Welcome to the Kansas City Research Institute
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.
Promoting Racial Equity in the Medical Field
Like many cities, Kansas City's history includes dismal struggles with racial equity. At the turn of the century, African-American patients, doctors and nurses were restricted to providing and receiving medical treatment at Kansas City's General Hospital #2, a separate facility from General Hospital #1, which served only Caucasians.
Years later, General Hospital #2 merged with General Hospital #1 to become Truman Medical Center. Until that merger, General Hospital #2's School of Nursing operated for 46 years and graduated 715 students.
A group of nurses who attended the School of Nursing established the General Hospital #2 Perpetual Trust Fund in 1990 at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. They share a mutual passion for providing scholarships to African-American students in Greater Kansas City who are attending accredited nursing programs.
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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