Operation Breakthrough, Inc.
3039 Troost
Kansas City MO 64109-1540
Mission Statement

Operation Breakthrough's mission is to help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential by providing them a safe, loving, and educational environment. The Center also strives to support and empower the children's families through education, advocacy, referral services, and emergency aid. 

Our primary goal is to ensure Operation Breakthrough becomes a center of excellence for the education of high-risk children.  With this goal in mind, we continue to work on four key objectives:
  1. Provide a challenging, engaging, nurturing learning environment structured to ensure students are prepared educationally and socially to become happy, healthy, thriving citizens.
  2. Ensure great teachers in every classroom who know how to empower and support students.
  3. Provide a two-generational universal culture of support to promote family health and wellness through comprehensive wrap-around services.
  4. Ensure shared accountability across staff, students and families.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Esselman
Board Chair Ms. Judy Heeter
Board Chair Company Affiliation Pathfinder Consulting
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1971
Former Names
St. Vincent's Family Service Center
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

Operation Breakthrough's mission is to help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential by providing them a safe, loving, and educational environment. The Center also strives to support and empower the children's families through education, advocacy, referral services, and emergency aid. 

Our primary goal is to ensure Operation Breakthrough becomes a center of excellence for the education of high-risk children.  With this goal in mind, we continue to work on four key objectives:
  1. Provide a challenging, engaging, nurturing learning environment structured to ensure students are prepared educationally and socially to become happy, healthy, thriving citizens.
  2. Ensure great teachers in every classroom who know how to empower and support students.
  3. Provide a two-generational universal culture of support to promote family health and wellness through comprehensive wrap-around services.
  4. Ensure shared accountability across staff, students and families.
Background Statement
Operation Breakthrough grew out of the former St. Vincent's Elementary School where Sister Corita Bussanmas and Sister Berta Sailer began teaching in 1967. In response to the needs of working-poor mothers in the neighborhood, the Sisters opened a childcare center in their living room. When the Catholic Diocese closed the school and withdrew funding for childcare in 1971, the Sisters obtained Model Cities funding and incorporated as Operation Breakthrough, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with no religious affiliation.
Operation Breakthrough now serves 290 children from 6 weeks to 5 years in full-day Head Start/Early Head Start programs and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. An additional 120 children from 5 to 13 attend the Center's before/after-school and summer enrichment programs.
Eighty-seven percent of the families we serve are African American and 70% live more than 50% below the poverty line, on incomes averaging $11,300 a year. Over 90% of families are headed by single women. Currently, 70% of parents are employed, but 61% have been at their current job for less than six months and 39% are only working part-time. Approximately 33% of families are either homeless or in imminent danger of becoming homeless.
In addition to educational care, programming has expanded over the years to empower and support the children and their families. Services for children include: play therapy and psychiatric services for children suffering from family violence or abuse; speech and occupational therapy for those with developmental delays; on-site medical and dental care; nutritious meals and violence-prevention programming to teach empathy, anger management and conflict resolution. Over 30% of parents have experienced 4 or more adverse childhood experiences, nearly 3 times the national rate, putting children at high risk for the long-term negative effects of trauma and toxic stress.
Services for parents include crisis counseling, case management and mental health services; a supportive housing program for those in recovery; emergency aid (including food, clothing, diapers, hygiene and household goods); rent and utility assistance; and a holiday adoption program.
Only 30% of our annual operating expenses are funded through government sources; the rest comes from the charitable contributions of corporations, foundations and thousands of individual supporters.
Impact Statement
2016 Accomplishments:
  • 85 preschoolers ‘graduated’ from OB to begin kindergarten in Fall 2016; 96% tested as kindergarten-ready, almost double the national rate for children living in poverty. In addition, 75% of OB’s school-age students were reading on grade by the end of the program year. They also scored higher in math and language arts than all 19 other Upper Room locations.
  • On July 1, we began operating the childcare program at DeLaSalle Education Center. The program serves 24 infants/toddlers, including those of teen parents attending DLS high school. Families have the benefit of OB’s high quality early learning program as well as access to health, behavioral health, social services and parent programs. Services hours were extended to 5:00 p.m. so that parents can participate in after-school activities or work part-time. Also, instead of childcare ending when children turn 3, they can transfer to OB preschool classrooms to prepare for kindergarten.
  • A fully integrated STEM lab was completed in time for last year’s School-Age summer session. The lab gives students experiences in robotics, electronics, software engineering, mechanics and structures, and engineering design.
  • Staff received 80 hours of Professional Development in 2016, with topics ranging from Brian Architecture & Development; STEAM Education for early learners; Trauma-Informed Care; Theory of Change; Cultural Competency; and Building Capacity & Professionalism.
Key action steps for 2017 continue to focus on our four key initiatives:
  • Quality Education
  • Quality Staff
  • Universal Culture of Support, and
  • Shared Accountability
In addition, OB’s board has approved moving forward on a capital campaign to support facility expansion over the next three years. The project will involve the purchase and renovation of the old Jones Store across the street and allow us to serve 80 additional preschool children and 210 school-age students.
Needs Statement
  1. Our greatest need is to find funding to replace ever-diminishing support from government sources.  We continue to serve families who are no longer eligible for state aid either because they have exceeded time limits, are homeless or unemployed, or their wages exceed income limitations but are not enough to cover the cost of childcare while they work.   Having to replace government funding with charitable donations to maintain support to these families mean fewer dollars are available for needed supplement services such as therapeutic services, emergency assistance, and programs for parents.
  2. We also continue to seek funding for Social Services and Mental Health Services, two very important departments that are not funded adequately by Head Start. Our Social Services department provides families with critical support in food, housing, and employment assistance. Mental Health Services provides on-site therapeutic services to both children and adults suffering from trauma and other life-altering events.
  3. Everyday needs include diapers, toilet paper, canned goods, gently used clothing, hygiene and household goods -- all the things families can't buy with food stamps and can't afford to buy with only part-time, low-wage job earnings.
Service Categories
Children's and Youth Services
Youth Development Programs
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
Operation Breakthrough serves children and families living in poverty in Kansas City’s urban core, primarily in zip codes 64109, 64130, 54127, 64128, and 64132. Over 35% of families live in publically subsidized housing and nearly 33% were homeless or on the verge of homelessness in 2016.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
The history of poverty and trauma among OB families mean children are at very high risk for developmental delays and emotional/behavioral disturbance. We strive to address the needs of these children through innovative educational programming, early therapeutic intervention, and comprehensive services for the children’s families. With the staff’s tireless energy and ‘can do’ attitude, we’ve provided a safe, loving and educational environment to thousands of high-risk children over the years and given parents the tools they need to become better parents and better providers. We also advocate for programs and legislation that will improve the lives of poor children and families everywhere.
We are inspired by the children and families we serve and the daily efforts they make to overcome their living conditions. Our dream is to help children living in poverty develop to their fullest potential so they can succeed in school and become happy, healthy and productive adults.

Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Operation Breakthrough’s Early Childhood Education program provides hands-on learning experiences, supportive teacher interactions and language-rich environments for 290 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years.  Developmentally-appropriate programming is guided by Head Start and NAEYC with the goal of preparing children for success in school. The program operates weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to support parents who are working or going to school.

Our interdisciplinary model – partnering education, clinical and social services to support the whole child/whole family – is designed to ensure children’s academic success and healthy social-emotional development in a nurturing home environment. Comprehensive developmental assessments are conducted twice a year so that those experiencing delays can receive early interventions as needed and that education staff can tailor instructional plans to meet each child’s needs.

Program Budget $3,757,506.00
Category Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5), At-Risk Populations,
Short-Term Success

One important short-term goal is to increase access to technology to give preschoolers a solid foundation in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) subjects, as well as 21st Century skills, including creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and curiosity. By introducing in-classroom technology and two purpose-built spaces – the MakerSpace and a STEM Lab – we aim to spur children’s interest in learning and to foster a love of play, solving problems, and making something from the resources at hand. We are also increasing efforts to help parents become more actively engaged in their children’s learning and committed to their success in school.

Long-Term Success

As a primary focus, Operation Breakthrough endeavors to prepare students to thrive as lifelong learners, starting with the long-term goal of every child meeting or surpassing kindergarten-readiness standards by the time they leave Operation Breakthrough.  Overall, we are committed to creating classrooms that maximize well-being, interest, inquiry and exploration -- structuring time, curriculum, and environments to provide opportunities for students to discover, learn, develop resilience, and take ownership for their learning.  

