The Ellis Foundation
P.O. Box 54
Fort Scott KS 66701
Investing In Future Leaders
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (620) 223-2232
Fax 620- 223-2236
Mission Statement
Our mission is to provide access to higher education for high school seniors with limited resources. We do so by partnering with individuals, corporations, foundations, and institutions. Together, we provide mentoring and financial support to prepare capable students to become America's future leaders.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Chris D. Ellis
Board Chair Mr. Chris D. Ellis
Board Chair Company Affiliation President
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1990
Former Names
Danny and Willa Ellis Foundation
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Through The Ellis Foundation, your charitable dollars will earn college degrees for capable, deserving and determined students. You can donate through our website, directly by mail or through a stock or bank transfer.  Or, if you'd like to discuss memorial or corporate scholarships, give us a call. We'd love to share information about how we get results from our charitable investments in Education! 
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 Our mission is to provide access to higher education for high school seniors with limited resources. We do so by partnering with individuals, corporations, foundations, and institutions. Together, we provide mentoring and financial support to prepare capable students to become America's future leaders.
Background Statement
The Ellis Foundation is evidence of the power of possibilities...
High school sweethearts, Danny and Willa Ellis, grew up in Rich Hill, Missouri and eventually moved to Fort Scott, Kansas. With little more than optimism, energy and an entrepreneurial spirit, they became successful business partners, and built several companies, including a publicly-held corporation. 
After the death of their daughter, Kathy Lyn, the Ellis's began providing scholarships for high school seniors. Kathy was a teacher, and the family wanted to memorialize her love of life and learning.
Over the years, successful individuals, corporations, foundations and institutions began partnering with us to provide the "venture capital" for college-billed expenses. We track student progress, and hold students accountable. With the objective of degree completion, we developed a mentoring program that helps Ellis Scholars achieve a graduation rate that is TWICE the national average!
In 2002, Chris Ellis took over as CEO and Executive Director of the foundation. The son of Danny and Willa, he was a successful entrepreneur in his own right, but was drawn by the growing influence of the family's philanthropic efforts.  Since that time, The Ellis Foundation has become a 501(c)(3) Public Charity.  We work directly with high school counselors to identify capable and deserving students-- and can search for specific degree objectives based on our sponsors' interests.
Over the past 20 years, The Ellis Foundation and our partners have committed over $20,000,000 to education -- and helped our students become RESPONSIBLE, SELF-SUPPORTING, CONTRIBUTING members of our country and of their communities.
Impact Statement
The Ellis Foundation's goals are:
And it works! Ellis Scholars graduate at a rate TWICE the national average.
As we continue to build our mentoring program, we recognize the need for two-way communication with our students.  Over the past year, we have worked on technologies that allow us to efficiently manage this task. We have also increased peer-to-peer networking, particularly with virtual communication tools. To this end, we see how our students are benefitting, even after they graduate, from the Ellis "network."
This year, we have launched an effort to help our graduating Ellis Scholars with the transition from College to Career. We are developing programming that will address issues of student debt, personal finance, time management, job interviews, and philanthropy.  
We will continue to expand our support base as they are so many capable, deserving, and determined students who need just a little help to succeed and graduate from college. 
If you have a commitment to Education, a concern for America's productive workforce, and a heart for capable, deserving, and determined students, give us a call. We'd love to work with you, helping students with College Success and Degree Completion.
Needs Statement
We invite you to partner with us....   All gifts to The Ellis Foundation are tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity.
So how can you invest in future leaders with us? We have three capital accounts to which a donor may contribute:
  1. SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS: Ellis Partners are successful individuals, corporations, foundations and institutions that fund "venture capital" of up to $1,000 a semester for college-billed expenses. You can sponsor one student -- or create an endowment fund that provides scholarships for students from a particular high school, or with specific degree interests.
  2. ADMINISTRATION and MENTORING FUND: You can help us expand our proven mentoring system, and your donation will help us reach more students, add new initiatives and increase student/staff communication -- all with the goals of college success and degree completion.
