November 26, 2022

As we enter the holiday season, it’s easy to get swept away in the events and festivities of this time of year.

I think it’s a great time to stop, slow down, and reflect on the positive things happening in our community. Truman Heartland Community Foundation donors have made a substantial impact in the past year, making our Eastern Jackson Counties communities better places to live, work, and serve. And for this, we are so thankful.

We are thankful for our hundreds of donors committed to impacting our community through their charitable giving. On November 10, we held our 27th Annual Grants Luncheon with more than 200 attendees at the Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs. At the celebration, we distributed more than $491,937 in grants to local nonprofits provided by 34 charitable funds at the Foundation. We are thankful for the generosity of our luncheon sponsor, Insperity, who helped us celebrate this important community achievement. We also appreciate the work of all the local nonprofits who received Truman Heartland grants and who serve our communities every day.

Another moving aspect of our grants program is our “Fill the Gap” campaign. Each year we reach out to our donor advised fund holders and charitable partners with the opportunity to “Fill the Gap” and supplement the grant dollars available through endowed funds at the Foundation. We are so thankful to our donors and local partners, including the Junior Services League of Independence and our own Youth Advisory Council, who offered additional funding to several proposals. This year, our donor advised fundholders and charitable partners generously provided an additional $55,932 in grant funding. What an amazing testament to our community’s determination to create positive change.

End-of-the-year giving is critical to many nonprofits. And although campaigns like Giving Tuesday have bolstered online donations for many nonprofits, it is just the beginning. Giving in the last week of the year brings in more than twelve times the revenue as Giving Tuesday. It is estimated that around 30 percent of annual giving occurs in December, and a whopping ten percent occurs in the last three days of the year.

If you act quickly, your year-end charitable giving could save you thousands in taxes this year. In my last column, I encouraged everyone to think about their year-end tax planning and, for those who are charitably minded, plans for year-end contributions to favorite charities. Utilizing your donor advised fund to bunch your charitable contributions can be a great tax-wise way to give back and still continue to itemize charitable deductions. However, time is running out to take advantage of this charitable giving tool for this tax season!

Making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly from your IRA is another valuable tax-wise way to help your community. Remember, if you are 72 ½ or older and have required minimum distributions (RMD) from your IRA, you can make a QCD directly to your favorite charities. This will fulfill your RMD, and you will not have to report the distribution on your income taxes.

We are thankful to live in a community where people care about one another and freely lend their time and talents to their community. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s essential to pause, give thanks, and reflect on what is really important.

I am thankful for everyone who participates in the Truman Heartland mission each year. Your passion for giving allows us to do what we do—help everyday people positively impact their local communities. I hope your holiday season is filled with enough joy and laughter to take you into the New Year with a smile.

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 $4.8 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.