LSJ Opinion

Upcoming grant-giving cycle provides warm thoughts to thaw winter’s chill

Representatives from the 57 nonprofits that received grant funding last year posed for a photo at the Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s 2017 Grant Recipients from the Luncheon in November.
Representatives from the 57 nonprofits that received grant funding last year posed for a photo at the Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s 2017 Grant Recipients from the Luncheon in November. Photo provided

During these dreary winter days, it’s great to have something positive and heartwarming to look forward to. Here at the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, we are looking forward to getting our annual competitive grants cycle rolling for 2018.

We met with more than 60 representatives from nonprofits in our community Feb. 26 at Midwest Public Risk’s auditorium for our annual grants workshop. There they learned about grant opportunities made possible by through the Foundation by generous individuals in our community.

We’ve made a few changes to our grants process this year. First, the grant application deadline for the Jelley Family Foundation Endowment for Children’s Education has been moved up to March 15, 2018, which is earlier in the year. This will allow us to announce our awardees earlier than previous years, with notifications set to go out in July.

Second, we have an exciting new grant opportunity made possible by a local family through their family foundation, the HMF Beaudoin Family Foundation. Its grant application deadline falls on the same day as our Community Grants applications on April 2, 2018.

The requirements and application process for all three of these grant programs can be completed on our website at

Last year, we awarded $262,000 in grants to 57 local nonprofit programs through our Jelley and Community Grants programs. The addition of our newest grants program, courtesy of the HMF Beaudoin Family Foundation, will allow us to grant up to an additional $75,000 this year.

Every year we see the requests grow, which makes the work our grants committee does a challenging but rewarding experience. Our grants committee reads each grant proposal and decides how best to invest these funds to maximize the impact in our community.

Giving money away truly is hard work and we are grateful for the time and energy of our board members as well as the members of our four advisory boards who serve on these committees.

This year, our Youth Advisory Council students will continue to provide support to the grants process by reviewing and completing site visits to nonprofits who have submitted grant requests.

Last year, students on the council visited and reviewed 26 grant proposals focused on youth services. We truly value their hard work and insight every year.

Our donors also play a key role in providing resources for our annual competitive grants program. Many choose to fund grantees through their personal donor-advised funds and others choose to continue that impact by leaving a charitable gift through their estate plans.

One example is J.D. Browning, a Lee’s Summit resident who left a $900,000 gift via his estate plan to be used for programs benefitting the Lee’s Summit area. The James D. Browning Endowment Fund established in 2009 already has made 85 grants totaling $375,000.

Through investments made by the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, that initial gift has grown to $1,045,000 and will award grants of approximately $50,000 again this year.

It’s a great demonstration of the power of an endowed fund and speaks to the legacy of J.D. Browning. His gift will continue to make a lasting impact in Lee’s Summit and we are honored that he entrusted his Community Foundation with assuring the most effective programs are funded with his legacy gift.

It is truly heartwarming during these dreary winter days to think about the many selfless individuals who have chosen to impact their community through charitable giving, whether through a donor-advised fund, scholarship fund, or a legacy gift. The Truman Heartland Community Foundation is honored to have been chosen to support and grow their charitable giving.

To reach columnist Phil Hanson, the president and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation, send email to or call 816-912-4181.