Each year, Truman Heartland recognizes individuals whose generosity in charitable giving and volunteerism tremendously impacts the region we serve. We are privileged to recognize those whose philanthropy make our community a better place to live and serve.
The 2020 Heartland Humanitarians of the Year were
Brent Schondelmeyer and Lee Williams
As community builders and advocates, Brent Schondelmeyer and Lee Williams have made a reputation of giving of their time and talents. For more than 30 years, the couple has worked across sectors to drive community initiatives in Independence and across the region.
Brent is the Deputy Director of Local Investment Commission (LINC), a nonprofit focused on neighborhood revitalization. In this role, he oversees programs that help strengthen older and low-income neighborhoods throughout Eastern Jackson County. A journalist and published author, Brent is a well-known local historian and a vice president of the State Historical Society of Missouri.
Lee retired as Library Director at Graceland University and is an advocate for public health initiatives. Alongside Brent, she led local efforts for the 2006 Clean Indoor Air Act, to prohibit second-hand smoke in public places, one of the first in the region.
With a unique ability to network and connect, Brent and Lee contribute to the community by working behind the scenes with several nonprofits and on local initiatives.
Lee is a past President of Health Sciences Library Network of Kansas City. Brent is a current trustee and past President of the Board of Mid-Continent Public Library.
Together, Brent and Lee advocate for historic preservation and civic improvements. Both served on the Independence Heritage Commission and have been deeply involved in local campaigns related to funding for city services and streets and parks projects.
Brent is a leader at First Christian Church of Independence which is partnering with Drumm Farm Center for Children to develop a youth drop-in center. The center provides a safe, welcoming space where homeless students in the Independence and Fort Osage School District can get a meal, “shop” the church’s pantry for snacks and personal supplies and get connected to resources and support through Drumm’s Street Outreach Services program.