Connections to Success
300 W Linwood Blvd.
Kansas City MO 64111-1329
Mission Statement

We inspire individuals to realize their dreams and achieve economic independence by providing hope, resources and a plan.

We work to achieve our mission by:

  • Providing a unique and holistic life transformation program offering diverse services that support the personal and professional development of our participants through life long engagement.

  • Facilitating a support system around our participants for sustained individual success to break the cycle of poverty, incarceration and violence for themselves and their children.

Cornerstones of all programs are assessing readiness for economic stability and providing a customized plan of success for each individual.

The core values of Connections to Success are: Passion, Hope, Collaboration, Leadership, Compassion, Excellence and Inclusion.

CEO/Executive Director Kathy Lambert
Board Chair Paul Hott
Board Chair Company Affiliation RGA
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1998
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

We inspire individuals to realize their dreams and achieve economic independence by providing hope, resources and a plan.

We work to achieve our mission by:

  • Providing a unique and holistic life transformation program offering diverse services that support the personal and professional development of our participants through life long engagement.

  • Facilitating a support system around our participants for sustained individual success to break the cycle of poverty, incarceration and violence for themselves and their children.

Cornerstones of all programs are assessing readiness for economic stability and providing a customized plan of success for each individual.

The core values of Connections to Success are: Passion, Hope, Collaboration, Leadership, Compassion, Excellence and Inclusion.

Background Statement


Connections to Success (CtS) is an innovative nonprofit organization with a vision to “be the leader in empowering individuals in their transformation to economic independence.” This is accomplished through a mission of “inspiring individuals to realize their dreams and achieve economic independence by providing hope, resources and a plan." It began in 1998 in St. Louis and expanded to Kansas City in 2003.

CtS has a track record of success in obtaining results as measured through its outcomes. Since 1998, CtS has taken an innovative approach to the life-scarring experiences of homelessness, welfare dependency, violence, incarceration and other tragic incidents. CtS provides a program of intervention, education, training and supports, with the goal of ending the cycle of risk factors that trigger severe and lasting disadvantages by building, for the adult and his or her family, a better person. CtS fills a niche in workforce readiness for individuals having barriers to employment. We provide comprehensive, consistent life long support to our participants, through every level of their transition to economic independence. CtS works with each participant to give new knowledge, and a customized plan to build a successful future.

Programs offered by CtS include:

  1. Pathways to Success- a workforce readiness training program

  2. Dress for Success Kansas City

  3. Job Skills Training including Coding for Success and Constructing Futures

  4. Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation - provides 4-year scholarships to youth having one or more incarcerated parents.

Impact Statement

Top Accomplishments from 2016:

  • CtS expanded our office space in order to provide additional programming for participants and their children. We now provide childcare during our Connect Group, Professional Men's Group, and Professional Women's Group meetings.

  • Increased partnerships through our Dress for Success Kansas City program by adding 13 new referral partners and gaining 50 new volunteers.

  • Implemented use of Donor Perfect in order to track and maintain donors.

  • Launched MOXI Traveling Boutique, a mobile fashion truck allowing CtS to take interview appropriate clothing to participants in outlying areas and fundraise through the sale of clothing and other items.

  • Through our DOJ Second Chance Act Mentoring Grant, Connections to Success recruited and trained volunteers to provide pre-release mentoring to 86 moderate to high risk individuals returning from incarceration.

  • Successfully held our first annual “Tribute to Success” fundraising luncheon in Kansas City, exceeded our fundraising goal, and featured Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr.

Goals for 2017:

  • Increase revenue streams and gain brand awareness using MOXI Traveling Boutique.

  • Bring awareness to our new Ava’s Grace Scholarship Fund program to Kansas City in order to receive more applicants from the surrounding Kansas City areas.

  • Establish a collaborative relationship with Clay County Parenting Court to offer a Parenting Court for noncustodial parents in the CtS program.

  • Continue successful implementation of projects with our existing partnerships with U.S. Dept. of Justice, Kansas Dept. for Children and Families, Missouri Dept. of Corrections, Missouri Dept. of Social Services, and others.

  • Increase the number of replication sites wherein CtS partners with other agencies in delivering the CtS program model.

