Bright Futures Fund
20 West Ninth Street, Suite 200
Kansas City MO 64105
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 756-1850 526
Mission Statement
The mission of Bright Futures Fund is to provide financial assistance to families, students, and diocesan schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The Fund strives to ensure that high-quality, Catholic education is affordable to everyone.
The primary purpose of the Fund is to offer positive education opportunities to youth in a safe, value-centered environment. The Fund plans to further their tax-exempt purpose by providing financial assistance, in the form of monetary grants, to diocesan schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Such monetary grants shall be used by the diocesan schools to support such schools' general operating expenses and programmatic expenses as well as to provide student scholarships to reduce the financial burden of school tuition on the families of enrolled students.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jeremy Lillig
Board Chair Mrs. Diana Welsh-Struby
Board Chair Company Affiliation Keller Williams Platinum Partners
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2014
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 mission of Bright Futures Fund is to provide financial assistance to families, students, and diocesan schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The Fund strives to ensure that high-quality, Catholic education is affordable to everyone.
The primary purpose of the Fund is to offer positive education opportunities to youth in a safe, value-centered environment. The Fund plans to further their tax-exempt purpose by providing financial assistance, in the form of monetary grants, to diocesan schools within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Such monetary grants shall be used by the diocesan schools to support such schools' general operating expenses and programmatic expenses as well as to provide student scholarships to reduce the financial burden of school tuition on the families of enrolled students.
Background Statement
The Bright Futures Fund program facilitates the Bright Futures Schools (formerly the Strong and Central City Schools). We have a total pre-K-8 enrollment of 405 in 2016-2017 and are expecting an increase in enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year. These urban schools located in Kansas City, MO, include: Our Lady of Hope (combining two schools- Our Lady of the Angels (K-8th) est. 1911 and Our Lady of Guadalupe est. 1915) and  Holy Cross (pre-K-8th) est. 1910. Since its inception, the Bright Futures Fund has given over 27,000 scholarships, helping over 15,000 families and resulting in over $36,000,000 invested in urban core education. The Bright Futures Fund was established in 1989 to provide financial support to our schools which serve mostly impoverished students. The Bright Futures Fund applied for their own tax-exempt, 501 (c) (3) status from the IRS in the summer of 2014. They received official approval in September 2014.
Bright Futures Schools (formerly Strong and Central City Schools) are operated by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph and form a vital educational safety net for children in the urban core. Enrollment is open to all students, regardless of their family’s religious affiliation.
The Schools’ shared mission is to break the cycle of poverty through quality education. School excellence is demonstrated through:
  1. Accreditation by the Missouri Chapter of the National Federation of Nonpublic Schools; and by the national AdvancED organization, one of only 30 U.S. diocesan districts fully accredited by AdvancED, and commended for a commitment to the underserved.
  2. Safe and secure, stress-free classrooms, with positive reinforcement. These are features that help underprivileged students develop skills for academic success, such as study skills, time management, and social problem-solving skills (How Children Succeed, Paul Tough, 2012).
  3. Outstanding daily attendance of 95% to 96% despite poverty and other barriers to learning, a critical behavior with a positive impact on academic performance.
  4. Students scoring on average 2.21 grades above their current grade level on standardized tests.
Impact Statement
Last year, the Bright Futures Fund provided over $1 million in tuition assistance scholarships for poverty-stricken children in Kansas City. Secondly, we provided over $500,000 for capital improvement projects, technology and curriculum that improved the quality of education for our students. Thirdly, almost $75,000 in scholarships were provided to our students who chose to attend participating diocesan high schools. Fourthly, we had a 100% graduation rate once again.
For this year, a major goal is the Diocese opening of a new urban core school for the first time in over 70 years. Students from two of our current schools will be relocated to this new facility, along with up to 200 additional students. Our second goal is to increase the number of scholarships we provide by at least 10%. We would also like to have our students continue to receive higher than the national average scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. (ITBS) and the ACT assessment scores as well.