Students’ progress is tracked across 53 ‘kindergarten-readiness’ indicators in Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) assessments conducted 3 times a year. In addition, we use the Kindergarten Readiness assessment development by the Kansas City Early Learning Coalition.
Program Success Monitored By
Progress is measured against a variety of industry standards, including those established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Metropolitan Council for Early Learning, and the State of Missouri.  To monitor children's academic and social-emotional development, Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) assessments are conducted 3 times a year to track childrens' progress in 53 developmental indicators across 7 domains, including Approaches to Learning - Self Regulation, Social & Emotional Development, Language & Literacy Development, Cognition, including Math and Science, Physical & Health Development, History & Social Science, and Visual & Performing Arts.  
We also conduct Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) assessments twice a year to monitor the effectiveness of the learning environment and teacher-child interactions.  Last year, we also piloted the kindergarten-readiness assessment tool developed by Kansas City's Early Learning Coalition and will continue with the refined version once completed and released.  
These tools provide critical data to guide lesson planning, identify areas of concern, and show where intervention is needed.
Examples of Program Success
Last fall, 96% of preschoolers leaving for kindergarten had met or exceeded DRDP kindergarten-readiness standards. We also tested preschoolers using the new K-readiness assessment developed by the Kansas City Early Learning Coalition; results showed 87% had met or exceeded the KCEL indicators before leaving for school.
In addition, our most recent CLASS assessments (Mid-Year 2017) showed all 10 pre-K classrooms had exceeded the national mean in all three domains. Infant and Toddler classroom scores also showed improvements in all three domains, although a national mean has not yet been established for this age group.

The purpose of our School-Age program is to provide a safe environment and high-quality educational care in the out-of-school hours for 120 at-risk children from 5 to 14 years old. During the school year, the first 45 minutes after children arrive from school is devoted to homework help, reading, and math. During the summer, certified teachers from the Upper Room facilitate an intensive reading program that runs from 8:30 – 11:30 every morning.  In addition, our new STEM Lab is designed to promote students’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects. In addition to supporting children's academic success, Operation Breakthrough is committed to enriching the lives of our children through programming that teaches self-discipline, fosters trusting relationships with peers and adults, and promotes positive character development. Mental Health and Psychiatric Services for those with persistent behavior/emotional problems are available on-site as needed by our clinical staff and/or through our partnership with Children's Mercy Behavioral Psychologists.   

Program Budget $337,951.00
Category Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), At-Risk Populations, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short-Term Success

Goals, outcomes and indicators for short-term success include:

 1)  Increase the number of at-risk youth who remain in school and improve their academic achievement.

Outcome: Enrolled students’ academic performance improves.

Outcome Indicators:

  •  65% of readers will be reading on grade level by the end of the program year.
  • 72% of beginning readers will reach or exceed benchmark (SS score of 560) in early literacy skills by the end of the program year.

 2)  Increase the number of at-risk youth who become positive, contributing members of society.

Outcome: Enrolled students gain positive social-emotional skills.

Outcome Indicators:

  •  80% of students will maintain an average daily attendance rate of 75%.  
  • 28% of students will demonstrate improved behavior.
  • 56% of students will demonstrate increased pro-social skills.
  • 84% of students will report positive relationships with program staff.
Long-Term Success

Primary goals of the School-Age program are to:

  1. Increase the number of at-risk students who succeed in school;  
  2. Graduate students who are positive, contributing members of society.
In order to achieve these goals, the program incorporates activities and services that support children’s school endeavors. The After-School program runs from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. each weekday from September through May; the Summer program runs from 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. each weekday from June through August. Instruction and activities are tailored to each child and are intended to be flexible to allow for turbulences in family life, influences of multiple public and charter schools, and to follow the inspirations and aspirations of the individual child. A cadre of dedicated professionals, college students, retired teachers and local community leaders team up to help classroom teachers individualize instruction in math, phonics, science and reading across grades.
Program Success Monitored By

Program success is monitored by Program Coordinator Tyler Baker and classroom teachers, who track daily attendance and conduct bi-annual social-emotional assessments to determine gains/losses in character development. In addition, Upper Room teachers conduct bi-annual reading assessments, using STAR Reader to determine each student’s reading grade level, and Accelerated Reader to measure children’s comprehension of the material they’ve read.