Needs Statement
    • Funding to strengthen and expand our existing programs in employment skills training, education, transitional employment, fatherhood and healthy relationships, life coaching, health and wellness, replication and mentoring.
    • Increase in volunteers to assist with training, mock interviewing, administration, mentoring, financial literacy and personal shoppers for Dress for Success Kansas City and Moxi Traveling Boutique.
    • Upgrades to existing information technology including computers, printers and on-going volunteer IT support.
    • Reliable forms of transportation to assist in transporting our participants to and from our classes at our sites, job interviews and other critical appointments.
    Service Categories
    Human Services
    Job Training
    Rehabilitation Services for Offenders
    Areas of Service
    KS - Johnson County
    KS - Wyandotte County
    KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
    MO - Clay County
    MO - Eastern Jackson Co
    MO - Jackson County
    MO - Jackson County Urban Core
    MO - Liberty
    MO - Platte County
    CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

    The success of Connections to Success this past year can be attributed to our continued focus on establishing an evidence-based program model achieving successes with the participants we serve. This includes the ability to monetize our outcomes to demonstrate to our funders a return on investment in our programs. We also continued replicating our program model with other nonprofit agencies located in different midwest regions. Replication provides us the opportunity to scale our impact without having to significantly increase the size of the organization. Our biggest organizational challenge is continuing to diversify our funding streams.

    More effort is being focused on social enterprises, replication, new corporate and individual donors to give us a good mix of support.

    The Connections to Success Board continues to add new members bringing their business and philanthropic talents to the organization. The board continues to transition from a service to an advisory and policy role. This requires different skills and talents from members and different committee structures.

