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Donor Stories

A CEO Who Left His Family's Company To Follow His Heart

Tom Bloch was CEO of H&R Block, the world’s largest tax-preparation firm, and the son of the company's founder. He was making $1 million a year, but something was missing. After much soul-searching, Tom resigned to become an inner-city math school teacher in Kansas City.

Then one night, Tom was surfing the Internet and became worried about the very low youth volunteer participation rate — a concern he shared with his wife, Mary. They transformed their worry into an effort to fuel student volunteerism. Together they founded the Youth Service Alliance of Greater Kansas City.

This is just one of the many charitable passions Tom and Mary have supported through the Thomas M. and Mary S. Bloch Philanthropic Fund, established in 1981 at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. They enjoy helping all of their favorite charities — including universities, the arts, and their synagogue — in an organized and easy-to-manage way.

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.

 

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 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.

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