Northeast Community Center (NECC)
544 Wabash Ave
Kansas City MO 64124
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 231-7738
Mission Statement
The Northeast Community Center (NECC) serves the growth , development and education of its diverse neighborhood, providing residents with increased access to educational, cultural and social opportunities.
Harmony Project KC, located on site, promotes the healthy growth and development of children through the study, practice and performance of music, while building stronger communities and developing children of peace, hope and understanding. 
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Laura Shultz
Board Chair Mr. Philip Glynn
Board Chair Company Affiliation Travois
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1957
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
The Northeast Community Center (NECC) serves the growth , development and education of its diverse neighborhood, providing residents with increased access to educational, cultural and social opportunities.
Harmony Project KC, located on site, promotes the healthy growth and development of children through the study, practice and performance of music, while building stronger communities and developing children of peace, hope and understanding. 
Background Statement NECC has been an anchor in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast District for over 75 years. Founded as an extension of the original Italian Mission, and built by Dr. John Bisceglia and his wife Isabella, NECC originally offered support to mostly immigrant families through youth programs, childcare and education, adult literacy, and medical care. As the Historic Northeast shifted over the years new waves of immigrants arrived. Throughout these shifts NECC continued as a bedrock of support offering basic social services and job training for those in need. In 1999 NECC created and housed an independent charter school, Scuola Vita Nuova (School of New Life), to educate neighborhood children grades K-8. For the first 6 years, the Community Center supported the school financially. The charter school enjoyed 14 years of success on our campus before moving in July of 2014 to larger quarters nearby. In 2015 NECC launched Harmony Project KC, an intensive music education program for low-income children. The launch is being financed by the Community Center, while major fundraising has begun to create an ongoing self-sustaining and expanding program. The goal of the Northeast Community Center is to increase academic potential for underserved youth through year-round music lessons and ensemble and orchestral participation. In addition research has shown that Harmony Project increases character development and social skills through its mentoring program.
Impact Statement
2016 Accomplishments: 
  1. NECC continued to grow its flagship program, Harmony Project KC, taking it from 33 students in 2015 to 130 by the end of 2016.
  2. NECC brought the United Way and the Housing Authority to our campus to provide needed services for families.
  3. Harmony Project KC began an outreach program, bringing music education to 3- to 5-year-olds at a KC Mo Public School Head Start program at the nearby Woodland Early Learning Community School.
  4. Our students performed with members of the KC Symphony to kick off the summer concert series on the lawn of the Kansas City Museum.
  5. We brought the founder of Harmony Project, Dr. Margaret Martin, to Kansas City in the fall. She spoke as part of the Kauffman Education Speaker Series at the KC Library, met with the GKC Chamber of Commerce, was featured on KCUR's weekly radio program, and met with many arts and education supporters.
2017 Goals: 
  1. Expand our partnerships with nonprofit agencies and the local community to improve Kansas City’s Historic Northeast District. 
  2. Offer the full Harmony Project KC program for 100 K-10 students at our NECC campus. Launch outreach program at Woodland Early Learning Center to include 460 three to five year olds in HPKC program.
  3. Expand our organizational Board from 8 to 15
  4. Increase our annual fundraising by $200,000/yr
Needs Statement
  1. Partnering Support Services - Students face many challenges outside of the involvement in our community center (e.g. poverty, violence). Our resources are limited yet their needs are great. We desire to make sure that full youth development and family programs are available.
  2. Parental Involvement - Having full commitment by parents and families is a requirement for Harmony Project KC students. Their participation is vitally important, yet we know it is difficult for many of our parents who often work more than one job.
  3. School Participation and Support - Harmony Project KC requires healthy partnerships and support from area schools. They serve as the primary grounds to recruit students. More importantly, they are the primary institution responsible for ensuring academic success. Coordination between school and Harmony Project is critically important.
  4. Expansion - Rapid growth is anticipated with a clear need for increased numbers of quality music educators. Our goal is to enroll 600 kids in 5 years with multiple sites. We will need more staff and volunteers in order to be able to continue to provide these quality programs.
  5. Fundraising - We need volunteers who can help us identify new donors and friends.
  6. In 2017 we will need to raise over $300,000 to support Harmony Project KC.
Service Categories
Youth Development Programs
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
NECC sits prominently on the corner of Independence Boulevard and Wabash Avenue, just east of The Paseo. We serve the seven neighborhoods just east of downtown Kansas City that make up the Historic Northeast Neighborhood of Kansas City. With a population just under 150,000 and 20,000 diverse families with children under the age of 14, Kansas City’s Historic Northeast Community boasts of rich ethnic diversity, active neighborhood associations, historically significant architecture, affordable housing, and close proximity to Downtown Kansas City. Our community also faces considerable challenges. Area schools report dropout rates as high as 40%, 36% of residents live in poverty, and the KCMO Police Department has designated the Northeast as one of the most violent areas in Kansas City (Invest Northeast October 2013).
