St. Mark Child Development Center

Kansas City, Misouri

Walk in to the new St. Mark Child Development Center and you’re immediately blown away. Colorful classrooms, a beautiful theater, a dedicated staff and a creative curriculum are ingredients of the center that meet the spiritual, social and survival needs of its central city neighborhood.

Every year St. Mark Child Development Center serves approximately 225 low income families through its early childhood education program, a before and after school program, and a summer camp. Nearly 100% of the children are African American, with many living in single-parent households in one of Kansas City’s poorest neighborhoods. Having access to high-quality, convenient child care empowers St. Mark’s parents to find and retain gainful employment. In addition, the Center serves as a neighborhood anchor, providing a safe, warm and attractive site for a variety of community services. 

St. Mark Church built the $4.5 million center with funds raised as well as a loan from Central Bank of Kansas City through its Urban Core Improvement Fund (UCIF). The fund uses deposits from foundations, individuals and companies to make loans to the community which includes social service agencies and businesses that are looking to improve our urban core. 

Another bank had turned down the church’s loan request as too risky. But Central Bank, long-time corporate citizen of the Historic Northeast, eagerly said yes. Rebuilding distressed areas in the urban core of Kansas City benefits many and has long been the mission of Central Bank of Kansas City who opened its doors in 1950. “Helping people that are doing great things makes sense for our community as well as the city. Sometimes you have to reach out to help worthwhile causes like St. Mark,” said Bill Dana, president and CEO of the bank.

“Central Bank literally came and guided us every step of the way and has been very supportive,” said the Rev. Sam Mann, Executive Director of St. Mark. “It’s a bank that’s very interested in the community where they live. They are a bank that’s truly committed to that area.” 

This morning the preschool children gathered together for Village Voice time in the colorful and creative theater. They are led in song and dance by their teachers and peers. Their smiles and actions show that this is a great place to begin your education. Central Bank of Kansas City is very proud of their involvement with St. Mark and will continue to help other worthy causes through their Urban Core Improvement Fund.