Announcing the Dr. Cliff and Patty Mohn Early Education Initiative at CSL

Dr. Cliff and Patty Mohn have devoted their working lives to educate children. Patty has served as an elementary school teacher and principal, and served as Director of Parents as Teachers Program for the Blue Springs School District. Even in retirement, she volunteers at Success by Six Centers, making sure children and parents had the right tools to be successful in school.

Cliff has served as a high school teacher, coach, and administrator, and retired (the first time) as Deputy Superintendent with the Independence School District. After retiring, he enjoyed a lengthy tenure as professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Central Missouri. He established the “Collaborative Principal Preparation Program” which prepared educators for roles as educational leaders and assisted them in obtaining certification as administrators. The Cliff Mohn “educators’ tree” is broad, and so many administrators can trace their training back to Dr. Mohn. In recent years, the Mohns have dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to Community Services League. Cliff has served 11 years on the Board of Directors, including a term as Board Chair from 2015-16, which included CSL’s Centennial Anniversary. He led the organization through its first-ever strategic plan, which has caused unprecedented programmatic and financial growth. Among many accomplishments, CSL became part of the national Financial Opportunity Center, attained CARF accreditation, received its largest-ever, one-time gift, and largest-ever pledge, acquired and opened its 10th and 11th facilities, opened a credit union inside its headquarters, and changed its outcome focus to center accountabilities on increases in household income, net worth, and credit score.

For more than a decade, the Mohns have passionately supported CSL with their time, talent, and treasure. Patty has remained a stalwart volunteer for CSL’s Blue Springs office, helping at Christmas and Back to School events. The Mohns are members of CSL’s 1916 Monthly Giving Club, and have generously helped secure CSL’s future by making an estate gift as part of the Bess Wallace Truman Legacy Society.

As CSL has ventured into more efforts related to early childhood education, it has become imperative that the organization put all those activities into an organized initiative. Education is the way out of poverty for families, and kids must have early education opportunities to be prepared for school. From providing grants for parents to send their kids to community preschools, to neighborhood-based early learning, to teaching parents to educate their children, to making books and other literacy tools available, and to seeding education savings account for young learners, early education is a major part of CSL’s future. In honor of the tremendous commitments of Dr. Cliff and Patty Mohn, CSL is pleased to announce the formation of the Dr. Cliff and Patty Mohn Early Childhood Education Initiative at Community Services League. Undoubtedly, generations of future students will benefit by this initiative, and the Mohns’ legacy of preparing kids will be honored by this recognition, and our community will be forever stronger by having more resources to use education as the pathway out of poverty. The formation of this new initiative was announced on November 4, 2017, at CSL's Luminous Gala. At the event, Doug Cowan, President & CEO of CSL, stated, "This is the first time we’ve ever named a program or initiative in honor of a person. But, this opportunity does two things for us. It allows to honor the work and passion of the Mohns. It allows us to move forward aggressively with opportunities related to early education, and I’m pleased to tell you that thanks to two local funders, we have at least $55,000 in initial gifts to propel our work. Cliff and Patty will serve as chief advisors to the initiative, and this gives them a platform to advocate for CSL and this type of work. This work is so vital, and it’s vital to our future. CSL isn’t out to invent or re-invent early education, as our partner school districts do a wonderful job in this arena. But, we are going to be very, very intentional about connecting low-income families to early education opportunities and programming, and seeking to fund approaches through philanthropy."

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