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Donor Stories

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.

A Legacy of Listening and Building Together

"Do justice; love mercy; and walk humbly with your God," Beth Smith learned as a child. Both parents and grandparents (Lithuanian immigrants) were observant adherents to Judaism. "I wasn't born with a silver spoon but a community spoon in my mouth," Beth mused.

Ed Smith, one of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation's seven founders, and his wife, Beth, were for many years one of Kansas City's dynamic duos. Beth was influenced by the bright and charismatic Marjorie Powell Allen, also a founder of the Community Foundation. They worked together to establish the Central Exchange, an interracial and intergenerational venue where women "could pick up the check." And in 1979, Ed and Beth established the Edward A. and Beth K. Smith Philanthropic Fund.

Ed has since passed on but Beth continues to support the nonprofit sector. She considers her forte to be "drawing strength and wisdom from others; listening and building together." And that is the spirit of the Women's Employment Network Fund — also housed at the Community Foundation — one of the many legacies Beth has given to Kansas City.

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.

Scholarships for Urban Youth

The Kansas City Securities Association, an organization of more than 40 investment professionals in the Kansas City area, established the KCSA Education Endowment Fund in 1986 to provide financial support for tuition, special projects, needs or emergency assistance to students.

KCSA has awarded more than 200 college scholarships totaling an estimated $1.3 million to members of Kansas City's Marching Cobras, student athletes selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, student athletes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

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