  3. TECHNOLOGY FUND: Your charitable investment in technological innovations will help us more effectively and efficiently monitor student progress. We have developed a system of integrated technologies, centered around an interactive database, that will allow us to serve greater numbers of students while maintaining a small but dedicated staff. 

Remember that you, too, can change the future by including The Ellis Foundation in your will. There will always be capable, deserving students whose lives can be improved with a college education. You can invest in these lives by naming The Ellis Foundation as a beneficiary. If this is intriguing, call us. We'll be glad to talk with you. 
If you have other ideas, give us a call. Chris Ellis will be glad to meet with you by phone or in person. We look forward to working with you to invest in future leaders!
Service Categories
Scholarships & Student Financial Aid
Student Services
Educational Services
Areas of Service
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Is there any greater investment than in future leaders for our country?
College degree completion is a national concern. It's estimated that by 2020, over 65% of the jobs in this country will require post-secondary education...and The Ellis Foundation is addressing this need.
However, we've found that it's not enough to get students into college. We need to get them out the back door -- with a diploma in hand. 
Over the years, we've added partners who appreciate the "return" on their charitable investments -- and enjoy watching their "dividends" grow and mature into responsible, self-supporting, contributing lives. 
We are now positioning ourselves to expand to a national presence and are looking for partners who share our commitment to America's future leaders. We invite you to join us.
Chris Ellis, President
The Ellis Foundation invests in Future Leaders.
We work directly with high schools to identify high school seniors with the ability and determination to succeed in college but who might not have the opportunity without assistance.
Many of our applicants are first-generation college students, or come from single-parent homes, or rural communities. We interview all candidates personally, and successful applicants are offered up to $1,000 a semester for up to eight consecutive semesters for college-billed expenses.
We require our students to participate in a mentoring program that encourages them to complete their degree. We also track their progress directly from the college or university, and require students to provide written updates each semester.
Our program is aimed a degree completion-- and it works! Ellis Scholars graduate at a rate nearly twice the national average.
Category Education, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Adults
Short-Term Success
  1. Increasing the number of new students we serve by increasing the number of Ellis Sponsors.
  2. Implement a system of integrated technologies that will allow us to serve greater numbers of students with a small but efficient staff.
  3. Develop systems that increase communication and enable early intervention.
Long-Term Success
Working with our students, we provide a unique approach to scholarship programming that gives our students an advantage. Ellis Scholars currently graduate from college at a rate twice the national average, but with expanded programming, we hope to increase the percentage. As Degree Completion is a national concern, we are preparing for scalable growth to address this issue.
Program Success Monitored By As College Success and Degree Completion are our objectives, we  monitor our success by the percentage of our students graduating from college. We also assess the success of our programming by the number of new Ellis partners who join in supporting our work. 
Examples of Program Success
Where do we begin? These are exciting times for The Ellis Foundation. Just a few of this year's successes are: 
  • The percentage of Ellis Scholars graduating from college has now exceeded 80%. 
  • This year, we have also added new scholarship partners, including Westar Energy, Bank of Prairie Village, Ward Kraft, MGM Marketing, The Missouri Restaurant Association, Francis Family Foundation, Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, The Kansas Bureau of Oral Health, and Boulevard Brewery. 
  • We have increased the number of participating colleges by nearly 20 schools.
CEO Comments
At a time when college degree completion is a major stumbling block for America's future workforce, Ellis Scholars are graduating at a rate nearly TWICE the national average!
Because our unique programming addresses this national concern, we are positioning our foundation for scaleable growth. 
Over the past few years, we have expanded our mentoring program and added new initiatives, we have implemented a new communications system to improve interaction with our students, and are beginning to implement a system of integrated technologies that will allow us to serve greater numbers of students with a small, but efficient staff.
These changes will allow us to automate our administration so we can personalize our programming and continue to increase our graduation rates. 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Chris D. Ellis
Term Start Jan 2002
Chris Ellis is the son of Danny and Willa Ellis, founders of The Ellis Foundation. He has a strong personal commitment to the work of the foundation as a memorial to his sister, Kathy Lyn Ellis Adriance. 
