By Becky Hughes

On February 15th, the Eastland Giving Circle spent an evening together to kick off their 8th grant year with an emphasis on this year’s grant focus: Addiction. Marsha Page-White LCSW, Clinical Director of Substance Abuse Disorders at ReDiscover, educated the group on how addiction impacts those in Eastern Jackson County and some of the programs that are currently available. The Eastland Giving Circle grant requires the funds are provided for a specific project, which resulted in several questions from members on what services aren’t currently available to those in need of help. The Eastland Giving Circle members are clearly focused this year on providing support for this growing epidemic in our country and community, which has a personal connection for so many.

Each year the current members vote on the grant focus area for the next calendar year. The Eastland Giving Circle announced during their November grant reception that awarded $46,000 in two grants to impact Children’s Needs (prenatal-toddler) that the 2018 grant focus would be Addiction. Since it was started in 2010, the Eastland Giving Circle has awarded more than $215,000 to improve the local community through charitable giving.

Each member makes a small contribution so that collectively the group can give to a project that will make the biggest impact on Eastern Jackson County. In the process, each member learns about needs in the community and has the opportunity to vote on a project that she believes will make the biggest difference.

Several other events are already planned for 2018, including a shopping event on April 19th at 6:30 pm at Special Events in Blue Springs and a fashion show on May 3rd at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit.

Previous grant focus areas have included the following (including grant recipient):
• 2017 – Children’s Needs: Prenatal-Toddler (Mother’s Refuge and Rachel House)
• 2016 – Women’s Health (Community Service League)
• 2015 – Children’s Health & Nutrition (Pro Deo Youth Center)
• 2014 – Families in Need (Foster Adopt Connect, formerly Midwest Foster Care)
• 2013 – Mental Health Services for Children (ReDiscover)
• 2012 – Elderly Assistance (St. Mary’s Manor)
• 2011 – Children & Youth Services (Drumm Farm Center for Children)
• 2010 – Emergency Assistance (Hillcrest Transitional Housing)

“We are ordinary women making an extraordinary impact in our community,” says board member Shawnna Fleenor. “As we start the new year, we look forward to impacting the important work being done in our area by the nonprofit community.”

Other board members include: Chris Foresee, Lori Irwin, Megan Culbertson, Karen Meisenheimer, Laura Vernon, J.J. Coates, Becky Hughes, and Rochelle McBride.

For information on joining the Eastland Giving Circle, go to To join the EGC, go to Click on “Greater Giving” and then under Contributing on “Give to a Community Foundation Fund”. Choose “E” to look up alphabetically and by clicking on the link for the Eastland Giving Circle you’ll be able to make a credit card donation. If you would rather just mail in a check, you may do so by mailing a check for $302.50 to the Eastland Giving Circle, GKCCF, 1055 Broadway, Suite 105, Kansas City, MO 64105.