In addition to regular assessment of students’ individual progress, as a participant in United Way’s Quality Matters Initiative, School-Age staff complete an annual Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) evaluation each September; the YPQA evaluation includes 36 indicators covering 4 domains (Safe Environment, Supportive Environment, Interaction, and Engagement).  All full-time staff also participate in on-going coaching assistance and quarterly professional development trainings/workshops.
Examples of Program Success
Assessment results for the 2015-16 program year showed:
  • During the school year, 79.6% of students met the 85% attendance standard; for the summer session, 81% met the goal.
  • 75% of school-age readers were reading on grade level at the end of the program year, up from 71% at the beginning of the period. Students also read an average of 11 books each and passed 85% of the comprehension tests they took after each one.
  • The School-Age program also conducted an Achievement Series assessment for the first time. Overall, school-age students answered 78% of questions in English Language Arts correctly and 74% of questions related to Math, outperforming all other Upper Room program locations.
  • Bully behaviors were reduced by 5% and 87% of students showed a 10% or greater increase in pro-social behaviors.
Description Our Social Services program helps families strengthen parenting skills, stabilize their home environment, and improve overall family functioning.  Four MSW-level case managers work with parents/caregivers to provide crisis counseling, housing and employment assistance, and intensive case management to help them regain economic stability.   We also provide emergency assistance to those in need, including groceries from our food pantry, used clothing, furniture and household supplies, and utility and rent assistance to families with children enrolled in the Center's educational programs.
Program Budget $432,666.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Case Management
Population Served Adults, At-Risk Populations, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short-Term Success Short-term success is based on parents/caregivers having stable income and employment; a stable home environment; improved knowledge and skills to avoid/reduce domestic violence and child abuse; and improved ability to advocate on behalf of self and child(ren).
Long-Term Success
The goal of the Social Services program is to help families live together in a safe environment and attain more stable and satisfying family and community relationships so that children have the tools and support they need to grow up to happy, productive adulthood. Long-term outcomes are: 
  1. Families have safe, sanitary housing
  2. Parents maintain employment and economic stability
  3. Families experience & perpetrate less violence, emotional abuse and neglect
  4. Family life is functional and productive
  5. Families have realistic hopes/plans for the future
Program Success Monitored By Progress is measured through attendance at classes, meetings, appointments; pre-/post child abuse prevention inventories; client satisfaction surveys; review of family contact records; for case management clients, review of progress toward goals; and skilled observation by Family Advocates, classroom teachers, and other staff. Target outcomes have not yet been set.
Examples of Program Success The best evidence of success for the Social Services program is a reduction in the number of crisis situations needing immediate intervention. Crises may involve impending loss of housing, utilities or employment; domestic violence; issues regarding custody, welfare or behavioral problems of children; depression or other mental health issues; or legal matters. Once the crisis situation has been stabilized, Family Advocates (case managers) can work with the parent/caregiver to establish short- and long-term goals and develop an action plan for meeting those goals. Progress is monitored on a weekly basis. Naturally, each client defines success in their own way, but each step is celebrated before moving on to the next goal.
Description All children receive regular exams and treatment for illness or injury in our on-site Children's Mercy pediatric clinic, along with referrals to specialists as needed. Families also receive medical education to help them make appropriate health care decisions.   In addition, all children ages 3 and older receive on-site dental screenings and follow-up treatment as needed.   Children needing speech therapy or occupational therapy to overcome developmental delays receive weekly on-site services, with individual treatment plans and regular assessments.  Children eligible for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) through Missouri First Steps or the local school district receive individualized case management and family advocacy surrounding special education law and policies.  Families are also connected to appropriate outside service providers as needed and given high quality follow-up for services received at the Center, at school, or at home.  
Program Budget $409,606.00
Category Health Care, General/Other Ambulatory & Primary Health Care
Population Served Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, At-Risk Populations
Short-Term Success
Short term success is based on the following indicators:
  1. The number of children receiving safety net health care on a regular, timely basis, and treatment for injuries, illness and/or developmental delays as needed
  2. Children's immunizations are up-to-date
