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Donor Stories

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.

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.

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 $3 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 $3 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."

Leading the Way to a Charitable Lifestyle

Don Chisholm was a talented lawyer at the firm of Stinson, Mag & Fizzell, now Stinson Leonard Street. His legacy to Kansas City reaches beyond his chosen profession, and his vision will be appreciated for generations to come.

A strong supporter of charitable giving and a mentee of the legendary Arthur Mag, Don introduced his clients to the benefits of contributing their estates to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to support their favorite charitable causes.

One of Don’s many claims to fame was drafting documents to establish the Jacob L. and Ella C. Loose Foundation, Kansas City’s first million-dollar charity. Don served on that foundation’s board for 41 years. When the idea for a community foundation was proposed, Don was there to help it along as a founding director, and in 1984 played a key role in establishing many of the funds added during that critical year.

During his lifetime, Don helped open new doors to charitable giving. Today, many attorneys, accountants and financial advisors follow his lead, and for several years, the Don Chisholm Memorial Fund recognized special professionals in their commitment to helping clients give back.

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