Needs Statement
In supporting Bright Futures schools and the direction of over 500 students, the needs are great. The complete renovation of one of our schools was very expensive. Unfortunately, we do not foresee much of a decline in the financial needs of our families next year. Therefore, we estimate 99% of our students will require tuition assistance scholarships. The average cost to educate a student is approximately $5,200 per year.  We provide tuition assistance in the amount o $2,500 per student, if possible.
We estimate at least 100 of our school families will face an economic crisis in the next year. We need to raise monies to finance our St. Joseph’s Emergency Assistance fund that provides food, grocery store gift cards and emergency assistance for our students and families.
To maintain the high quality education we provide, a professional development plan needs to be in place for our schools. This development will include information for data driven instruction, highly engaging differential instruction and formative assessments.
Service Categories
Scholarships & Student Financial Aid
Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash)
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Our successes…
The Bright Futures Fund made it possible for 405 students to attend Holy Cross, Our Lady of the Angels or Our Lady of Guadalupe and receive an accredited, high quality, whole child education.
  • For the 2014-2015 school year, more that $1 million in scholarships were provided.
  • $72,000 was given to families with multiple children in diocesan primary and secondary schools through the Honoring Family Scholarship program.
  • The Richard and Olivia Mock Scholarship awarded $68,000 in scholarships to Bright Futures School students who wished to attend participating diocesan high schools.
  • Over $563,000 was given to support projects that improved the quality of education and enhanced the learning environment for students in our schools.
  • Our students have a 100% high school graduation rate and achieve higher Iowa Basic Skills and ACT scores than the national averages.
  • Average daily attendance at Strong City Schools is 95-96%.
  • Over 800 scholarships were awarded through all of the Bright Futures Programs in the 2014-15 school year!

Our challenges…
  • Our students often come from challenging economic situations. The average household income for a family in our school is $16,000 and nearly 93 percent of our students receive free and reduced lunch service. 99% of our students require financial assistance to be able to attend our schools.
  • Our buildings are aging and improvements are consistently being addressed.
  • Transportation/Bussing expenses
  • 39% of our students are English Language Learners
The Bright Futures Fund works diligently to accomplish the mission and vision despite challenges that arise. We are in the process of combining two of our inner city schools into one newer and larger facility with the hopes of alleviating our building challenge, providing the children with state of the art learning and reaching more of the population who reside in the urban core. The building is on a direct bus line which will help with some of our transportation problems. Our hope is to eventually provide bussing for other students who would like to attend. Grant writing efforts have been increased and through those efforts Holy Cross has been awarded a grant to provide an ELL teacher and para-professional which will help bridge the gap for our English Language Learners. Although these challenges and more still remain, we are committed to providing these children, faith in learning, to give them a bright future.
We provide tuition assistance scholarships to 99% of our students. All families are served without distinction. Currently, $2,500 is the average amount of our scholarships. This covers approximately 60% of the average cost to educate a student at $4,500. Last year, we provided over $1,000,000 in scholarships.
Our program's method is that we utilize a sliding fee scale to determine the amount of tuition assistance we can provide each student. Our schools are more than an educational institution for our families. Our schools are an important participant in the local neighborhoods where we are located. We have several schools in some of the poorest communities in Kansas City. The urban core has a much higher levels of unemployment, drug usage, crime, language barriers and other negative environmental issues. Our schools are known to be something very good and positive in the communities. We provide a safe haven for almost 500 students.
Category Education, General/Other Student Financial Aid
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success
We see dramatic changes in students who are new to our schools. Grades improve significantly be the end of the first year. We see notable increases in literacy, English language, math and communication skills.
A clear indicator of the student’s satisfaction with their school is that we have an average attendance rate of 94%. This is extensively higher than other schools in our area.
With the St. Joseph’s Emergency Fund in place, students are able to receive food and assistance that provides a comfort level in their homes that they previously did not have. The elimination of stress in their homes allows them to succeed in school at a higher rate.
