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Fashion with a cause: KC’s top philanthropists dress up in the fall’s best formalwear

From left to right: Chris Rosburg in a Houndstooth tuxedo; Jennifer Matney in a John Paul Ataker gown available at Natalie M. and The Gown Gallery; Nicole Jacobs-Silvey in a John Paul Ataker gown from The Gown Gallery; Greg Graves in a white-tie tuxedo from Pinstripes; Deanna Graves in a Teri Jon gown from The Gown Gallery; Darren Prenger in a Houndstooth tuxedo; Terry Ward in a Pinstripes tuxedo; Linda Ward in an Alex Evenings gown from Sincerely Susan; Cheryl Reinhardt in a John Paul Ataker gown from Natalie M.; Joe Jacobs III in a Pinstripes tuxedo and Carol Barnett in a Tahari gown from Sincerely Susan.
From left to right: Chris Rosburg in a Houndstooth tuxedo; Jennifer Matney in a John Paul Ataker gown available at Natalie M. and The Gown Gallery; Nicole Jacobs-Silvey in a John Paul Ataker gown from The Gown Gallery; Greg Graves in a white-tie tuxedo from Pinstripes; Deanna Graves in a Teri Jon gown from The Gown Gallery; Darren Prenger in a Houndstooth tuxedo; Terry Ward in a Pinstripes tuxedo; Linda Ward in an Alex Evenings gown from Sincerely Susan; Cheryl Reinhardt in a John Paul Ataker gown from Natalie M.; Joe Jacobs III in a Pinstripes tuxedo and Carol Barnett in a Tahari gown from Sincerely Susan.

Our second annual charity fashion spread features philanthropists and volunteers who were honored by Nonprofit Connect in recent years for making Kansas City a better place.

The photos were shot on location at LDV Ranch, a private retreat and nonprofit event space in Drexel, Missouri owned by Deanna and Greg Graves, the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year.

Ashley Backs and Liz Miller of Hello Lovely Salon in Liberty did the philanthropists’ hair and makeup. Gowns were provided by The Gown Gallery in the Crossroads Arts District, Sincerely Susan in Lenexa and Natalie M. in Overland Park. Men’s formalwear was provided by Houndstooth in the River Market and Pinstripes on Country Club Plaza.

Here’s why the philanthropists were nominated, according to Nonprofit Connect.

Deanna and Greg Graves, 2019 Philanthropists of the Year

The Graves helped jump-start The University of Kansas Health System’s capital campaign that raised more than $130 million with their largest-ever personal gift of $1 million. In his nomination, Bob Page, president and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System, stated that the Graves have “affected revolutionary change by setting fundraising records as event chairs for Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Salvation Army, and many more. While their personal commitment is deep, Deanna and Greg stand out in their ability to bring others along to the cause.”

Page added that the Graves have “been weaving themselves, their passion, their generosity, and their skill into the (local) philanthropic community since they moved here in 1980... They are among the city’s most visible philanthropic leaders.”

Joseph Jacobs III, 2019 Volunteer of the Year

Jacobs has dedicated decades of leadership to the boards of Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Boy Scouts Heart of America Council, and Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City. He has also personally mentored 400 metro students through Junior Achievement, and donated 30 years of service to North Kansas City Schools, in which he served as Vice President and President. The district has named an education center for middle- and high school students who have severe behavior issues after Jacobs. “It is clear that service is a lifelong passion for Joe,” Dixie Youngers, of North Kansas City Schools, wrote in her nomination. “He believes in giving of himself in order to improve the conditions for the children of our future.”

Darren Prenger, 2019 Emerging Philanthropist of the Year

Through philanthropy and board service, Prenger is a supporter of nonprofits including the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, FIRE Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Prenger’s true talent lies in his ability to creatively recruit others to support the causes he believes in. His passion for philanthropic and civic engagement is contagious.

When nominating him for the award, Jessica Best-Stewart and Brian Stewart wrote that “When Darren asks you to be involved, it’s because he believes the group he’s asking on behalf of is doing the right thing. Darren is a leader in every sense of the word.”

Chris Rosburg, 2019 Emerging Volunteer of the Year

Chris Rosburg’s advocacy for reducing the stigma of addiction is making an impact at organizations like First Call and Welcome House. He currently serves on the board of directors for First Call, where he chaired their signature fall fundraising event and was recently recognized as their volunteer of the year. For his outstanding service as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, Chris was named National Big Brother of the Year in 2015.

“Chris is the type of volunteer that jumps all the way in and looks for each and every opportunity to give back and make an impact. And he does it with real joy,” wrote Erica Ostroski of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City in her nomination.

Carol Barnett, 2018 Co-Philanthropist of the Year

Carol Barnett received the 2018 honor with her brothers Tom and John Isenberg. They have all donated their time, leadership skills and financial resources to multiple local organizations — Tom to Synergy Services, Inc., John to Jewish Federation and Carol to Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care, whose mission is to bring “expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or grief.”

Randy and Cheryl Reinhardt, 2018 Co-Emerging Philanthropists of the Year

Randy and Cheryl have supported and raised funds for Youthfront, Unconventional Business Network, Avenue of Life and Higher Impact. For 25 years, through their company Zephyr Products, the Reinhardts have worked with, advocated for, and supported incarcerated individuals through reentry programs such as Brothers in Blue Reentry and Reaching Out from Within.

They also make connections between the organizations they work with. They raise scholarship money each year to send children of inmates to Youthfront camps, and their leadership of the Something to Eat meal-packaging program at Youthfront provides nutrition for those in need in Kansas City.

Nicole Jacobs-Silvey, 2018 Emerging Volunteer of the Year

Nicole is driven to provide opportunities to those in Kansas City who may be underserved due to socioeconomic status, race or gender. In 2016, she recognized the need to eliminate disparities for African Americans in our community. Nicole co-founded the Sister’s Circle of Greater Kansas City and recruited over 100 friends to pool their charitable dollars to make change.

She has also helped organize the UMKC Women of Color Conference, and volunteered with R.U.B.I.E.S., a nonprofit serving the needs of teen girls in our urban core. Nicole currently helps lead the emerging leaders program for Central Exchange, and serves on the board for charter school University Academy. As a consummate connector, Nicole encourages everyone around her to pitch in and make an impact.

Linda and Terry Ward, 2017 Volunteers of the Year

Linda is a tireless leader and past chair for MetroCare and the Port Authority, co-founder of the Northland Giving Circle and active with the Harvest Ball Society. She served as president for the 10th Harvest Ball, which holds the record for highest attendance. She is also a member of The University of Kansas Health System’s Institute for Neurological Disorders Advisory Council and on the advisory board of the National Research Network of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Terry developed the idea for the Northland Human Services Center into reality, served as board president for Nonprofit Connect, and has been elected to seven terms on the North Kansas City School Board.

Together the couple are even mightier volunteers, recently opening their home to host a campaign event for Metro Lutheran Ministry. The Wards have a special interest in the welfare of children, and much of their service directly improves the lives of our community’s youngest members.

Jennifer Matney, 2016 Emerging Philanthropist of the Year

Jennifer is a philanthropic champion for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Since 2011, she has raised more than $50,000 for Bowl for Kids’ Sake benefiting the organization, and actively recruits volunteers. Jennifer also sits on the Board of Directors, and has served as Treasurer and Chair of Recruitment. Furthermore, she recognizes the importance of direct service and has been a Big Sister for three lucky girls. She is an active member of the Women’s Leadership Council at United Way of Greater Kansas City.

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