Each year, your Community Foundation has the privilege of recognizing individuals and companies who have made a significant philanthropic impact in Eastern Jackson County.

I am thrilled to share with you the four main honorees for this year’s Toast to Our Towns Gala, presented by Speaks Family Legacy Chapels. On Saturday, Sept. 28, Tom and Carman Duvall will be recognized as our Heartland Humanitarians of the Year, GEHA as our Heartland Corporate Citizen of the Year, Drumm Farm Center for Children will receive our Heartland Service Award, and George N. Koepp will receive the Dr. Paul M. Thomson Professional Advisor of the Year Award.

These individuals exemplify what it means to be a community servant and philanthropist, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize their work in our community. We are also pleased to recognize Drumm Farm as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Tom and Carman Duvall are best known for the annual charitable music festival Tomstock. Held on the lawn of their home in Independence, Tomstock has raised more than $800,000 for cancer research and education. As influential business leaders and nonprofit volunteers, their passion for philanthropy has made a profound impact in Eastern Jackson County and beyond.

They’ve championed several youth-focused initiatives through their charitable giving and volunteerism, including more than 15 years of support for Drumm Farm Center for Children, where Carman is a past board chair and has served on the board since 2013. Tom is a former member of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation Board and is the president and CEO of TruckMovers. In 2018, TruckMovers received the Philanthropic Business of the Year Award from the Independence Council for Economic Development for its employee-led community grants program.

One of the largest employers in the Kansas City area, GEHA is a not-for-profit provider of medical and dental plans for federal employees, retirees and their dependents, GEHA believes social responsibility is key to its business and mission. In addition to employee volunteerism and a robust corporate giving program, the Annual GEHA Golf Tournament has raised more than $1.3 million for the benefit of charities throughout our region. During this year’s government shutdown, GEHA sponsored four emergency food distribution locations and held a food drive to help restock area food pantries.

Celebrating its centennial year in 2019, Drumm Farm Center for Children is a community within itself. Drumm provides a nurturing environment for some of our most vulnerable citizens. The organization has transformed since its start in 1919, but Drumm’s mission has never wavered. Serving both boys and girls in foster care, homeless young adults and those aging out of foster care, Drumm’s programs and services help children and families overcome emotional, physical, financial and educational challenges. Over the years, Drumm has worked with nearly 2,000 foster and homeless youth and established an inspiring legacy of service.

George N. Koepp takes pride in finding solutions and making an impact in the lives of others. He opened his office in Raytown in 2006 and became a limited partner with Edward Jones in 2014. As a financial adviser, George is known as a charitable giving activist, emphasizing the benefits of philanthropy to his clients and peers. His hallmark of service has made him an asset to many local organizations and his Raytown community. George served as president of the Rotary Club of Raytown in 2009 and 2010 and was a founding board member of the Raytown Main Street Association.

You can find more information about this year’s honorees at www.thcf.org/Gala. Stay tuned for our official announcement of the Citizens of the Year, chosen by our area mayors. And make plans today to join us on Sept. 28 for our Annual Toast to Our Towns Gala.

Phil Hanson is the president and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County.