Business Center (KWBC)
    Training and mentoring for women entrepreneurs
    (www.kansaswbc.com)
     
  • Women’s Capital Connection (WCC)
    Angel investors investing in women-led businesses
    (www.kansaswbc.com)
     
  • First Step Fund
    Self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship and microenterprise development
    (www.firststepfund.org)

Several additional organizations endorsing this alliance as an enhancement to our community are:

  • The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • The Kauffman Foundation
  • The Enterprise Center of Johnson County
  • KCSourceLink
  • The Women’s Foundation
  • Kansas City Area Development Council

Community leaders are supportive of the alliance for various reasons...

Beth Smith, Founder of Women’s Employment Network:

“This alliance is a very logical next step for these organizations and women in our community. What wonderful new employment options women will have.”

Laura McKnight, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation:

“Donors are becoming more deliberate about their giving, expecting the nonprofits they support to work more efficiently and effectively through collaboration and business models that make sense. The Community Foundation’s donors are pleased to see these organizations put their clients and mission first by streamlining their operations to better serve women from first job to entrepreneurial business owner.”

Maria Meyers, Network Builder, KCSourceLink, and Director UMKC Innovation Center:

“This alliance is an excellent example of how organizations that support workforce development and economic development can come together to create a collaboration to improve the lives of women in the Kansas City region.”

Lesa Mitchell, Vice President Advancing Innovation for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation:

“The OneKC for Women Alliance represents a smart and strategic move for these four organizations to join forces and align their resources to best serve women throughout the Kansas City region. By working on a collective mission, through this alliance, all of the services, fundraising and outreach can be administered much more effectively to achieve greater results that ultimately will serve and advance the goals of many more women in our community.”

Gary Cook, SBA District Director for the Kansas City Region:

“We at the Small Business Administration are delighted to fully support OneKC for Women. Partnerships of this kind continue to be the best way to provide seamless delivery of much-needed services and opportunities for the greater Kansas City community.”

Support Kansas City Announces 2011 Nonprofit Award Winners

MISSION, KS (April 14, 2011) — Support Kansas City, a local nonprofit providing business and administrative support services to other nonprofits, announces the winners of the 2011 Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. Phoenix Family Housing has won the award for an agency with a budget of more than $1 million and Women’s Employment Network has been granted the award for an agency with a budget of $1 million or less.

This award is distinctive because it honors these agencies for the strong and balanced relationship between their board of directors and executive staff. “Nonprofits with boards that are fully engaged in good governance reap the benefits of not only doing the right thing, but also having a strategic vision for their organization’s mission,” said Debra Box, executive director for Support Kansas City. “These nonprofits can execute transformative changes that are critical for their success and future. We can’t recognize all the deserving organizations, but I hope these awards help educate our community about the level of integrity and strong leadership that exists in Kansas City.”   

Phoenix Family Housing brings on-site support and stability to residents of low-income housing in 32 communities located in 13 cities throughout Kansas and Missouri. These comprehensive services help residents overcome barriers to their success, both economically and personally. “On behalf of the entire team at Phoenix Family, we are incredibly honored to have been selected for this prestigious award and are proud of the great leadership provided by our board of directors,” said Kimber Myers Givner, Executive Director for Phoenix Family Housing.

Since 1986, Women’s Employment Network has offered job-search training, resources, individualized coaching and professional case management to help women all over Kansas City achieve economic independence and increased self-esteem. “I can’t think of a more appropriate way for the Women’s Employment Network (WEN) to embrace our 25th anniversary than to accept the 2011 Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. There have been fantastic community leaders attached to WEN over the years and our current leadership considers our board governance a priority to enhance our future sustainability,” said Sherry Turner, President of Women’s Employment Network.

Phoenix Family Housing and Women’s Employment Network will receive their awards at 4:30 p.m. on April 28, 2011, during Support Kansas City’s Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Awards Celebration held at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center at 6200 Martway in Mission, Kansas.  

Support Kansas City is based in Mission, Kansas, and provides nonprofit organizations in Kansas and Missouri with business and development expertise, empowering them to focus on their missions.

Contact: Debra Box, phone (913) 831-4752, fax (913) 831-4707.

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