    Offers diverse services that support the personal and professional development of our participants. It begins with a workforce readiness training emphasizing the strengths, abilities and skills identified by each participant. On each day of training, participants are led through a career development model that has been successfully used by diverse populations, including formerly incarcerated adults. Asset building begins the process of career development by helping participants identify strengths, likes and interests that can be developed into employment opportunities. Outcomes include:
    • Resources to perform a successful job search
    • Cognitive behavioral skill building
    • Creation of a "Life Plan" outlining goals and objectives in several life space areas
    • Upon class completion, each participant is assigned a Life Transformation Coach and mentor to work closely towards the goals outlined in the participant's Life Plan.
    • Each participant is asked for a one year commitment to the program.
    Program Budget $150,000.00
    Category Employment, General/Other Job Search & Placement
    Population Served Offenders/Ex-Offenders, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Homeless
    Short-Term Success
    Within 12 months of engagement in Pathways to Success:
    • 100% of participants will have an individualized "Life Plan" addressing key life space areas with goals and objectives for each.
    • 74% of participants will be obtain full-time employment with living wage potential.
    • 70% of participants will retain full-time employment for a minimum of nine months.
    • 80% of participants will have a wage increase within the first six months of employment.
    • 100% of participants will have hope and believe that change is possible.
    • 100% of participants will have a support system to guide, encourage and problem solve.
    • 100% will have reliable transportation to access employment.
    • 50% of participants will pursue continuing education, occupational skills training and other certificate programs.
    • 90% of participants will live in stable housing.
    • 75% will address physical and mental health needs.
    Long-Term Success
    The vision of Connections to Success is to "be the leader in empowering individuals in their transformation to economic independence." Achieving this vision results in participants having:
    • Achieved success and become economically self-reliant.
    • Come to a realization of their worth, their abilities and their dreams.
    • Children graduating from high school and continuing their education.
    • Home ownership.
    Program Success Monitored By Program evaluation includes an ongoing assessment of both the short-and long-term impacts of the program. Both "hard" and "soft" indicators are gathered from participants at specific points in time. In addition to the hard indicators, (employment, retention, education, etc.) other indicators are monitored as well through periodic assessments. This information reports on certain "leading indicators" that serve as predictors of success including participation in activities and programs; attainment of certificates; reduced substance abuse (if applicable); % in stable housing; and % complying with probation/parole conditions (if applicable). All information is inputted and tracked through a data management system.
    Examples of Program Success "I fell off the grid, I wanted to disappear." Chris says as he reflects back on the last few years of his life. "I walked out of a car wreck into handcuffs looking at a life spent behind bars." From years of self-destruction Chris’s years as a successful car parts manager were a distant memory. Chris fell more into a lifestyle completely opposite of his character. Through his probation officer Chris decided to come back to "the grid" and become the person he really is by joining our Personal and Professional Development training. Day in and day out, Chris invested in not only himself but his peers as well. He never failed to take the time to encourage others, provide feedback and assist in making our training an exciting time. Recently Chris was able to secure a lucrative position with a local car dealership as a Service Manager. He is on his way to overcoming the obstacles of his past and is making his world a better place as he brings his true character into this (new) career.
    Dress for Success Kansas City (DFSKC) promotes the economic independence of low-income women by providing professional attire and the career development tools to thrive in work and in life. Each woman receives one business suit for an interview. Once employed, she receives up to one week's worth of business apparel. All outfits are free of charge and are theirs to keep. Clients receive personal assistance from volunteer personal shoppers in selecting the proper outfit for a professional environment. After the personal shopping experience, clients meet with a Job Coach who assists in setting up an email account and coaching in regard to the interviewing process.
    After 30 days of employment, participants are eligible to become members of the Professional Women's Group (PWG). PWG is a unique program that promotes job retention and career development by providing a safe environment to network with other women, build professional skills and learn how to advance in their jobs.
    Program Budget $60,000.00
    Category Employment, General/Other Job Search & Placement
    Population Served Females, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
    Short-Term Success
    • 60% achieve initial employment.
    • 100% have hope and believe change is possible.
    • 100% have a support system to guide, encourage and help in problem solving.
    • 80% have a network to provide on-going employment services.
    Long-Term Success Dress for Success Kansas City began operations in October 2011. To date, over 1,000 women have been suited through Dress for Success Kansas City. Over 50% have obtained full-time employment.
    Program Success Monitored By Outcome measures are recorded and monitored through monthly and quarterly reporting mechanisms including surveys, interviews and follow- up with referring agencies and placed into a password protected database. Also included are monthly assessments and self-reported outcomes.
    Examples of Program Success Ava was referred to CtS by her case manager for assistance in obtaining employment. Ava was open minded and “find out what this was all about”. She describes her first encounter with CtS as “being in a world of new people, all different, and everyone wanting to help one another and grow with one another.” Ava loves that CtS is a judgment free zone and hopes that others can benefit from the services at CtS, just like she has. Ava has taken advantage of all that CtS offers, including building a strong relationship with her Life Transformation Coach, Dress for Success and the Professional Women’s Group. CtS has given her a bigger outlook on life and she is now looking and thinking about her future and not her right now. CtS has inspired her to think of how to be a better person, mother, daughter, and employee. Ava has aspirations ranging from getting Bachelor’s degrees in Creative Writing and Business Management, to going to law school, but her dream is to work with children and art.
    • “Responsible Fatherhood” incorporates educational and skills-training modules on topics of healthy marriage, responsible parenting and economic stability. Programs are tailored for low-income fathers. Important components include:
    • "Healthy Relationships" workshops designed to increase marital and relationship satisfaction, reducing conflict, and increasing problem solving skills.
    • "Responsible Parenting" workshops for fathers in urban areas who face challenging situations of child custody, child support and visitation, with the goal of increasing the well-being of their children.
    • "Economic Stability" curricula includes workforce readiness training, skills assessment, career counseling, vocational training, transitional employment, job coaching and mentoring.
    Category Employment, General/Other Job Training & Employment
    Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Families, Males
    Short-Term Success
    • Improved healthy relationships/marriage skills
    • Improved parenting and co-parenting skills
    • Progress towards greater economic stability (employment)
    • Reduced recidivism
    Long-Term Success
    • Improved family functioning
    • Improved adult and child well-being
    • Increased economic stability and mobility
    • Reduced poverty
    • Successful youth transition to adulthood
    • Reduced recidivism
    Program Success Monitored By Program success is monitored through monthly and quarterly reporting mechanisms, including surveys, interviews, employment verification and consultation with referring agencies. All data is entered into a password- protected database for monitoring progress and outcomes as well as aggregate measures of overall program performance related to healthy marriage, responsible parenting and economic stability. In addition, our program model has been researched in 2 separate independent studies using a randomized control trial selection to confirm its effectiveness.
    Examples of Program Success Eddie surrendered a portion of his life to the criminal justice system through choices made in his past. While in prison, he chose to participate in the Connections to Success program and learned more about all of the programs and services that we offer. Although skeptical, he decided to give Connections a chance and participated in the Pathways to Success program. Aside from program participation, Connections provided Eddie with transitional employment and helped him find full-time employment. Today, Eddie is employed as an auto mechanic and attends school part-time. When asked what his favorite thing about Connections was, Eddie said, “everyone from Connections has left a lasting impact on my life by being an example of what a difference a positive attitude and outlook on life makes.” Eddie hopes for happiness in his future and is just another example of the successes that we see everyday.
    Description Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation joined with Connections to Success in 2016 and provides four-year college scholarships ($5,000/student/year) as well as a robust mentoring program to low-income youth impacted by a current or formerly incarcerated parent. As of 2016, Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation has given 26 youth an educational opportunity to unlock doors and break family cycles.