Long-Term Success
Our ultimate goal is to provide a high-quality education to as many students as possible. We want our students to be college and/or career ready when they graduate.
We want to continue our past successful track record of having 100% graduation rate, students testing well above the national average on the ACT assessment measures of general educational development of high school students. We also want our students to continue to test at least two years ahead of their peers when they complete the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) each year.
Program Success Monitored By
We have a 100% graduation rate within the schools in our Diocese. We also complete a comparison of how our students due versus the national average on ACTs. The ACT assessment measures the general educational development of high school students. Testing outcomes are one predictor of the potential to complete college-level work. Last year, our students had an average score of 22.9. The national average was 21. Additionally, we also complete the ITBS-Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. Last year, our 6th graders scored as follows: Language-9th grade, 2nd month, Science-8th grade, fifth month, Social Studies-8th grade, 3rd month, Math-7th grade, 2nd month. Lastly, there are ongoing assessments completed by teachers on a continual basis. Teachers use these assessments to determine their teaching strategies.
Examples of Program Success
We have been blessed with many success stories over the years.
One example is about a six-year old girl who was attending another school. When she came to one of our schools in August, assessments were complete. It was determined she was at least one year behind in several areas, including English language skills. By the end of her first year, she exceeded all expectations we had for her! She improved her reading and math skills to over one grade level ahead of where she needed to be.
Another success story is about a boy and his mother. The son was struggling academically and was in danger of going into foster care. The mother was addicted to drugs and did not have a job. She struggled every day to make a home for the boy. With help from our school counselors and case management, the mother worked very hard for two years. She beat her drug addiction, obtained a GED, got a job and was able to rent a home for herself and her son. The son continues to do well with his grades.
The St. Joseph’s Assistance Fund was introduced in 2013. It provides financial assistance, food and grocery store gift cards to school families experiencing a major economic crisis. The program was initiated in response to growing evidence of hunger among student families, and ongoing poverty-linked crises among school families every year.
Helping student families in crisis with food and other basic needs reduces barriers to learning caused by hunger and family stress.
Based on pilot year experience, we estimate that at least 100 school families facing an economic crisis will be assisted next school year. Household incomes of families served in the pilot were only 50 to 100% of poverty level; and school families often include undocumented immigrants who do not have access to public safety net services. Donated food and grocery store gift cards was provided to families in need throughout the year.
Category Human Services, General/Other Emergency Assistance
Population Served Families, ,
Short-Term Success
Through the St. Joseph’s Assistance Fund, we will serve an estimated 100 families in economic crisis during the 2015-16 school year. Based on each family’s need, donated food from emergency food pantries at each school or gift cards to grocery stores will be provided. Additional financial assistance will be given to families with a major economic crisis.
After observing a little girl gathering up leftover lunchtime fruit one day to feed the child and her mother, further investigation indicated that more than one-third of school families did not have enough to eat. Given a weak economic recovery, Strong City School students and families continue to be in significant need.
We have witnessed parents being more involved at the school as they have come to know and trust our schools are there to not only provide a high-quality education for their children, we are there to assist them in reducing their stress and truly taking care of their family.
Long-Term Success
Our ultimate goal is to alleviate hunger and meet other basic, emergency needs among students and their families in an economic crisis.
To achieve this goal, we want the school’s food pantry to be stocked at all times. We also want a successful backpack program where students receive backpacks of food each Friday to ensure they have adequate nutrition over the weekends.
We would like schools to have the capability to purchase food from the local food bank when they need to restock their food pantries.
We would like to engage holiday-only food and gift donors all year long.
Program Success Monitored By
Improved student performance improves their prospects for overcoming poverty in the future. Charity and service infuses our schools. Students learn better when they get enough to eat and family stress levels are reduced in a crisis. For families in perpetual financial crisis, partnerships are being cultivated in order to offer case management leading to long-term stability.
