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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.

The Generosity of Many Does the Most Good

ImpactKC. That's the name of a group of professionals who are dedicated to encouraging young people in Kansas City to join together and make a difference in the community.

The team is made up of individuals who pool their money to make an impact. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation is the behind-the-scenes support system for the ImpactKC Fund, established in 2004. This allows the group to focus on learning about the needs of our region and putting its dollars where they really count.

Each year ImpactKC reviews grant applications from nonprofit organizations and hosts meetings dedicated to expanding the membership's community knowledge and access to volunteer opportunities.

Setting aggressive annual goals to raise a significant amount of money for charitable causes enables ImpactKC to leverage the strength and power of a team, well beyond the sum of its individual parts, through fundraising, education and volunteering.

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.

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."

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