This time of year reminds us to pause and remember all the reasons we have to be thankful. It's a time when people come together to give back to their communities and spread kindness.

The power of philanthropy is often underestimated, but it has the ability to significantly impact our Eastern Jackson County communities. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) has been at the forefront of philanthropy in the region for 41 years. So far this year, just over 300 Truman Heartland Community Foundation fundholders have contributed more than $2 million in funding to all kinds of nonprofit organizations. December is traditionally the biggest month for giving, so we expect to see a significant increase in donations over the next four weeks. From Raytown to Raymore, Englewood to Oak Grove, the thoughtful generosity of our friends and neighbors is heartening.

four young people playing instruments
2023-24 Competitive Grant Recipient - Music Arts Institute

Earlier in November, we hosted our 28th Annual Competitive Grants Luncheon, awarding $453,733 in competitive grants to 59 local nonprofit agencies. The funding for these grants mainly comes from endowed funds set up through donor estate gifts. Just over $30,000 in additional funding was provided through the generosity of current Truman Heartland fundholders, the THCF Youth Advisory Council endowment fund, and the Junior Service League. Competitive grants help nonprofit organizations serving suburban Eastern Jackson and Cass County communities by providing much-needed programs and project funding.

The volunteers who served on the THCF Grants Committee spent countless hours over the summer and fall reviewing all 126 grant proposals in detail. It would be impossible for the foundation to do this work without the dedicated support of these community volunteers. If you see any of these people out and about town, please thank them for all they do. Led by Allan Thompson as Chair, the 2023 THCF Grants Committee included Cathy Allie, Ted Bowman, Rev. Aaron Brown, Dr. Robert Cordell, Beth Franklin, Ryan Gibson, Nancy Griego, Lori Halsey, Liesl Hays, Damon Hodges, Mayor Mike Larson, Dave Mayta, Ritchie Momon, Joe Mullins, Steve Noll, Tom Rohr, Merideth Rose, Dr. Beth Rosemergey, DeeAnn Stock, Trish Totta, and Dr. Joy Vann-Hamilton.

During the Competitive Grants Luncheon event, there were several members present from THCF's Legacy Society, which is comprised of individuals who have generously included the Foundation in their estate plans. These new members were recognized for their deep commitment to philanthropy and their legacy of giving back to the community: Bob Glaser, Gerald Rooker, Brent Schondelmeyer & Lee Williams, John & Karen Schuler, and Lennie Wyre. The luncheon provided an opportunity for the foundation to acknowledge and thank these individuals for their generous support. Their contributions and foresight have helped to ensure that the Foundation will continue to make a positive impact on our communities for years to come.

2023 Legacy Society Members
2023 Legacy Society Members in attendance at the 2023 Grants Luncheon

As you soak up the warm glow of twinkling lights and holiday cheer over the coming weeks, take a moment to thank someone you know—someone who makes a habit of doing amazing things for their community. For decades, our foundation fundholders have been creating positive change by providing millions of dollars in funding through competitive community grants, educational scholarships, field-of-interest funds, and more. Their work has transformed the lives of countless individuals, families, and organizations throughout our Eastern Jackson County community and beyond. For all that they do, I am truly thankful. By working together, we can create a better world for all of us to live, work, and serve, not just during the holidays but for generations to come.