    Category Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
    Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, ,
    Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
    Program Frequently Assessed Yes
    Short-Term Success
    Research demonstrates that education can prevent children from repeating their family’s incarceration cycle. Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation outcomes are as follow
    • 100% have graduated undergraduate school in 4 years
    • 100% placement into work or graduate school within 6 months of graduation.
    • 100% in graduate school
    • 100% will be matched with a mentor in their field of study
    • 100% have not become incarcerated
    Long-Term Success
    Research demonstrates that education can prevent children from repeating their family’s incarceration cycle. Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation outcomes are as follows:
    • 32 students have enrolled in the scholarship program
    • 4 have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree
    • 27 remain in school completing undergraduate degrees
    • 2 have begun masters degrees program
    • 1 has begun law school
    • 1 has begun medical school
    Program Success Monitored By
    • Staying in school to complete their degrees
    • Maintaining a specified grade point average to continue scholarship funding support
    Examples of Program Success In 2016, AGSF celebrated the graduation of its first two scholars. One graduated from Mizzou with a psychology degree is now attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs working towards her PhD. Another who graduated with a degree in Political Science and Communications from William Jewell, served as the first paid staff member of Ava’s Grace. She now is working on her masters degree in Social Work and Children’s Law and Policy at Loyola University-Chicago.
    CEO Comments Connections to Success exists to serve individuals committed to life change. Our programs challenge, motivate and empower adults to create a plan to move forward with their lives. The level of success achieved is directly proportional to the level of effort put forth by the participant. We tell each participant early and often, "We do with, not for.” To achieve the goal of economic independence involves many factors including living wage employment, suitable housing and transportation, health & wellness, education and family relationships. This is a long term process and doesn’t begin and end with a grant. We never close a file. This means we will continue to guide and support an individual as long as it takes to achieve their goals and as long as they are committed to positive change.
    Executive Director/CEO
    Executive Director Kathy Lambert
    Term Start Dec 1997

    Kathy and Brad are a husband and wife team who left the corporate world with a passion to help families achieve a higher quality of life. Together they formed Connections to Success in 1998.

