During Thanksgiving and the holiday season we are reminded to pause and remember the many things we are thankful for and count our blessings.

Here at your Truman Heartland Community Foundation we are most thankful for our hundreds of generous donors who have established scholarship funds, donor advised funds, field of interest funds or funds designated for a specific charity. It’s our privilege to serve these individuals and partner with them as together we strive to improve area communities through their charitable giving.

We are also extremely thankful for our 133 members of our Heartland Legacy Society who have made provisions to support a charitable fund at the foundation through a gift from their estate. We recently had our Grants Luncheon that demonstrates the power of their commitment to support charitable giving through a planned gift. We welcomed nine new Heartland Legacy Society Members at this celebration attended by more than 190 people at which we distributed grants to 53 local organizations totaling $294,000.

A significant portion of this grant making was made possible by the gifts of eight individuals who left a gift to the foundation through an estate gift. The generosity of these donors continues to make a significant difference in the lives of people in our community and will in perpetuity through their endowed fund at the foundation.

These tremendous friends and patrons to our community who left a legacy are: Dorothy Bay, J.D. Browning, Beverly Cathcard, Dr. Carl Jelley, Margaret Hurt, Homer McWilliams, Marcella Morgan and Marjorie Pollard.

We are also thankful to once again have the Junior Service League partner with us in our grant program, providing grants totaling $12,000 to six organizations. It’s a wonderful partnership where JSL participates in our grant-making process and chooses which grant requests they would like to fund adding to the funds available for the great work of local nonprofits.

Our Youth Advisory Council was again a critical part of our grant making by advising the grants committee on grants requests for programs serving youth. And they also made their own grants from their endowed fund to five organizations totaling $2,600.

We are very proud of our 190 Youth Advisory Council members from 13 area high schools who truly help us make better decisions on grant requests. We are also very grateful to a number of our community foundation family of donors who made grants from their Donor Advised Fund as well as the Kansas City Metro Men’s Chorus to a number of these organizations to supplement what was available for grant making.

As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving weekend, we are also reminded of those in our community that are not as fortunate as we are. It’s one of our uniquely American traditions that results in this season being the most generous time of the year for charitable giving.

Please take note that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is “Giving Tuesday.” The nonprofit community is promoting this as the kickoff to the holiday giving season and a day to go online, not to shop but to give back to your community. Happy Thanksgiving from Truman Heartland Community Foundation.

Phil Hanson is president and CEO of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, based in Independence.