  3. Parents/caregivers become less reliant on emergency room services for routine health care
  4. Parents attend IFSP/IEP meetings as scheduled.
Long-Term Success Children grow up healthy and cared for, and parents are empowered to be knowledgeable care providers with the skills to provide successful interventions at home.
Program Success Monitored By Children's medical records are maintained and monitored on-site by Children's Mercy Hospital personnel through the CMH data system.  OB's H&D Coordinator maintains dental, vision, speech/language, physical and occupational therapy records; in addition, Speech/Language therapists, OT therapists and special school district instructors maintain progress notes on each child receiving treatment.  All children who receive IFSP/IEP services are monitored by the H&D Coordinator in collaboration with local Head Start personnel and the local school district.  
Examples of Program Success Operation Breakthrough's immunization rate is consistently around 98%, one of the highest rates in the city. All children -- from six weeks to 16 years old -- also receive regular exams, referrals to specialists when needed, and treatment for acute illness. In addition, all children 3 and older receive on-site dental care, and children referred for speech and/or occupational therapy receive weekly services with individual treatment plans and regular assessments.  Preschool children who have been identified with an educational disability are increasingly more prepared for kindergarten and daily routine due to proactive on-site therapy and close collaboration with outside service providers.
Description Our Mental Health staff includes four play therapists who work with children dealing with issues of family violence, abuse or other trauma in individual or group play therapy sessions. Two Music Therapists provide interventions in our infant-toddler classrooms to promote self-regulation and pre-literacy skill development, and two Behavior Interventionists work with 4-5 year-olds to teach them how to manage feelings, work cooperatively with their peers, and focus their attention on learning. In addition, Behavioral Psychologists from Children's Mercy work with those with persistent behavioral programs.  Psychiatric services are also available through our tele-med link with KU Medical Center.  Children from 4 - 13 also receive Second Step bullying prevention sessions that focus on positive relationships and communications with peers .  In addition to therapeutic services for children, a full-time licensed adult therapist works with parents/caregivers in individual or group therapy sessions to provide emotional support and help alleviate the effects of chronic stress and/or unresolved childhood traumas.   
Program Budget $540,845.00
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Mental Health Treatment
Population Served Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, At-Risk Populations
Short-Term Success
Program objectives are to:
  1. Ensure early detection of behavioral and mental health disorders in Center children
  2. Provide early, effective and developmentally-appropriate interventions to those in need of treatment
  3. Provide psychosocial education to all Center children to reduce risk-factors and strengthen protective factors
  4. Provide individual therapy and mental health education to mothers/caregivers to reduce mental health sympotomology and improve family functioning.
Long-Term Success
Center children will gain enhanced attachment characteristics and experiences to foster positive brain development and social emotional interactions. Those receiving treatment will demonstrate an increase in resiliency factors, be able to access positive coping skills to counter on-going trauma, and reduce the frequency of violent, dangerous or avoidant behaviors across environments. Parents in treatment will demonstrate improved coping skills, emotional stability, and enhanced self-control and self-concept.  
Our long-term goal is for parents and children to demonstrate improved global functioning in the family, at school, and in other social interactions.
Program Success Monitored By Individual client records and progress notes are maintained by staff therapists in a secure database. Measurement instruments include the DECA-C for pre-school children in play therapy; GAF for children receiving psychiatric services; Burks Behavior Scale for school-aged children in therapy; ORS and/or BECKS rating scales for adults in therapy. Progress is also monitored using teacher records and assessments, behavior incident reports, parent surveys; client self-reports, skilled observation by child psychiatrists and staff therapists, and fulfillment of program obligations.
Examples of Program Success Although an increase in clinical test scores indicates individual progress, success is defined differently for each client. It may just be that a parent agrees to treatment for their child, or that he/she shows for appointments and takes an active interest in their child's well-being. It may mean a stronger bond and more positive interactions between a child and parent. It may mean fewer family crises. It may mean that a child participates more wholeheartedly in classroom activities, or demonstrates greater respect for others, or is just more playful and lighthearted. It may mean fewer classroom disruptions or school suspensions. It may mean the ability to handle disappointment and frustration. For those receiving psychiatric services, it may mean medication fidelity. Each child and each parent is unique in the way he/she has internalized the events of the past and each one's journey to healing is unique.
CEO Comments