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Kansas City’s Historic Northeast Community boasts of rich ethnic diversity, active neighborhood associations, historically significant architecture, and close proximity to the heart of downtown. Our community also faces considerable challenges. Area schools report dropout rates as high as 40% and 36% of residents live in poverty. The Northeast Community Center is committed to improve our neighborhood, serve our neighbors, and address these current issues.
Our latest commitment to the Historic Northeast is the 2015 launch of a new program. Harmony Project KC works with youth in an intensive 5 hours per week program of music instruction with free instruments, lessons and mentoring. Students from 22 area schools attend 3 days a week after school and on Saturdays, and will be followed throughout high school as long as they are enrolled in the program.
Independent researchers from Brown University, Northwestern University, and University of California – Berkeley, have demonstrated the study of music has resulted in improved academic performance, behavior, mood, and self-esteem. Evidence demonstrates this is particularly true in the lives of children in low-income neighborhoods. Music study also develops character-traits and skills such as responsibility, discipline, cooperation, strategic thinking, time-management, and task-persistence that enables students to maximize their potential and become productive members of the community. In short, studying music will keep kids in school and improve their academic performance and, in turn, lay the foundation for future academic and professional success.
Lastly the challenge will be to raise enough funds to maintain this free exciting and successful program for the students of Northeast Kansas City while researching ways to include the next phase of family services.
Harmony Project KC is a research-based, intense program that provides music instruction, practice, performance opportunities and character development to underserved children, with the goal of keeping them in school, improving academic performance, and developing a college readiness mindset. Learning to play an instrument takes patience, persistence, and focus -- the same qualities needed to excel in school and beyond. 
The project includes:
  • Musicianship classes in music reading, composition, rhythm and pitch
  • Two after-school sessions per week
  • One-on-one support from peer mentors
  • Saturday orchestral and chamber ensemble practices and performances
  • Music instruments and lessons for all enrolled students at no cost
  • Field trips to concerts at venues throughout the city
  • Character Development, and a referral network for community resources
HPKC is a community safety initiative that engages students in productive after-school and weekend activities, building a healthier and safer community for all.
Program Budget $344,888.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  1. Students will stay in school/100 percent will stay in school when enrolled. 
  2. Increase academics. /At least 60% will show academic improvement by one letter grade. 90% advance one grade level per year.
  3. Learn to read music and play an instrument. /At least 85% will move from basic musicianship level to the instrumental level. 85% at basic will progress to a more advanced instrumental level.
  4. Students will develop mindset about ability to learn, grow, finish school and go to college. /Using our character development assessment, teachers will evaluate students twice a year. At least 85% of students will pass character assessments. 
  5. Retrain developing brains through sustained music learning and improve language learning, math achievement, effective listening, patience and persistence, and focus. /Youth will graduate and attend college, a university, or technical school. 100% of our students will graduate high school, and 90 percent will go on to college.
  6. 90% of our older students will pass an accredited leadership program and become mentors to a younger strings students.
Long-Term Success
  • Develop accountability, responsibility and teamwork through daily practice, rehearsing, and performing within small ensembles and large orchestras of peers.
  • Develop confidence and courage by performing music for audiences during scheduled recitals and orchestral programs.
  • Retrain developing brains through sustained music learning and improves language learning, math achievement, effective listening, patience and persistence, and focus.
  • Foster social inclusion by uniting participating students across barriers of class and culture.
  • Require school enrollment Students can only participate in NECC’s Harmony Project if they are enrolled and adequately performing in school.
  • Reduce exposure to negative influences by engaging youth after school hours when they are at greatest risk of abuse, criminal activity, and drug and alcohol use.
  • 100% high school graduation and college acceptance.
  • Students will remain in the program their entire childhood (an average of 7 years).
Program Success Monitored By
As affiliates of a national movement Harmony Project KC has committed to rigorous tracking and evaluation, including the following data:
  • Music and Character Development: We track progress of our students through juries, recitals and teacher reports. Teachers will also chart character development (i.e. responsibility, commitment, community).
  • Program Participation: Using the state-of-the-art Efforts to Outcomes data system, we will capture student achievement data, demographics, and program attendance.
  • Academic Performance: Harmony Project KC requires participants to provide report cards. We use Efforts to Outcomes data system to track academic grades, school attendance rates,  graduation rates, and college acceptance.
  • Student/Parent Surveys: We conduct these surveys to measure the program's progress towards our goal of enabling positive change in our students. This survey includes basic before and after assessment of character development, behavior, family relationships, self-esteem, etc.
Examples of Program Success
Participants in the Harmony Project nationwide consistently defy the odds. A recent survey showed:
  • 90% showed improved focus and discipline
  • 73% improved academic achievement
  • 100% remained enrolled in school
  • 100% graduated from high school and attended college in 2016

