Annette Bloch, who has given multimillion-dollar gifts to support cancer research and treatment, was honored Friday as the 2015 philanthropist of the year at the annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon sponsored by Nonprofit Connect.
Bloch, together with her husband, Richard Bloch, established the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation and supported cancer programs at the University of Kansas Hospital and Truman Medical Center. Their philanthropic focus began after Richard Bloch, a co-founder of H&R Bloch, was diagnosed with cancer in 1978, and she maintained that generosity after his death.
About 1,000 people attended the 31st annual philanthropy recognition event at the Muehlebach Tower.
Country Club Bank and the Thompson family were recognized as the business philanthropist of the year for a history of charitable donations and volunteer commitments.
George Guastello received the nonprofit professional of the year award for his work as president and CEO of Union Station, building on a career at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Starlight Theatre and the American Royal Association.
The volunteer of the year award went to Peggy Borkon, who has a 26-year record of volunteering for St. Luke’s Hospital, Children’s TLC, and the American Heart and Stroke Association, among other activities.
Eight individuals earned Nonprofit Connect’s “Rising Stars” designation for their philanthropy and volunteer work. They are Matthew Clark, Tom Dowling, Sheri Gormley, Tom Houlehan, Dean Newton, Kelly Stewman, Steve Stewman and Courtney Wachal.
The event is Kansas City’s longest-running and largest philanthropy recognition.