Kalamazoo Promise

Since its start in 2006, The Kalamazoo Promise offers place-based scholarships for Kalamazoo, MI students that cover up to 100% of tuition and fees for eligible Michigan institutions, apprenticeships, trade programs, community colleges, universities, and more. They turned to local partner SPARK to create a custom portal to support their student outreach and to facilitate a smoother online scholarship application process.
Project Breakdown

Custom Software is Powering Michigan's Community Scholarship Program

The Challenge

To manage their program and outreach over the years, the Kalamazoo Promise team initially built a Microsoft Access database to process and manage scholarship applications. They also relied heavily on paper forms and Excel spreadsheets to manage students and their scholarship status.

But as their team and program grew, these manual processes were delaying application approvals and made it difficult to manage 1-on-1 outreach and communication with thousands of eligible students. Because of our strong local ties, Kalamazoo Promise selected SPARK to build and upgrade their custom portal application.

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  • Medium
  • Custom Software
  • 9 – 12 months
  • Ongoing Partnership
size of team
  • 1 Project Manage
  • 1 Developer
  • 1 Designer
  • Upgrade Microsoft Access system
  • Automate manual processes

The Solution

After an initial discovery phase, SPARK built a new custom database system with three main portals:

  • Staff Portal: Allows staff to communicate with students for targeted outreach and to track individual scholarship status. 
  • Student Portal: Automates the application process by allowing students to submit forms online and view updates for status and approval. 
  • School Portal: Allows partner schools to review and manage their student rosters and records of scholarship invoices. 

From the digitization of application forms to targeted outreach, SPARK continues to help Kalamazoo Promise build out custom solutions focused on the unique needs of its staff and new programs.

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Services provided
Technology used
Client Review
“SPARK has been a wonderful partner. We meet every week and talk through new ideas and feature enhancements. I’m able to say, this is a sticky point for us. What are your thoughts? How doable is that? What are the potential directions that we could go in?."
Amanda Bashore Headshot
Amanda Bashore
Capacity Enhancement Manager,
Kalamazoo Promise

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