I hope you’re safely weathering our recent round of snowy weather. After the winter we are experiencing, we will certainly appreciate spring this year.

There is a hint of spring in the air at your Community Foundation as we gear up for our annual grants cycle. In 2018, our Competitive Grants program awarded more than $347,000 through 63 grants to nonprofits serving our community and a similar amount will be awarded in 2019.

We are kicking off the season with a Grant Application Workshop on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at 3 p.m. at Midwest Public Risk. Nonprofits interested in applying for grant funding this year are encouraged to attend. It’s kind of like spring training for the Royals, except instead of baseball, nonprofits are working on their grant writing skills, and the weather won’t be as nice as it is in Surprise, Arizona.

There are two separate grants programs available through THCF, the Community Grants program and the Jelley Family Foundation Endowment for Children’s Education. Applications for Jelley Family Foundation Grants are due by March 18. Applications for our Community Grants program are due by April 8. More information can be found on our website www.thcf.org. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity for local nonprofits.

Giving money away is truly hard work. Last year’s grant requests totaled more than $817,000. Our grants committee has the challenging job of reviewing applications and deciding how to best invest grant dollars for impact in our community. We are grateful for the time and energy of our Board and Advisory Board members who serve on the committee, including our Youth Advisory Council students. YAC students provide valuable insight, making site visits and reviewing grant applications from programs serving children and youth in our communities.

Of the endowed funds that support our grants program, eight are the result of charitable gifts made through a donor’s estate plans. For example, Dr. Carl Jelley left a very significant estate gift to the Community Foundation. His $1.6 million estate gift, with the instructions that it be used for “children’s education,” established the fund and the first grants were made in 2014. Since then, 39 grants have been awarded totaling $535,000, and the endowed fund has grown to $2.9 million. Jelley’s generosity will continue to make an impact in our community year after year. That’s the power of an endowed fund, and your Community Foundation is honored to be entrusted with his legacy gift.

If you are looking for warm thoughts during these dreary winter days, think about individuals like Jelley who support their community through their legacy gifts, and those using a donor advised fund or scholarship fund at THCF to make a difference in our communities. Truman Heartland Community Foundation is grateful to serve these generous individuals, as we strive to increase and enhance the impact of their charitable giving. And remember, spring training has started and soon enough the Royals will be back in town and spring will have sprung.

– Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $43 million and annual grants surpassing $4 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org of call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.