(Community Matters 44) What Can Battle Creek Learn from the Kalamazoo Promise?

First Aired August 12, 2023

The first-ever effort to provide tuition for every graduate of a school district happened in 2005 right next door to Battle Creek – with the Kalamazoo Promise.

With Battle Creek Public School's first set of Bearcat Advantage scholars headed off to college, Community Matters asked one former Kalamazoo Public Schools insider to relate his observations and insights from his time when the Promise was just getting off the ground.

Alex Lee spent much of his nearly 30-year tenure at KPS leading communications for the district while serving on the district's executive leadership team. Now retired, he looks back on the challenges and rewards of seeing kids who suddenly have their educational futures paid.

Episode Resources

Kalamazoo Promise website
Battle Creek Bearcat Advantage website
More Bearcat Advantage episodes
BCPS Bearcat Advantage announcement video
W.K. Kellogg Foundation website
W.K. Kellogg Foundation: New college scholarship builds equitable access to opportunity in Battle Creek


Former WBCK Morning Show host Richard Piet (2014-2017) returns to host Community Matters, an interview program focused on community leaders and newsmakers in and around Battle Creek. Community Matters is heard Saturdays, 8-8:30 AM Eastern on WBCK-FM (95.3) and anytime at battlecreekpodcast.com.

Community Matters is sponsored by Lakeview Ford Lincoln.

Battlecreekpodcast.com and The Richard Piet Show are Livemic Communications podcasts. Livemic Communications helps businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs create customized, purposeful podcast content.