Kipp: Endeavor Academy purchased the Pioneer building in June.
Lockers now line the second-floor hallways.
And classroom windows clearly show school is back in session.
Our endeavors this year will focus on finding Health Forward a new home in Jackson County, Missouri.
Knowledge is power: we wish the Kipp Academy a wonderful school year.
Just a week ago, these lunch tables were empty. Now they are in full use by the students who started school on Tuesday.
Editor’s note: As of March 3, 2017, we have relocated to an interim office while we continue our search for a permanent location. Our temporary home is now 2300 Main Street, Suite 304 in Kansas City, Missouri. Please call (816) 241-7006 if you have any questions.
Since our inception, Health Forward has been proud to call 18th and Prospect our home. We appreciate the opportunity given to us by both MCC Community College and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to lease office space in the Pioneer building.
When we moved into our first home we had one staff person: Tracy Skidgel. Since then we’ve welcomed 35 associates through these doors. Together we’ve had a lot of laughs and some tears. We’ve shared in successes and supported each other through disappointments. We’ve bonded over sports and developed good-natured college rivalries. We’ve had weddings. We’ve welcomed new babies and grandbabies. We’ve had associates retire or leave for other opportunities. We’ve mourned the passing of board members, and of our dear friend Mary Kettlewell. We are a family, and this is our home.
And from this dear home, we worked tirelessly to award over $220 million in grants to eliminate barriers and improve quality health for the uninsured and underserved in the community where we live, work and play.
Earlier this year, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, announced it was going to sell the building where Health Forward’s offices are currently located. For the past several years, we’ve been sharing this building with our downstairs neighbor, the KIPP: Endeavor Academy. We were pleased that KIPP was able to purchase the building to expand their footprint and afford additional opportunities for education to low-income students in Kansas City.
This summer, the school, previously occupying the first floor only, expanded to the second floor where our offices are currently located. For several weeks now, we’ve seen life of the coming school year: teachers decorating bulletin boards, and lockers now lining once empty hallways.
School began this week, and now students, teachers, Health Forward staff, board and CAC members, and Health Forward visitors will all have to navigate the hallways on the second floor. Certain restrooms will be restricted to just Health Forward use or just school use.
This is obviously not the ideal situation in which to conduct business, nor is it conducive to running a properly functioning and safety-conscious school.
So, while KIPP has graciously allowed us to remain here for the 2016/2017 school year, we are currently going through the process of determining the next home for the Foundation. Anyone who has bought or rented a new home can certainly understand the challenges involved in this process. You make your list of must-haves, nice-to-have, avoid-at-all-costs. It’s imperative that we find the best location for all involved — our team, our grantees, and the areas that we serve.
And so, as we thoughtfully and thoroughly search for a new location, we are keeping the following in mind:
- We want to remain in urban Kansas City, close to the community we serve.
- We want to find a space that allows us to better do our work in conjunction with our partners.
- We want to find a space that allows us to work better. To upgrade our technology. To encourage healthy lifestyles for our associates. A space that allows us to work collaboratively, yet respect our individual work styles.
Please wish us luck on this next journey, and know that as we move forward, we do so with the guidance of the community and our founding board, which established Health Forward to invest in the underserved and uninsured. We have been fulfilling that mission for the past 11 years and look forward to continuing this work at our new home, wherever that may be.