The time between Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to spend time with family and friends, relax and reflect. As we head into 2020 – a new year and the start of a new decade – your Community Foundation is looking back on our last 10 years and the impact our donors have made on charitable giving in Eastern Jackson County.

In 2010, Truman Heartland Community Foundation established the Heartland Legacy Society to recognize community members who by leaving a gift to their Community Foundation in their estate plans will continue to support meaningful causes in the community. Now with 152 members, the strength of our community’s charitable future will be guided and secured by these forward-thinking individuals.

This impact is best seen in our annual community grants program. In the last 10 years, the amount available to local nonprofits has almost doubled, from $162,968 awarded in 2009 to $306,954 awarded this year. The investment possible through our grants program has been bolstered by two legacy gifts in the last decade. In 2009, the JD Browning Endowment Fund was established to support nonprofits in Lee’s Summit and has since awarded $466,000 in 105 grants. In 2014, the first grants from the Jelley Family Foundation Endowment for Children’s Education were awarded. Since then, 55 grants have been awarded totaling more than $654,000. The grantmaking made possible by Mr. Browning and Dr. Jelley will continue to make an impact in our community year after year.

The first Dr. Paul M. Thomson Professional Advisor of the Year Award was presented in 2010. Created in honor of former THCF CEO and President Paul M. Thomson, the award recognizes the important role of financial advisors in our work to promote charitable giving in the region. In the last 10 years, partnerships with advisors and their charitable-minded clients have helped THCF grow from 556 funds and assets of $25.9 million in 2009 to 733 funds and assets of $51.6 million to date in 2019. Additionally, annual grants from fundholders have increased 44 percent since 2009, with more than $4.5 million in gifts to nonprofits so far in 2019, a new record.

As our assets have grown, so has our desire and capacity to be a catalyst for positive change. In 2010, the Jackson County Free Health Clinic established its own 501c3 and changed its name to the Shared Care Free Clinic of Jackson County. Launched in 2000 as a Truman Heartland community initiative, at its peak, the clinic was serving close to 700 patients and was a primary health care provider for more than 2,000 area residents.

This year, we finalized eight years of work by our Community for All Ages Coalition. Engaging more than 60 members from different sectors, the Coalition developed new resources and facilitated collaboration to work toward an inclusive, age-friendly community.

Together, with the generosity of many of you and your neighbors, the past decade has been an era of growth for charitable giving. Our community thrives when we come together; helping those most in need, addressing community needs and working toward a better future. So, as we collectively ring in the new year – your Community Foundation toasts your generosity and all that we have accomplished together in the last decade, and all that we will accomplish together in the decade ahead! Cheers!

– Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation 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 $51 million and annual grants surpassing $4 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816-836-8189.