Welcome to the Kansas City Research Institute

Donor Stories

Fulfilling Dreams Through Charitable Giving

Our founders believed that philanthropy is the opportunity and responsibility of everyone, not just a few. Having begun in 1978 with just seven people and a couple hundred dollars, the Foundation has grown to more than $2 billion in assets, spread among more than 3,500 funds dedicated to the causes that are important to the individuals, families and businesses who established them.

Now in the top 1 percent of community foundations in the country, and with over $2 billion in grants distributed since inception, the Community Foundation works side by side with Kansas City's donors to fulfill community dreams through the power of giving.

"Thirty years of charitable giving is truly a milestone to celebrate," said Tom Bloch, past chair of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation's board of directors. "We are grateful to our donors for their deep commitment to improving our region's quality of life. It's what the Community Foundation is all about: more giving, smarter investments, a better Kansas City."

Promoting Racial Equity in the Medical Field

Like many cities, Kansas City's history includes dismal struggles with racial equity. At the turn of the century, African-American patients, doctors and nurses were restricted to providing and receiving medical treatment at Kansas City's General Hospital #2, a separate facility from General Hospital #1, which served only Caucasians.

Years later, General Hospital #2 merged with General Hospital #1 to become Truman Medical Center. Until that merger, General Hospital #2's School of Nursing operated for 46 years and graduated 715 students.

A group of nurses who attended the School of Nursing established the General Hospital #2 Perpetual Trust Fund in 1990 at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. They share a mutual passion for providing scholarships to African-American students in Greater Kansas City who are attending accredited nursing programs.

Doing More Than Just Wishing for Health and Happiness

The hopes and dreams behind every coin tossed into a fountain on the Country Club Plaza live on because the coins are donated to the Plaza Fountain Fund for Children's Mercy Hospital at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. It is a tradition that picked up momentum more than two decades ago.

"The Plaza had seven filling stations and Miller replaced them with fountains in 1985," said Jeannette Nichols, widow of Miller Nichols who founded the fund. "He didn't think too much about people putting coins into the fountains, but when they did he wanted to give the money to Children's Mercy Hospital. He always had a great affinity for it."

Miller Nichols hoped that these coins could provide seed money for an endowment for Children's Mercy Hospital, and he approached the Community Foundation confident that his wishes would be carried out beyond his lifetime. Indeed, the Plaza Fountain Fund will continue to memorialize the wishes of its founder.

Passing on Charitable Values to the Next Generation

Mike and Karen Herman taught their children at a young age about the importance of helping others. Their approach was to lead by example, much like Mike's mentor at Marion Labs, Ewing Kauffman. Mike and Karen began talking with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 1985 about establishing the Herman Family Foundation Fund.

"I remember one day my corporate salary was published in the paper," Mike said. "Our 12-year-old came home and said, 'Dad! Are we millionaires?!' She wasn't aware of any wealth because we give our money to the community. We want to create our heaven on earth."

Over the years, in addition to giving financially, the Hermans have given their time and talent. They have been driving forces behind numerous civic organizations including Karen's presidency at the Women's Foundation and Mike’s presidency at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The Herman children enjoy volunteering and approach each donation as an investment. "Our children embrace that some of their inheritance will go to charity," Karen said. "And we're proud to see them give to the causes they care about."

Giving Blog

Resolving to Be More...

Common New Year’s resolutions often involve getting in shape, spending more time with friends and family and making better financial decisions. Ultimately, most of us will likely give up o...

READ MORE

Lock in a 2016...

With the changing political landscape in Washington, D.C., many are expecting our current tax laws to change.   While we cannot predict the outcome of the potential tax reform, we belie...

READ MORE

Giving to Food-Related...

This week, a group of Community Foundation donors gathered at Room 39 on National Food Day to hear from Oran Hesterman, Ph.D., a national leader in sustainable agriculture and food systems a...

READ MORE