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Donor Stories

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.

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.

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.

Inspiring Gifts, Large and Small

Charmingly down to earth, Don and Adele Hall have long been known for their stellar reputation, which is synonymous with philanthropy. Arts organizations, hospitals, universities and countless nonprofits have benefited from their time and championship. In 1982, the couple established the Donald J. and Adele C. Hall Donor Advisory Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which is also the beneficiary of Don’s time and talent as a founder and Adele's service as board chair years later.

Don and his late wife, Adele, gave credit to their families for passing on philanthropic values. Together they created a giving philosophy: "One ounce of volunteer participation gives the management of a nonprofit the elbow grease and time to get the job done," Don said. "Even getting just a little involved in an organization that does good is exciting."

It’s impossible to quantify the total impact of the couple's philanthropy on Kansas City, including major commitments to the University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy Hospital. The Halls themselves never focused on the grand scale of what has been accomplished. They looked to the future. And so the list of projects blessed by Don and Adele continues to grow — one human investment at a time.

 

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