Operation Breakthrough continues to make progress on all program goals. We are especially happy to report that 96% of our 85 preschool students leaving for school last fall tested as ready for kindergarten! It takes many months of concentrated effort to bring students to this level of readiness, especially when over a third of our 4-5 year-olds were brand new to Operation Breakthrough when they entered the fall before. Last year, we also restructured mental health services to improve the efficient use of resources. Our new four-tiered ‘service pyramid’ is designed to provide universal prevention to encourage positive attachment to caregivers; identify children and classrooms needing additional interventions; engage children and parents in intensive mental health services when needed; and provide external referrals for children who exceed internal service capacity. The model is working well for children, staff and parents and assessment data shows that children are responding to interventions positively and in a quicker time-frame. We’ve also been extremely pleased that our new MakerSpace and STEM Lab has been received with such enthusiasm. Children are having a great time taking computers apart to see how they work, building robots that work, and learning to code. This year, we’ll be conducting new assessments to tell us how this kind of maker education is impacting students’ academic performance in STEM subjects and in their aspirations for the future. All in all, we’re pleased to see so many of our children eager to learn and their families thriving in spite of difficult situations.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Mary Esselman
Term Start Jan 2015
Compensation $125,001 - $150,000

As a 25-year veteran of urban education, Mary Esselman has a wealth of experience that comes from innovating in schools.  Before joining Operation Breakthrough, she was responsible for spearheading the implementation of a variety of innovative, student-centered systems in Detroit, where she and her team worked to disrupt traditional public schooling in order to provide a prototype for personalized, blended, 21st century teaching and learning. Mary was also instrumental in obtaining three Next Generation Learning Challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.   Earlier, as Assistant Superintendent of the Kansas City, Missouri School District, she was responsible for Professional Development, Assessment & Accountability.  Over the years, she has worked with a wide range of students—from pre-K up to age 20—and with educational organizations in Washington DC, Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit.   

Mary holds a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Kansas; a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri, Columbia; a doctorate degree in Philosophy, Leadership Transformation and Organizational Renewal from the University of Missouri, Columbia; and a doctorate in Education, Educational Research and Evaluation from the University of Louisville. She’s also done course work in Education at George Mason University, the University of the District of Columbia, and at UMKC. Over the course of her career, she’s received many accolades and awards, published extensively on education systems and policy, and been a keynote speaker at numerous regional and national industry conferences.

Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Ms. Susan Stanton Aug 2012 - Jan 2015
Senior Staff
Title Founder
Title CFO, COO
Title Director of Clinical Services
Title Director of Early Learning
Paid Full-Time Staff 119
Paid Part-Time Staff 22
Volunteers 500
Paid Contractors 1
Retention Rate 80%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 55
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 35
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 8
Other (Please Specify) Other includes those who did not specify or identified as mixed race
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 93
Male 7
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 Yes

Operation Breakthrough's history of serving large numbers of high-risk children has forced us to develop innovative, cost-effective strategies and enduring partnerships with other community service providers.  We've provided enhanced learning opportunities through Early Head Start/Head Start programs since 1998 in partnership with Mid-America Head Start and The Family Conservancy.   Children's Mercy Hospital provides nurse practitioners for our on-site pediatric clinic, as well as psychological consultations for children struggling in the classroom.  UMKC Dental School interns provide on-site dental care and KU Medical Center provides an on-site occupational therapist and graduate interns to treat children with delayed motor skill development. Through partnerships with KU's and UMKC's graduate programs in social work, 3-5 graduate students also complete their social work internships at OB each year, assisting families in the Food Pantry and providing support to Family Advocates. In 2014, we expanded our collaboration with Children's Mercy Hospital to assess and develop intervention strategies for children who suffer from toxic stress and to build parents' caregiving capacity .  We also work in partnership with several local emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, and health/mental health clinics to help ensure family stability during difficult times.

External Assessment and Accreditations
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - 5 Year Accreditation2015
Community LINCPillar of Hope2005
Women's LyceumFounders' Award2005
Non Profit Professionals of the yearKC Philnet2008
Women Who've Changed the Heart of the CityCity Union Mission2010
Karen G. Herman AwardWomen's Foundation of Greater Kansas City2015
Champions for ChildrenLawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP)2016
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
CEO Comments

The Senior Management team consists of the Chief Executive Officer; the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer; the Director of Early Learning and the Director of Clinical & Social Services. Key management goals are to:

  1. Provide a challenging, engaging, learning environment structured to ensure students are prepared educationally and socially to become healthy, happy, thriving citizens.
  2. Ensure there are great teachers in every classroom who know how to empower and support students.
  3. Provide a two-generational universal culture of support to promote family health and wellness through comprehensive wrap-around services.
  4. Ensure shared accountability across staff, students and families 

The organization is frequently inspected and assessed by a variety of entities throughout the year, including Head Start, NAEYC, state licensing, fire and health departments. There were no significant findings and actions were taken to immediately address two minor concerns.

Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Judy Heeter
Company Affiliation Pathfinder Consulting
Term Nov 2013 to Oct 2019
Email judy@jhpathfinder.com
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Mr. Jeff Chadiha
Company Affiliation NFL Media
Term Nov 2011 to Oct 2017
Email jeffriwade@aol.com
Board Members
Mr. Kevin Boyer Ernst & Young
Mr. Chace Brundige Waddell & Reed
Mr. Jeff Chadiha ESPN
Ms. Joan Cohen JKC Consulting, LLC
Ms. Tammy Ham BioNovus Innovations
Mr. Kevin Harris Jata Holdings LLC
Ms. Judith Heeter Pathfinder Consulting
Ms. Gayle Hickman Spring Nextel Corp
Ms. Diana Keating Hallmark Inc.
Mr. Jack Kilroy Posinelli
Ms. Betsy Loomer Commerce Bank
Mr. K.C. Mathews UMB
Ms. Katie McDonald KCP&L
Mr. Ramsey Mohsen Everhance, LLC
Ms. Donna O'Malley PhDChildren's Mercy Hospital
Ms. Karen Prange Great West Financial
Mr. Michael Roane JE Dunn Construction
Mr. Tray Vedock SKC Communications
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 81%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Advisory Board Members
Erin Brower
Don Gallagher
Jeff Ganaden
Elizabeth Healey Liza
Dan Krejci
Bryan Love
Quinton Lucas
Jody Luce
Matthew Montgomery
Kathy Murdock
Monica Murdock
Dallas Polen
Mary Steeb
Elizabeth Sterling
Mary Sweat
Catina Taylor
Stacy Van Der Tuuk Benson
Richard Ward
Hugh Wooden
CEO Comments

Since its founding over 4 decades ago, Operation Breakthrough has grown in complexity and in the number and range of services rendered. The agency is governed by a 16-20-member Board of Directors.  In addition to an Executive Committee, the Board’s standing committees include:  Executive, Finance, Audit, Personnel, Development, Strategic Planning, Membership and Governance.  The Board meets 10 times/year and holds an annual planning retreat every February.  The CEO and CFO attend all Board meetings, but are not voting members.  The organization has a Conflict of Interest Policy and strongly believes in transparency.

Fiscal Year Start Nov 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End Oct 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $8,568,551
Projected Expenses $8,568,551
Audit Documents
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 10/31/2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • 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 Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$4,085,663$3,275,243$2,041,679
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$70,210$8,008$3,648
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$1,394,428$1,134,315$775,801
Revenue In-Kind$11,444$40,500$44,585
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$6,451,552$6,085,287$5,594,035
Administration Expense$1,241,947$1,077,546$844,366
Fundraising Expense$591,145$459,587$416,909
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.031.041.19
Program Expense/Total Expenses78%80%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%6%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$17,103,462$16,802,491$16,351,740
Current Assets$6,917,726$6,469,456$5,825,105
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$665,190$636,949$501,261
Total Net Assets$16,438,272$16,165,542$15,850,479
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities10.4010.1611.62
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $200,000 --David W. Kemper Memorial Foundation $250,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountBurns McDonnell $160,000 --Individual Donor $200,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $147,605 -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Campaign Purpose Operation Breakthrough is in the early stages of capital campaign planning; if approved by the OB Board, the project would include the purchase and renovation of the building located directly across from the OB facility, on the NW corner of 31st and Troost (the old Jones Store). Facility expansion would allow us to expand programming for an additional 80 preschool children and 210 school-age children; add a Health & Wellness Center for community residents under the direction of Children's Mercy Hospital/OB Clinic personnel; add a gymnasium for children's indoor sports; store furniture and other donated goods for easy distribution to OB and other families; and share space with another nonprofit serving the urban core.   We expect the capital campaign to get underway in 4-5 months, when all aspects of due diligence have been completed.
Goal $12,000,000.00
Dates Sept 2017 to Sept 2019
Amount Raised to Date $2,000,000.00 as of Apr 2018
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Organization Comments

Audited financial statements for FY 2016 (ending 10/31/16) show revenues of $8,684,669 and expenses (including depreciation) of $8,493,069.  Higher than planned revenue allowed us to continue building operating reserves, which stand at $3,471,458.64 as of December 31, 2016.     

Organization Name Operation Breakthrough, Inc.
Address 3039 Troost
Kansas City, MO 641091540
Primary Phone (816) 756-3511
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Esselman
Board Chair Ms. Judy Heeter
Board Chair Company Affiliation Pathfinder Consulting
Year of Incorporation 1971
Former Names
St. Vincent's Family Service Center