November 30, 2019

This is an important time of year for all nonprofits, with Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, marking the start of the charitable giving season.

This holiday season, as you consider the ways your year-end gifts to nonprofits can make a difference make time to talk with your family members about the traditions and values that are important to you.

At this year’s Grants Luncheon on November 15th, we continued our tradition of welcoming new members to our Heartland Legacy Society. The 150 members of our Heartland Legacy Society have many things in common – they have worked hard, saved wisely and through a planned gift to Truman Heartland from their estate, will continue to support causes they care about. Or in the case of Legacy Society member James D. Browning, supporting the community as a whole.

In 2009, Browning, a retired Bank of Lee’s Summit president and farmer, left an estate gift to Truman Heartland to create an endowed grantmaking fund to benefit nonprofits serving the Lee’s Summit community. This year, your Community Foundation awarded $43,432 in grants to 12 nonprofits on behalf of the Browning Fund, supporting programs ranging from education and human services to arts and community betterment. The Browning Fund has made cumulative grants totaling $466,000 over the past 11 years, all while the endowed fund has grown from the original gift amount of $875,000 to $945,000 today. That’s the power of an endowment. J. D. Browning’s legacy of giving will make a positive impact in the Lee’s Summit community into perpetuity and is projected to make cumulative grants of more than $3.7 million in the next 50 years.

For many, a planned legacy gift is a way to honor loved ones, establish a scholarship fund or by naming a child successor, make charitable giving a family tradition. Our community is blessed with many generous individuals and families, who like Browning, have a vision for the future of our community and want to ensure that the causes they care about continue to receive the funding they need year, after year, after year.

We had the great pleasure of awarding $306,954 to 48 nonprofits at this year’s Grants Luncheon. More than $191,000 was made available by legacy gifts and $62,700 thanks to current Foundation fundholders. Our grants are an investment. We are investing in the people and organizations who have a passion and vision for the community and are helping strengthen our cities and those in need.

So, as you gather together with family over the holidays, remember what the season is about, count your blessings and take time to talk about the ways your family’s traditions can help make a difference here in our community.

Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $50 million and annual grants surpassing $4.4 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.