In 2014 the Kalamazoo City Commission met in a planning session with city department heads and community residents and outlined five priorities for the city for the next two years. City commissioners agreed that reducing poverty would be the fifth priority and that the city commission will "take a leadership role in fostering collective action to reduce unacceptability of poverty—especially of children." With that vote began four years of discussion and planning carried out by a core team of individuals and other members of the community from the nonprofit, government, and higher education sectors, as well as the designation of Shared Prosperity as a Strategic Goal within the City of Kalamazoo's 2017 Strategic Vision.

On March 5, 2018 the 2018 Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) Action Plan was approved unanimously by the Kalamazoo City Commission. This was and is an important moment for the city community and the city organization. It marks a shift from crisis management to beginning to live into new possibilities. However, this is neither a silver bullet nor quick fix. It will take many years to truly see the changes the community envisions. 


SPK Focus Areas

The purpose of Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) is to have a community where no adult and no child is isolated or left behind due to poverty and/or inequality of opportunity. To accomplish this, we believe that we must address three primary areas of focus:

  • Promote the healthy growth, development, and learning of children
  • Increase access to good jobs
  • Promote strong families

It is important to emphasize a fundamental premise of Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo—that to make substantial progress over the long-term in achieving any one of these three goals, it is necessary to make progress toward the achievement of the other two simultaneously.


The City's Role in SPK

To address poverty and increase prosperity, it is important to note that no singular organization or entity can successfully accomplish this on its own. Therefore, the City will work within a framework of Connecting, Acting, and Advocating in its efforts to accomplish the above goals.  


The City will bring sectors together to establish connectivity, identify partnerships, and align work around SPK goals, strategies, and tactics. The City may not provide direct resources, but may contribute to some aspect of the activity


The City is the leading sector and will direct meetings, resources, and has direct influence over the outcome of the strategy or activity.


The City will act as a guide, resource, or champion for aspects of the activity.


Everyone has different ideas of what it means to prosper. However, a common denominator of prosperity is that all are free from the kind of economic insecurity that makes it difficult to pursue the dreams we have for ourselves and our families—whatever those dreams may be. Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo is ultimately about the opportunity to pursue and achieve that dream.