Affinity Worldwide, a Northland-based company, will donate $1 million to help fund the Kansas City Startup Foundation’s programs for local entrepreneurs.
At the same time, the foundation also plans to merge with the Center of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (CEED).
The foundation is responsible for an array of programs and events – including Startland News, MECA Challenge, Kansas City Startup Village and many others – that support, connect and spotlight Kansas City startups and entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship is vital to the economy,” said Mike Wrenn, Affinity Worldwide’s CEO. “Those of us who have had success in business over the years should help those just starting, because none of us who are successful started at the top.
“We worked hard and took calculated risk, but many of us also had a hand up or guidance from those who went before. I encourage other successful business leaders to get involved in Kansas City’s startup community, if they haven’t already.”
Affinity encompasses several companies that, at their core, serve residential real estate investors. One of its properties, Affinity Group Management, is one of the city’s fastest-growing companies and a past winner of the 25 Under 25® Awards.
The $1 million donation will be paid out over the next five years. Two of Affinity’s leaders – chief financial officer Becky Cole and Tyler Van Winkle, chief marketing and information officer – will sit on the combined organization’s board. Affinity has long been a supporter of both groups.
“This is an exciting next step toward solidifying Kansas City’s national reputation as a dynamic startup ecosystem,” said Adam Arredondo, the foundation’s executive director. “With Affinity’s support and the merger of CEED and KCSF, our organization is incredibly well positioned to streamline operations and expand our current programming.”