Kansas City area’s top philanthropists will be honored May 7

Twelve area residents will be honored May 7 at the 30th annual philanthropy awards luncheon by Nonprofit Connect, Kansas City’s networking and education organization for nonprofit organizations.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown’s Muehlebach Tower.

Honors go to:

• Benny Lee, owner of DuraComm Corp., philanthropist of the year, for his support of a broad array of arts, health, social service and education organizations.

• KSHB-TV/KMCI-TV, business philanthropist of the year, for coverage of nonprofit events and staff volunteering.

• Jane Chu, president of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, nonprofit professional of the year, for her fundraising and civic leadership.

• Jan Regan, volunteer of the year, for her activities, especially 31 years supporting the Ronald McDonald House’s Sunday dinner program.

Eight area residents will be named the 2014 “rising stars” of philanthropy:

• Jenny Erdman, board member for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

• Brandon Fancher, board president of Children’s Mercy Cancer Auxiliary.

• Courtney Goddard, supporter of the Kansas City Rep, the Kemper Museum and the Southwest Boulevard Family Health Clinic.

• Rebecca Hierholzer, supporter of MOCSA’s sexual assault program and COVERSA.

• Betsy Lynch, supporter of multiple nonprofits through volunteering and donations.

• Lauren McCarthy, volunteer for Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Cristo Rey High School, Young Variety and Avila University.

• Dawn Taylor, co-founder of Red Dirt, which shares proceeds with, and who volunteers with Operation Breakthrough and Change the Truth.

• Luke Wade, for encouraging volunteer engagement through Social Heart and