After completing our second year: 

  1. 100% of our students stayed in school
  2. Of the 85 enrolled, 70 % in one year's grading period increased their grade in either English Arts or Math by one letter grade. All our students in August 2016 advanced to the next grade level for the 2016/17 school year.
  3. Low attrition rate, only 2 students left the program due to family relocation/scheduling conflicts. Attendance rate for 2016 was 93%.
  4. Our program tripled from 35 students when we launched in 2015 to 100 students on campus and 40 in our outreach program in 2017.
  5. 100% of our students have learned to read music and play a musical instrument
  6. All students passed the character building assessment, which is 50% of their grade.

NECC families face many challenges. Outside of Harmony Project KC, NECC has a growing referral network for families requiring additional resources. We partner with peer agencies to provide support on our campus. Our aim is to expand this support to include a circle of programming to support the development of children and our community.  Current and potential partners include:

Housing and Urban Development has entered into a partnership on our campus, moving both the Housing Authority and United Way offices to campus to offer social services.

  • Kansas City Housing Authority is on campus helping coordinate the multiple services. 
  • Mattie Rhodes will start up an arts program for families this year.
  • United Way has brought a family assistance program to NECC.
Category Human Services, General/Other Personal Social Services
Population Served Families, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success While creating a safe supportive network of educational, social and cultural resources, students and families will be able to commit to improving and enriching their lives. A new “college track” dream will become more feasible with the network of support and quality mentoring.
Long-Term Success
To make available complete family educational and social support including computer and language courses, resume assistance and family conflict resolution guidance where necessary. Depending on partners involved and funding solutions, we hope to enable families to feel supported and productive.
Students experiencing family disharmony are more likely to drop out of school. Having a full continuum of support services for the families makes success more likely for each individual.
Program Success Monitored By
These programs will be self-sustaining and results will be monitored by all partnering agencies involved.
Examples of Program Success Launched in Spring 2016.  Many classes and assistance is now available to our families on our campus.
CEO Comments

Harmony Project KC wants to provide a great number of underprivileged youth with music education and other related activities so they can successfully graduate from high school and go to college. By engaging them in an intensive after-school and weekend music program with a character-building component, we aim to reduce our student high school drop-out rates, improve their academic performance in school, and enhance their character development while playing a musical instrument.  Here are some of our challenges and opportunities:

Recruiting community partners to become cost-sharing supporters. We have partnered with Universities to help our older students create an affordable pathway to college.