Principals complete a form requesting funds to purchase a certain number of grocery store gift cards in certain increments, such as 50 cards of $50 value; or to request a check for a specific family in need. These forms are given to the Bright Futures Fund (BFF) Director who in turn requests checks from the BFF account to be distributed to the principals. In this way, the BFF Director is able to track the number of families assisted, major needs, and type of assistance provided. The BFF Director also follows up with principals to ensure that pantries are stocked.
Examples of Program Success
We had a young boy who became very ill with cancer. His mother was a single mother with another young son. Sadly, the young boy passed away last year. Prior to his death, the mother had to take off work many times to take him to the doctor and to stay with him at the hospital. Her employer let her go because of all the time she took off work. Unfortunately, they could not afford life insurance. When the young boy passed away, we utilized the St. Joseph’s Emergency Funds to assist the family with funeral expenses. Without the fund, the family literally could not have buried their son.
Two of our students suddenly found themselves without parents to take care of them. They were going to be split up and put into two different foster homes. A teacher at their school volunteered to take the students into her home. When she did that, she found the beds they brought with them were infested with bed bugs. We used St. Joseph’s Emergency Funds to purchase new beds for them.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Jeremy Lillig
Term Start Mar 2012

Jeremy Lillig, Director of Stewardship and Development, which includes the Bright Futures Fund, is responsible for raising financial support for the Bright Futures Schools as well as the entire Diocese. He is currently serving as the Managing Director of the Bright Futures Fund. Additionally, he manages special initiatives, such as new food pantry support, new arts programming, and the first school building renovation project in more than 28 years. After earning his BFA degree from Avila University, five of his 11-year nonprofit career has been in leadership positions. During his five-year tenure at the Diocese, he has doubled fundraising in certain areas, such as grants, hosted two record-setting special events, and increased school funding by 20%. He also raised money to establish an emergency assistance fund at each school for families in crisis, to offer a highly-regarded dance program in the schools, and to hire a veteran special education teacher to consultant with teachers who have students with special needs in their classrooms - enhancing inclusive education efforts.

Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Paid Full-Time Staff 3
Paid Part-Time Staff 0
Volunteers 100
Paid Contractors 0
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
Caucasian 3
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 1
Male 2
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Under Development
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Diana Welsh-Struby
Company Affiliation Keller Williams Platinum Partners
Term Jan 2011 to Dec 2017
Board Members
Mr. John Balzer Bioinnovations, LLC
Father Joseph Cisetti St. Therese North
Ms. Abbie Connelly Community Volunteer
Mr. Lamar Hunt Jr.Loretto Charities
Ms. Jo Anne Karr Retired School Teacher
Ms. Lisa Kremer K9 & Company
Mr. J. P. Latenser
Mr. Michael Ojo Accenture
Mr. Robert Paredes UMB Bank
Mr. Steve Pierce Muehlebach Funeral Care
Father Robert Stewart St. Margaret of Scotland
Ms. Diana Welsh Struby Keller Williams Platinum Partners
Mr. Tom Sweeney Retired Accountant
Mr. Brian Switzer Switzer Brothers Painting
Mr. Frank Uryasz National Center for Drug Free Sport
Ms. Peggy Walker Advanced Technology Group
Mr. Jeff Weinrich Spectranetics
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 50%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2017
Projected Revenue $1,498,659
Projected Expenses $1,489,941
Form 990s
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2015: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$1,854,487----
Administration Expense$0----
Fundraising Expense$0----
Payments to Affiliates$0----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.96----
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$761,162----
Current Assets$119,464----
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0----
Total Net Assets$761,162----
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%----
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 Bright Futures Fund
Address 20 West Ninth Street, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
Primary Phone (816) 756-1850526
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jeremy Lillig
Board Chair Mrs. Diana Welsh-Struby
Board Chair Company Affiliation Keller Williams Platinum Partners
Year of Incorporation 2014