    • Kathy has a degree in social work from Ball State University and previously worked in healthcare and corporate training.
    • Brad has a degree in engineering from the University of Illinois and previously worked in engineering and construction.
    Co-CEO/Executive Director
    Term Start 0
    Compensation Last Year
    Senior Staff
    Title Regional Executive Director
    Title Senior Director of Resource Development and Community Engagement
    Title Regional Director Dress for Success Kansas City
    Title Senior Director of Finance
    Paid Full-Time Staff 37
    Paid Part-Time Staff 4
    Volunteers 300
    Paid Contractors 13
    Retention Rate 87%
    Formal Evaluations
    CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
    CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
    Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
    Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
    Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
    Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
    Plans & Policies
    Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
    Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
    Management Succession Plan Yes
    Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
    Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
    Whistleblower Policy Yes
    Document Destruction Policy No
    Connections to Success collaborates with a host of organizations including: Social service providers in the areas of housing, food pantries, childcare, substance abuse, skill development and other critical needs.
    • Kansas Department for Children & Families
    • Healthcare providers in the areas of mental & physical health
    • Educational Institutions for secondary & postsecondary education and financial education
    • Criminal Justice agencies, ie. Missouri Dept. of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons
    • Employers seeking to hire CtS target population
    • Faith-based organizations to provide volunteers for mentoring and a host of others services
    • Corporate partnerships for in-kind donations and volunteer support
    • Missouri Department of Social Services: Family Support Division
    • Literacy Kansas City
    • LINCWorks
    • Job Corps
    AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2010
    Dress for Success Worldwide, New York2010
    National Practitioners Leadership Institute2013
    Community Health Charities2014
    Nonprofit Connect of Greater Kansas City2014
    Support KCSpecial Recognition in Nonprofit Leadership2014
    Winning WomenRegional Economic Development Award2012
    Missouri Bar AssociationLiberty Bell Award2011
    White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives50 Success Stories in 50 States2008
    U.S. Department of LaborTouching Lives and Communities2004
    Commerce Bank - Wm. T. Kemper FoundationCommunity Service Award1999
    Government Licenses
    Is your organization licensed by the government? No
    CEO Comments Connections to Success continues to improve the talent level of our team members overseeing our programs and services and continues to support them through opportunities for training and certifications. Our staff leadership team continues to be strengthened and is empowered with key roles in the direction of the organization. Our staff giving program began in 2013 providing staff the opportunity to give back to the organization through payroll deduction continues to create new income. As with our board, we want our staff to be financial stakeholders in the organization. As we grow, we continue to attract more experienced, seasoned talent to lead programs and improve the quality of our services.
    Board Chair
    Board Chair Paul Hott
    Company Affiliation RGA
    Term Jan 2014 to Jan 2018
    Board Members
    Ben Baffa Nestle Purina
    Sarah Balocchi Centene
    Julie Cavenaile Monsanto
    Jason Colvin MasterCard
    Delinda Davis Walmart
    Deanna Diebolt Demdaco
    Patricia Doherty Community Volunteer
    Irasa Downing Edward Jones
    Tomi Gerber Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
    Lauren Herring Impact Group
    Mr. Paul Hott RGA
    Steve Kiewiet BJC Healthcare
    Tim Lohmar Prosecuting Attorney, St. Charles County
    Amy Lorenz-Moser Carpenter Moser LLC
    Jane McAtee Southwest Airlines
    Michelle Moersch Emerson
    Jeff Morris Helicx
    Mary Ramatowski Ernst & Young
    Jenny Redix Jordan Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
    Stephanie Regagnon FieldWatch, Inc.
    Wendy Savlin Sprint
    Stephanie Winters McConnell Accenture
    Board Demographics - Ethnicity
    African American/Black 1
    Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
    Caucasian 21
    Hispanic/Latino 0
    Native American/American Indian 0
    Other 0
    Board Demographics - Gender
    Male 6
    Female 16
    Unspecified 0
    Board Term Lengths 2
    Board Term Limits 4
    Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
    Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
    Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
    Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
    Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 75%
    Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
    Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
    Standing Committees
    Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
    Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
    CEO Comments
    Our organization continues to experience growth each year. This has required increased staff, systems and infrastructure. Growth and expansion present both opportunities and challenges in attracting new people (board and staff), continually seeking improvements in our core operations, all while expanding new areas of service in replication and social enterprises. Strategic planning and forecasting have become a greater focus of our board sub-committees to address our growing nature.
    Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
    Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
    Projected Revenue $3,429,000
    Projected Expenses $3,379,000
    Spending Policy Income Only
    Form 990s
    2016 CtS 990
    2015 CtS 990
    2014 CtS 990
    2013 CtS 990
    2012 CtS 990
    2011 CtS 990
    2010 CtS 990
    2009 CtS 990
    2008 CtS 990
    Audit Documents
    IRS Letter of Exemption
    Foundation Comments
    • FY 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
    • FY 2013: Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements.  
    • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
    Detailed Financials
    Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Foundation and
    Corporation Contributions
    Government Contributions$1,167,996$0$0
    Individual Contributions----$0
    Investment Income, Net of Losses($5,164)$2,170$543
    Membership Dues$0$0$0
    Special Events$207,425$101,851$0
    Revenue In-Kind$15,033$22,432$50
    Expense Allocation
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Program Expense$2,276,778$2,434,440$2,037,358
    Administration Expense$312,970$231,020$153,587
    Fundraising Expense$482,534$352,259$214,001
    Payments to Affiliates----$0
    Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.961.031.00
    Program Expense/Total Expenses74%81%85%
    Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue18%13%9%
    Assets and Liabilities
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Total Assets$541,801$535,625$368,075
    Current Assets$452,443$433,601$287,844
    Long-Term Liabilities$91,944$10,000$0
    Current Liabilities$214,805$162,761$101,898
    Total Net Assets$235,052$362,864$266,177
    Short-Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.112.662.82
    Long-Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets17%2%0%
    Top Funding Sources
    Fiscal Year201520142013
    Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services $702,000U.S. Department of Health & Human Services $850,000
    Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Individual Donor $500,000Dennis Jones Family Foundation $500,000
    Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Mathematica $75,000Walmart Foundation $100,000
    Capital Campaign
    Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
    Organization Comments
    Opportunities in 2017 include continuing implementation of multi-year grants from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Missouri Dept. of Social Services, Missouri Dept. of Corrections and Kansas Dept. for Children and Families continuing our work with former offenders and low-income families; and growth of Moxi Traveling Boutique and program replication.
    FY 2015: Expenses exceeded revenue due to a gift received in December 2014 (counted as 2014 revenue) to cover 2015 expenses.
    Foundation/corporate revenue line item includes contributions from individuals.
    Organization Name Connections to Success
    Address 300 W Linwood Blvd.
    Kansas City, MO 641111329
    Primary Phone (816) 561-5115
    CEO/Executive Director Kathy Lambert
    Board Chair Paul Hott
    Board Chair Company Affiliation RGA
    Year of Incorporation 1998