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Double Play: Charitable move keeps Royals in Kansas City

Ewing Marion Kauffman loved baseball. He also was deeply committed to giving back. A carefully crafted estate plan reflected both of these passions. Ewing's gift of the Kansas City Royals baseball team created a regional benefit so compelling that it marked the first time in history that the Internal Revenue Service had approved a charitable deduction for the gift of a major league sports team. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, in turn, helped 32 other donors establish funds to ensure the team's stability prior to its sale.

Reflecting his passion to help others, Ewing established the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in the late 1960s to advance education and entrepreneurship. In addition, the Ewing M. Kauffman Fund for Greater Kansas City and the Royals Fund were established at the Community Foundation. The Royals Fund received its last contribution in relation to the Royals succession plan in 1997.

Among Ewing's many legacies was his inspiration to other donors to think creatively about giving assets other than cash and marketable securities to their favorite charitable organizations. Whether the charitable gift is real estate, closely-held stock, or a baseball team, visionary donors and "alternative assets" are a winning combination for the community.

A rich history of giving back to the region

Arthur E. Stilwell founded Kansas City Southern in 1887 with a bold vision to provide a direct north-south rail route to the Gulf of Mexico, moving grain, coal, lumber and other minerals across a growing nation.

Considered to be eccentric during a time when other railroads adopted an east-west route, Stilwell pushed forward with his dream of the north-south rail line, undaunted by those who labeled his aspirations unrealistic. Stilwell's strategy—and Kansas City Southern—was an unqualified success.

For more than a century, the leaders and hard-working railroaders at Kansas City Southern have embraced Stilwell's tenacious ingenuity, making Kansas City Southern what it is today. Deeply committed to the community, the company established the Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 1993 and later launched a matching gifts program to encourage employees to experience the joys of charitable giving.

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.

Our Community Comes Full Circle

In 1983, a grant from the Hall Family Foundation helped establish the Hispanic Development Fund to build an endowment for programs that foster expression of Hispanic culture and improve the quality of life for Hispanic families in Greater Kansas City.

One year later, the Hispanic Development Fund created a scholarship fund for students of Hispanic descent who are pursuing a college education. Since its inception, the fund has awarded more than 3,000 scholarships, totaling more than $3 million.

"The Hispanic Development Fund's Scholarship Fund continues to be one of the few local scholarship programs in the country that consistently award more than 80 scholarships each year," said Ramon Murguia, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Advisory Board Chair. "We are proud that our scholarship fund has contributed to the success of many, and we plan to continue investing in our community’s future by providing support for education."

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