Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors Carol and Tom Barnett both grew up with parents who instilled in them the golden rule: treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Raised to never place judgment on others and always lend a helping hand, Carol and Tom were both taught to help others whenever possible, even when that meant they would have to go without.
With this sense of servitude engrained at such a young age, Carol has become a lifelong volunteer and philanthropist.
“My parents started out with very few resources and worked hard to make a comfortable life for me and my older brothers,” said Carol. “Woven into the fabric of our lives was this sense of paying it forward and as we got older and matured, we saw the importance of those lessons magnified.”
After witnessing firsthand the tender and compassionate care that Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care provided her father nearly 15 years ago, Carol completed the training to become a hospice volunteer to give back to the organization that served her family during such a difficult time.
KC Hospice serves 12 counties in the greater Kansas City metro area, with two hospice houses and several programs focusing on bringing expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance and hope to people who are affected by life-threatening illness.
KC Hospice utilizes more than 525 devoted volunteers to assist patients and their families receiving services. Carol spends several days a week as a dedicated KC Hospice respite volunteer, spending time with patients to give the primary caregiver a break, offering to run errands for the family, cooking and delivering meals, and even helping to care for pets.
“I see what I do as a privilege because I get to cross a threshold when families are most vulnerable, and they are trusting me to help care for their loved ones,” said Carol.
Carol and her brothers John and Tom Isenberg were named Nonprofit Connect’s 2018 Philanthropists of the Year for their outstanding commitment to the Kansas City Community.
“I feel very fortunate that I’m in a place in my life where I can support organizations close to my heart with both my time and my treasure,” said Carol. “I try to live my life by the values instilled in me at such a young age by our parents.”
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Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist