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About Our Foundation

President's Blog

News and Updates from President & CEO Phil Hanson

Updates from Truman Heartland's President & CEO

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Phil Hanson shares information on charitable giving trends and how the Truman Heartland Community Foundation is partnering with individuals and organizations across the region to benefit the Eastern Jackson County community.


These last two years have been extremely challenging for everyone. But as we approach the holiday season, it seems like things may be returning closer to normal. We all look forward to family and friends gathering once again to celebrate the holiday season.

The whole Covid experience has somehow warped time for me. It feels like just a few weeks ago my wife and I were hiking through Glacier National Park on one of the hottest days on record, and now it’s nearly Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe we are now in the fourth quarter of 2021, but the chill in the air and fading daylight are sure signs the year-end will be here before we know it. The year-end holiday season is always the big charitable giving season, and many nonprofits depend on strong support during this time.

We are excited to announce the 2021 competitive grants awards through the Jelley Family Foundation for Children’s Education and Community Grants programs. This year, a new unrestricted grantmaking fund from the Willa L. Fancher and Martha A. Taggart endowment added more than $80,000 to our grantmaking budgets, producing a new record in THCF’s grantmaking, with 62 grant awards totaling $336,582 awarded to agencies serving Eastern Jackson and Cass counties.

Recently, the annual report on charitable giving in the United States was released by Giving USA through the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy research. This annual report was first published in 1956 and is recognized in the philanthropy world as the best source for charitable giving information. The great news is that charitable giving was up 3.8% in 2020 and totaled $471.44 Billion. So, even during a pandemic and the shutdown of the economy resulting in the loss of 9.6 million jobs, our fellow citizens continued their tradition of generosity.

Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s 26th annual Toast to Our Towns Gala is just a few months away. This special event is a formal celebration of local philanthropy—an opportunity to recognize those individuals and businesses who go above and beyond to make our towns better places to live, work, and serve.

We are wrapping up another busy scholarship season. It's great to see our local graduating seniors have a more normal first year of college, with the progress we have made battling Covid-19. At this time last year, we were in a very different situation with everything going virtual and real uncertainty on how colleges and universities would address the challenges. The only thing that remained consistent over the last year is the high cost of higher education, averaging $20,000 per year. That is why having a variety of scholarships available to a wide range of students is so important.

Each year, THCF selects individuals and businesses who exemplify a spirit of philanthropy, are devoted to Eastern Jackson County and surrounding communities, and contribute to leadership with distinction and honor, to receive a special THCS award at our annual Toast to Our Towns Gala.

Philanthropy is not innate. We are not born with it, and children don’t wake up one day and choose to be charitable any more than they wake up and decide to eat their green-leafy vegetables without complaint. Philanthropy is learned by modeling the charitable behavior of the caring adults in their lives, learning why it’s important to give back.

Spring brings tax season, which is often met with much less enthusiasm than the warmer temperatures and budding tulips. But since the IRS announced that the federal income tax filing deadline for individuals has been extended from April 15 to May 17, 2021, the season does seem a little brighter.

How the world has changed in the past year.  I commonly hear people talking about time in terms of Pre-Pandemic time versus Post-Pandemic time. Covid-19 has certainly rocked the entire world; however, it has had the most dramatic impact on the lives of those most vulnerable in our community.

Many of us know from experience that you are more likely to bridge the gap between where you are and the hope you have for the future by making a plan for how to get there. That is exactly how Willa Fancher and Martha Taggart approached life and why their estate plan is set to have a transformational impact on the future of our community.

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