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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."

Providing a Social Education

When Darcy Howe's children were 12 and 10, she and her husband, John Black, planted a seed of giving. Hoping to give the kids perspective on the world outside of their comfortable upbringing, they set up the Katie and Andrew Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 2000. "The idea was to put structure around our parenting on financial issues and the kids' social education," Darcy said.

Each year Katie and Andrew review the fund's returns and get involved by going on site visits to their favorite charities. Darcy says making a financial donation is only part of the fund's benefit. "It's not just about the money. The fund has had a ripple effect in getting the kids more involved in volunteer efforts. They're discovering which causes mean the most to them, like their support of Ronald McDonald House. This philanthropic self discovery is important for their future and the future of our community."

A Century of Serving Poor and Needy Children

In the early years of the 20th century, Jacob Loose and his brother, Joseph, built the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, marketed as Sunshine Biscuits, into one of the nation's largest producers of cookies and crackers.

Following the deaths of their two infant children, Jacob and his wife, Ella, became passionate about supporting poor and needy children and families in Kansas City.

When Jacob passed away in 1923, his estate established the Jacob Loose Million Dollar Charity Fund Association. It was Kansas City's first $1 million foundation, and it was housed at the First National Bank. Then, the Jacob L. and Ella C. Loose Foundation Fund was established in 1989 at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to carry out the work of the charitable trust.

From 1920 to 1940, this foundation provided thousands of children with pasteurized milk and ice. As children's needs evolve, the Loose Foundation, with assistance from the Community Foundation, adapts the foundation's grant making strategies to best meet the intent of the original donors.

Strengthening Our Community, Investing In Its Future

Philanthropy was a new adventure to Helen Nelson in 1980, but she was committed to giving back to her community. Helen established a donor-advised fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to organize her philanthropy — and she loved every minute of it.

For nearly two decades Helen appreciated the expertise and research the Community Foundation provided about issues affecting Kansas City. She also enjoyed receiving updates on the impact of her grants. Helen was passionate about supporting downtown revitalization, education, accessible arts and medical research.

At her death, Helen bestowed a living legacy for Kansas City's future generations. Her generosity will live on through the Helen H. Nelson Fund, dedicated to fulfilling Helen's charitable dreams for Kansas City’s future.

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