Increasing funding sources, continuing grant applications and networking with corporate institutions. We hired a Funds Development Manager beginning last year to improve our fundraising capabilities. We recruit volunteers to assist with students and teachers.

Our students face daily challenges in their under resourced neighborhoods with high crime and 40% high school dropout rates. We keep the HPKC students engaged during the most vulnerable after-school and weekend hours when potential negative influences may be present.

Frequently parents work two jobs, and transportation for the children is difficult. We work with parents to create carpooling opportunities, and with the closest schools and their teachers to safely escort those who can walk to music class. Our staff meets them at the corner and brings them onto the campus. We then feed them healthy snacks.

Strife at home interferes at times with students’ ability to show up for classes on time or have quiet practice hours. We are partnering with United Way and The KC Housing Authority who have moved onto our campus to provide a wide array of services, Conflict Resolution programs, computer lessons including resume writing and job applications, utility assistance and parenting classes. We keep parents engaged at all times and assist with their challenges in all areas.

School readiness is one of our challenges. Many of our students are not at grade level, and one of our biggest challenges is to use music education to redevelop their brains and unlock potential that will increase academic performance. 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Laura Shultz
Term Start Nov 2007
Compensation $100,001 - $125,000
Experience NECC’s Executive Director is Laura Shultz. Laura has served as a Peace Corps volunteer and Registered Nurse in Seoul Korea, a military surgical and pediatric nurse across the globe, and a commercial photographer working in Brussels, Belgium, Washington D.C., and Kansas City with published photos in “Time”, “U.S. News and World Report”, “Fortune” and “Parade” magazines. Laura has served as NECC’s Executive Director for seven years overseeing all operational and financial management and community outreach. Her position included student scholarship guidance and social service assistance to families. She has a 20-year history of Business experience, Board participation and leadership in the nonprofit community of Kansas City.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Program Manager of Harmony Project KC
Experience/Biography Carmen Espinosa serves as the program director. With 10+ years as a classical pianist, performer, and music educator, Carmen knows first-hand how music can change people’s lives. Carmen’s work spans multiple disciplines across a vast array of settings, from Outreach Coordinator for Symphony Nova in Boston, MA to Music and Piano Professor at National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru. Carmen holds a Master of Education in International Education Policy from Harvard University, a Master of Music in Piano Performance from University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Science in Music from Indiana University School of Music.
Paid Full-Time Staff 5
Paid Part-Time Staff 2
Volunteers 14
Paid Contractors 15
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 1
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 2
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 6
Male 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Under Development
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
NECC and Harmony Project KC partner with the following institutions to provide the best possible programming for our youth participants:
  • Harmony Project LA NECC models its program after the Harmony Project LA, one of the nation's largest nonprofits solely dedicated to music education for youth in low-income communities. Harmony Project LA has been recognized nationally as one of the most effective arts-based youth programs in the nation, including recognition from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities.
  • Christ Church Presbyterian has worked hand in hand with NECC since its founding. The church’s sanctuary and offices reside next to NECC’s classrooms and offices. Each organization is separate and governed by two distinct Boards. The Church participates in awarding scholarships to our students, and providing meeting space when needed.
  • Woodland Community School serves local families with Head Start programming and early education classes. Harmony Project KC will expand its programming into the school in 2016.
    • The Kansas City Symphony has been an early supporter of Harmony Project KC. Several of its musicians are volunteering to teach and to sit on our Artistic Advisory Board. Board member Mike Gordon, principal flutist, chairs the Artistic Advisory Committee and Michael Stern, Music Director, offers ongoing counsel and support.
      • Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri – Kansas City Several faculty, students, and graduates are volunteering as advisors and teachers. Dr. Mara Gibson, Director, serves on our Artistic Advisory Committee.
        • William Jewell College
        • Kansas City Housing Authority
        • Mayor's Task Force for the Arts and its Chair, Michael Burke
        • Mattie Rhodes Center
        • Northeast Chamber of Commerce
        • United Way of Greater Kansas City
        • KC Youth Symphony
        • Wyatt Violin Shop
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Philip Glynn
Company Affiliation Travois
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2019
Board Members
Ms. Bethany Bezanson Sprint
Ms. Shelly Freeman Freeman & Fowler, attorneys at law
Mr. Philip Glynn Travois
Mr. Michael Gordon K.C. Symphony, principal flute/HPKC Advisory Committee
Mr. Joseph Hintz American Century Investments
Mrs. Johanna Marolf Formerly with H&R Block
Ms. Mary McCarthy Hallmark
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Terry Becker Retired Teacher, Community Volunteer
Mr. Matt Beckman Cellist, K.C. Symphony, Music Educator
Dr. Ian Coleman Chair, Music Education Department, William Jewell College
Dr. Mara Gibson Director, UMKC’s Community Music and Dance Academy
Mr. Mike Gordon Principal flute K.C. Symphony
Ms. Selene Hernandez Violinist, Music Teacher, Van Horn High School
Ms. Megan Hilger Sprint
Ms. Sarah Kim Violinist, Music Teacher
CEO Comments

