Educational Institutions

SPARK (Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge)

  • Kansas City, MO
  • http://SPARK.UMKC.edu

Mission Statement

The Mission of this organization shall be, "to provide lifelong learning opportunities through intellectually stimulating, cultural and social experiences which enhance the quality of life for SPARK members".

Main Programs

  1. Educational Opportunities

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Service Areas

Self-reported

Missouri

ruling year

2000

Principal Officer since 2009

Self-reported

Mr Jim Fisk

Keywords

Self-reported

Challenging Local Organization, Focusing on Senior Community, Providing Stimulating Classes, Opportunities to socialize, Keeping seniors active

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EIN

43-1859626

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

SPARK, Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge, provides educational and social activities for adults age 55 and over in the greater Kansas City area. High quality programs at reasonable costs (because faculty volunteers their time to teach) and a central location have contributed to the success of SPARK. Office and classroom space on the UMKC campus provide a collegial, stimulating, cultural environment for a growing population of senior citizens. The future holds potential for growth and expansion. The leadership of SPARK is committed to our mission of quality programs for persons 55 and older. We have recruited a cadre of high quality instructors for our classes which are held four times a year in six week sessions, with the exception of summer classes which are four weeks in length. Many of the organization's class schedules, event announcements and social activities are now handled electronically. We have developed a newsletter that is sent to members three times during the year. Looking ahead the primary goals include increasing membership in SPARK, increasing public awareness of the organization, continuing to enhance our use of social media and providing stimulating programs for members.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Educational Opportunities

The key role of SPARK is to provide lifelong learning non-credit, high quality,and modest cost classes to people 55 and older in the greater Kansas City area. Classes are scheduled four semesters a year. Each humanities and computers class meets for two hours once a week for four to six weeks. Humanities classes may include; History, Current events, Music, Literature, Art, Religion, Philosophy, Science, Theater, Law, and Health Computer classes currently focus on introduction to photography applications, as well as basic computer functions. Future plans include an introduction to social media applications. While most courses include texts or other printed information, there are no tests or exams in the SPARK classes

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

Missouri

Funding Needs

1. Social media advisement. 2. Avenues to promote the organization. 3. Long term stable financial support4. Volunteer instructors for the quarterly programs 5. Grant writing assistance

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

SPARK (Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge)

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone and website
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Mr Jim Fisk

BIO

Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, the oldest of three siblings in the days when neighbors actually knew each other and visited. I remember many evenings when one of our neighbors would come to our house and drink coffee and just talk. After high school I enrolled in Wichita State University. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, I received a commission in the US Navy and was sent to Guam. After two years I was reassigned to the Ninth Naval District Headquarters, Great Lakes, Illinois for one year. Discharged from the Navy, I accepted a position with Western Electric in Lee's Summit, Mo. as a designer of in-house test equipment. Having been in the Navy for three years and fearing my engineering skills were not current, I enrolled in an engineering program conducted by the University of Missouri campus in Columbia and earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. In 1987 I transferred to Greensboro, North Carolina and continued working in the testing arena on a classified government communications program. In 1998 an attractive buyout package was presented. I gladly accepted and moved with my wife, back to Kansas City in April 1999 after earning the Microsoft Certified System Engineer certification. I applied my new skill at a bank in Kansas City, Ks., Sprint, and a small telephone company in Peculiar, Mo. Being the SPARK coordinator is an exciting opportunity. The UMKC campus is a great environment and provides the opportunity to associate with others who have an interest in learning and sharing knowledge. Managing finances, handling registrations, and all additional correspondence as well as working with an energetic board of directors, is a very rewarding experience.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"SPARK was organized and began in the summer of 1993 and was located on the campus of Penn Valley Community College. Over the next four years Penn Valley continued to grow and eventually needed additional space. SPARK began looking for options for the organization. In the spring of 1997 UMKC became the unanimous choice. There were obvious benefits to both parties. UMKC would have a thriving Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) on campus and SPARK would have a collegiate environment and the intellectual and cultural resources of the university. Did you know that membership in SPARK means you: Keep ActiveMeet Interesting PeopleStay CurrentHave FunExpand Your HorizonsTake Exciting CoursesExplore New SkillsExchange IdeasMake Connections. Membership in an LLI provides affiliation with Elderhostel (EIN) the Nation's largest and most prestigious educational network for older adults. The Lifelong Learning Institute movement across North America and Canada has more than 350 LLIs just like SPARK. Each is committed to excellence in providing lifelong learning opportunities for older adults. The philosophy behind Elderhostel and the Lifelong Learning Institute program is to provide, at a modest cost, academic experiences for all participants. These experiences are available to everyone over 55 years of age with no regard to previous educational background. SPARK instructors are usually members who have a strong interest in a specific topic, or have had experience in a particular area. They are willing to volunteer their time and energies to sharing that information with our members. The courses are non-credit and offer the students a relaxed atmosphere with no exams or grades. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms Jane Harrell

Community Volunteer

Term: June 2014 - Dec 2015

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?