Breaking Ground on Bancroft

Groundbreaking at the Bancroft Project

This morning Make It Right joined Kansas City officials, community leaders and other supporters to break ground on the new Bancroft Project. Read the full press release below to learn about the community’s vision for the project and about the people, organizations and businesses that supported this outstanding new project. Make It Right would especially like to thank the generous product and materials donors — Benjamin Moore, Shaw, Eco by Cosentino, Leviton and Unico — that helped make this project possible.

Architectural rendering of the Bancroft Project

Make It Right staff at the groundbreaking

Manheim Park Community Breaks Ground on Affordable, Green Housing
and Community Complex

Kansas City, MO – November 3 – Today residents of Kansas City’s Manheim Park, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, Mayor Slyvester James, Make It Right and Bancroft Project development partners broke ground on an ambitious new project to provide healthy, affordable housing and community space. The Bancroft Project will include 50 affordable rental units and showcase innovative and sustainable design and redevelopment. 

Make It Right, an organization founded by Brad Pitt and dedicated to building healthy homes and buildings for communities in need, Missouri multi-family housing developer Dalmark and Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City committed to redevelop the site of the former Bancroft Elementary School. Built in 1904, the school functioned as a public elementary until 1999 and has remained vacant for the last 13 years.

Half the housing units will be built in the renovated school building; the other half will be new townhomes built around the school and designed by Kansas City-based BNIM Architects, American Institute of Architects’ 2011 Firm of the Year.

The Bancroft Project will also feature community amenities including an auditorium, gymnasium, locker rooms, technology lab, job training center, mobile medical clinic and community gardens. Make It Right Solar, in collaboration with Brightergy of Kansas City, will construct a 75kW solar array on the roof of the historic Bancroft School.

The Bancroft Project, which will cost $14.1 million, is possible only through the support of generous donors including the Dreiseszun Family Foundation and U.S. Bank. With their commitment to provide affordable, healthy homes in Manheim Park, the Dreiseszun Family Foundation honors the memory of Kansas City real estate developer and philanthropist Sherman Dreiseszun. U.S Bank made a $1.2 million Affordable Housing Assistance Program donation in support of the Bancroft Project. 

Make It Right’s corporate partners are supporting the Bancroft Project with generous product donations. Benjamin Moore will supply exterior and interior paint with their healthy, low-VOC Aura and zero VOC Natura paints. Shaw Floors is donating Cradle to Cradle certified carpet, wood and tile from their sustainable flooring lines. Eco by Cosentino is contributing Cradle to Cradle certified kitchen and bathroom countertops for the project. Leviton is donating electrical hardware to power the new homes. Unico is donating the high-velocity HVAC system. 

Construction on the project will begin next month and is expected to be complete by January 2014.


Brad Pitt, Founder, Make It Right:

“Make It Right believes that sustainable housing should be available and affordable for everyone. Today we are proud to join our Kansas City partners and local leaders as we break ground on this innovative project. We are honored to help fulfill the community’s vision of a vibrant Manheim Park.”

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II:

“This is a momentous day for the Green Impact Zone, the Manheim neighborhood and all of Kansas City. What began as an idea and a hope, today becomes a reality. Hundreds of hardworking people have put in thousands of tireless hours to get us to this point. It is with this kind of public/private cooperation that tremendous progress is made, greatness is achieved and long-lasting change is cemented into our very foundation for future generations to come.”

Mayor Slyvester James:

“I grew up not far from Bancroft School. I remember the power of a neighborhood where families grew up with one another. Where they claimed each child, regardless of who they belonged to, as one of their own. That happens in Manheim Park. That spirit is why crime is down dramatically in this neighborhood and why this project will be one of our national success stories. Congratulations to Congressman Cleaver, Historic Manheim Park, Make It Right and every single person involved in making this dream a reality. It is a great day in Kansas City.” 

Bob Berkebile, Principal, BNIM:

“The Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood has suffered the effects of decades of social and economic disinvestment and abandonment. Repurposing the Bancroft School is an important signal that long-awaited investment is returning to this urban stronghold.  We have the good fortune of working with courageous neighborhood leadership, Congressman Cleaver, Green Impact Zone leadership, Dalmark, Make It Right, MARC, the City and many others to transform this school into quality housing and critical community services that will build human capital and redefine adaptive re-use, community, housing and healthy neighborhoods. This inspiring group of urban pioneers have created a catalytic force that will revitalize this neighborhood, the Green Impact Zone and establish a template for vibrancy in our urban neighborhoods.” 

Jim Nichols, CEO, Dalmark:

“The Bancroft redevelopment process has been one of the more complicated and difficult adventures of my career; yet has been one of my most memorable and fulfilling personal experiences. By involving the community and merging their vision with our development, financing and design experience, we achieved a holistic and sustainable solution to jumpstart the community revitalization in the Manheim Park Neighborhood.”

Irene Dreiseszun, Trustee, Dreiseszun Family Foundation:

“The Dreiseszun Family Foundation’s mission to serve Kansas City communities in need continues with our involvement in the Bancroft Project. We are thrilled to be part of a project whose mission aligns with ours, to strengthen and enrich people’s lives through affordable housing and community services. Our hope is that the Bancroft Project will be a catalyst of positive change for the entire Historic Manheim Park neighborhood.” 

Anita Maltbia, Director, Green Impact Zone:

“The Bancroft project is an excellent example of what can happen when needs identified by a community are paired with resources that are willing to strategically invest in them.  The Green Impact Zone joins the Historic Manheim Park neighborhood in its appreciation of the many partners who have come forward to not only develop much needed housing but to also bolster the hope of many for the revitalization of the central core of Kansas City.”

Mark Stalsworth, President, Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City:

“Neighborhood Housing Services is excited to be a part of this project and thrilled that the neighborhood will achieve the result they have sought for so long; converting the negative influence of a vacant grade school into a vibrant centerpiece for revitalization.  This project will launch a new wave of revitalization in Manheim Park and this entire section of Kansas City East of Troost.”

Ernie Straub, President, Straub Construction:

“We are very excited to participate in the Bancroft Project. Providing affordable, safe housing with the benefits of today’s green energy technology is such a positive step for the revitalization of the Manheim neighborhood. We look forward to seeing this project be a prototype for future improvements in the area.”

CiCi Rojas, Vice President for Community Engagement, Truman Medical Center:

“Truman Medical Center is committed to the Bancroft Project. We recognize and value the importance of a community hub that brings both education and health services to underserved Kansas City communities. TMC’s community outreach efforts in health education and wellness will be paramount to this project and we believe it will encourage a more holistic approach to better physical and economic health in the area.”

Saundra A. Hayes, President, Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association:

“Being able to bring a project such as the re-purposing of the Bancroft Elementary School to Historic Manheim Park requires an insider’s perspective to lead to the discovery of what the community is about and what it needs. The Bancroft development team working together with the Historic Manheim Park community found the rhythm (the direction for developing a neighborhood community campus) that will not only help regenerate an urban core neighborhood but will also uplift humanity by improving the lives of the people that live here today and for generations to come.”

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  1. What an inspiring gift you have made for Kansas City. So many lives will be touched because of your generosity. Judy fisher

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