Chris was an entrepreneur in his own right before joining The Ellis Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in 2002, in industries as diverse as Trucking and Technology. His achievements in the for-profit sector were recognized by Inc. Magazine in 1991, as one of his companies was named 271st of the 500 fastest growing privately owned companies in the U.S.
Before joining The Ellis Foundation, Chris founded a successful technology business and brings to his non-profit work a vision for integrated technologies that will revolutionize the way we manage our students -- with more direct and immediate interaction with students, as well as sophisticated tools to assess student progress.
Upon the retirement of Danny Ellis in January 2011, Chris became President of The Ellis Foundation. He now oversees the daily management of the foundation, and is the primary contact with Ellis Sponsors and Donors. Most importantly, Ellis Scholars have direct access to Chris and our staff. Our Ellis Scholars have repeatedly told us that their success is a direct result of the personal support and encouragement they have received from Chris and the foundation staff.
Senior Staff
Title Executive Assistant
Title Student Liason
Title Mission Advancement
Paid Full-Time Staff 7
Paid Part-Time Staff 1
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 0
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 7
Male 1
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
We do not currently participate in any formal collaborations.
Appreciation of Support / ScholarshipsCentral Missouri State University2004
Recognition of SupportNorthwest Missouri State University & Pittsburg State University2008
Resolution 5707Missouri House of Representatives2008
Resolution 6007Kansas House of Representatives2008
President's Society- University FellowNorthern Oklahoma Foundation, Inc.2008
Friend of Education AwardWest Central MASA2008
Keystone AwardFort Scott Chamber of Commerce2006
University Benefactor in the Presidents SocietyPittsburg State University2013
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments
Historically, the Ellis Family Endowment has covered all administrative expenses, enabling 100% of donor funds to be awarded as scholarships. The Ellis Family has contributed unrestricted capital funds of approximately $10,000,000, and as we look to the future and sustainability of our organization, we have established capital accounts for 'Administration and Mentoring', 'Scholarships', and 'Technology', presenting our donors the opportunity to direct their support to specific aspects of our program.
This coincides with a vote of confidence by our Ellis Partners, who have not only increased the number of students they sponsor, but who are expressing interest in contributing to these capital accounts, or in establishing endowment funds.
From this position of strength, we can begin to implement plans for the future of our organization. A strong endowment will allow The Ellis Foundation to perpetually help capable and deserving students -- and expand our programming to a national audience. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Chris Ellis
Company Affiliation President
Term Sept 2018 to Sept 2020
Board Members
Mr. Mike CillessenC & C Group, Inc.
Mr. Chris EllisThe Ellis Foundation
Mrs. Catherine EllisThe Ellis Foundation
Dr. Bobby Patton Ph.D.Retired UCM President
Mrs. Betty ScottRetired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 67%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 1
CEO Comments
The Ellis Family is actively involved, administratively and financially, in the success of the foundation. We are fortunate to have a strong seven-member board of directors with a strong affinity for our mission, and the experience to provide guidance and vision.
Our board is comprised of community and business leaders (including a former university president) who share invaluable insight and perspective. They work closely with us to expand our partnerships with colleges and universities.
Chris Ellis serves as President. His wife, Catherine, serves as Secretary/Treasurer. 
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2020
Endowment Value $1,797,000
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2018, 2017, 2016: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.  
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201820172016
Program Expense$1,415,875$1,386,690$1,327,344
Administration Expense$955,936$925,606$668,988
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.321.130.69
Program Expense/Total Expenses60%60%66%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$16,535,533$15,307,725$14,072,821
Current Assets$506,804$480,934$110,961
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$10,494$9,639$12,457
Total Net Assets$16,525,039$15,298,086$14,060,364
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities48.2949.898.91
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
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
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
Despite the economic crises of recent years, our loyal donors continue to increase their levels of giving. Without fail, each year we have seen a year-over-year increase. 
Other Documents
Organization Name The Ellis Foundation
Address P.O. Box 54
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Primary Phone (620) 223-2232
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Chris D. Ellis
Board Chair Mr. Chris D. Ellis
Board Chair Company Affiliation President
Year of Incorporation 1990
Former Names
Danny and Willa Ellis Foundation