The Legacy of Philanthropy

Helen French’s father was a down-to-earth man. Armed only with a sixth grade education, he became an exceptionally successful farmer. With his success, he believed, came a responsibility to help his community - a value he instilled in Helen. From a young age Helen volunteered – helping with her Church’s music and Sunday school programs.

After moving to Independence with her late husband Howard, Helen became dedicated to her new community. For more than 50 years, Helen has continuously given of herself to better Jackson County in ways both big and small. Taken together, her contributions of time, energy, and enthusiasm have added up to a lifetime humanitarian gift that has benefited countless individuals and organizations in the region, especially in the areas of health and human services, education and the arts.

Helen’s generosity spreads far beyond her volunteer work, she is dedicated to financially giving back to local organizations as well as around the world by utilizing her donor advised fund for both local and international grants. Helen loves that through a Community Foundation, people with somewhat limited means can make a bigger impact on the causes that are important to them – especially though legacy gift planning.

Emulating her father, Helen’s legacy plans will encourage philanthropy within her family. She has named her children as successor advisors to her legacy fund so they can make grants in her family’s honor long after she is gone. “It is so important to pass philanthropy on to the next generation,” she offered, “I want my children and grandchildren to be committed to this community. Through our family foundation, I ensure that my future generations will carry on our charitable legacy in this community.”

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