Big shoes to fill
Not surprisingly, Kansas City’s corporate community is a cut above the rest of the country when it comes to doing its share of charitable giving. Corporate donations by local companies make up 7% of total giving, compared with a national average of just 5%. And that’s something that Madeleine Orr, pictured here with her parents Liz and Nathan, is already learning from her dad, even before she is two years old! Nathan, who serves as chairman of Spencer Fane law firm’s charitable contributions committee, explains that "like many business entities with a long and rich tradition in the community, Spencer Fane has historically been very benevolent with its support of local nonprofit organizations.”
But that generosity is not without its challenges, and that’s where Spencer Fane turned to Greater Horizons for a solution. “The number of requests from deserving charities in our four core markets is always both humbling and overwhelming,” says Nate. Each year the decision of where to allocate our charitable dollars became more difficult as we attempted to balance philanthropic commitments of our attorneys with the needs of the communities we serve. Early in 2009, we made the decision to partner with Greater Horizons to ensure that we are making the best charitable giving decisions possible. We established the Spencer Fane Foundation, and Greater Horizons assisted us in identifying nonprofit recipients for our annual giving. We selected the theme of innovation and arts for our initial focus. This focus expands the significant commitment we made a few years ago to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Consistent with our core firm values, this focus enables us to balance our support of the arts community's mature organizations with support of incubator organizations. This is important, because it assists developing talent and provides an environment for growth that will have long term benefits for not only the arts community, but the city as well. By intentionally focusing on arts and innovation, we can channel charitable support into our local markets in a manner that will be both meaningful and strategic."
Authored by: President & CEO Laura McKnight