At Harmony Project KC, our flagship program, we commit to our young people for their entire childhood, and then assist with college scholarships upon high school graduation. We track their progress every step of the way, from age 3 to 18. And by engaging them in an intense, productive after-school and weekend activity, Harmony builds a healthier and safer community in the urban core, especially as our students grow older. Launched in January, 2015, Harmony Project KC is an affiliate of Harmony Project Los Angeles, one of the most effective arts-based youth development programs in the nation tailored to low-income youth, winning recently the nation’s highest honor for an arts-based youth program by the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, as well as the White House's "Bright Spots in Hispanic Education" Award. Harmony Project students consistently defy the odds with 100% college acceptance rate last year, including two Fulbright Scholars, and an average of 8 years’ participation in the program. Children from the gang districts of LA are now studying at Princeton, Harvard and UCLA. They are pursuing STEM careers and are performing in orchestras across the globe. Our goal is to replicate these stunning outcomes here in Kansas City.

Quotes from Noted Supporters: 

"Bringing the Harmony Project here to Kansas City is a transformational moment. I am thrilled to support this incredible opportunity for education, for music, for the children of Kansas City." - Michael Stern, Music Director, Kansas City Symphony

“Evidence suggests that music training may literally remodel underprivileged kids’ developing brains in ways that improve their capacity to listen, to focus, to read, and to learn. Prior research has shown that the positive cognitive impact of music training endures throughout the lifespan.” - Margaret Martin, DrPH, MPH, Harmony Project Founder

“I’ve enjoyed serving as a consultant to an alliance working on community improvements in our Historic Northeast, and I’m delighted that this excellent music program is being offered to the students living in community. I heartily endorse this effort!” - Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes

Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $744,873
Projected Expenses $744,873
Form 990s
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015, 2014, 2013: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$247,310$185,189$83,278
Administration Expense$216,411$169,084$142,958
Fundraising Expense$11,051$0$0
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.630.891.49
Program Expense/Total Expenses52%52%37%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$3,889,357$3,613,483$3,622,914
Current Assets$2,289,384$2,016,231$2,020,795
Long-Term Liabilities$13,017$11,572$8,000
Current Liabilities$8,404$6,232$8,547
Total Net Assets$3,867,936$3,595,679$3,606,367
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities272.42323.53236.43
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Name Northeast Community Center (NECC)
Address 544 Wabash Ave
Kansas City, MO 64124
Primary Phone (816) 231-7738
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Laura Shultz
Board Chair Mr. Philip Glynn
Board Chair Company Affiliation Travois
Year of Incorporation 1957