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Donor Stories

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.

During her lifetime, Beth considered 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.

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."

Lessons From A Love Story

Pete Levi's father, Kurt Levi, fled to America from Germany during Adolf Hitler's reign, leaving behind his sweetheart, Ruth, who would become his wife — and Pete's mother. Years later, sorting through his parents' belongings, Pete stumbled across dozens of beautifully composed letters, handwritten in German, from his father to his mother during the time they were apart.

Pete hired an expert to translate the letters. With each translation, Pete recognized that he had an historical treasure on his hands. Each letter offered a snapshot into daily life during a pivotal time in history, all wrapped up in a love story.

Pete established the Levi Family Foundation for the Study of Holocaust Archives Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Now others can experience history through the heartwarming correspondence between his parents all those years ago.

And to think that in 1995 the letters were sitting in a closet in Kurt's Plaza apartment in an old tattered box—the same box they had been in since 1938!

Making Kansas City Better for the Next Generation

Dick and Sue Bond want to leave a legacy to future generations. But they want that legacy to be more than just money. They want to give the gift of giving. To make their charitable dream a reality, the former president of the Kansas Senate and his wife turned to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

"We started by setting up the Dick and Sue Bond Family Foundation Fund in 1999," Dick said. "And then we set up a fund for our grandchildren. This will be more valuable to them than a direct inheritance." The Bonds' idea inspired the Community Foundation to expand its offerings to future generations of charitable givers. "Children and grandchildren can learn philanthropic values at any age," said Dick.

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