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Engaging Donors Effectively: Strategies for Nonprofits in a Changing Landscape

Engaging Donors Effectively: Strategies for Nonprofits in a Changing Landscape

Listen up, folks! If you’re in the nonprofit world, you know that engaging donors isn’t just about asking for money. It’s about building relationships, creating trust, and telling a story that resonates. And let me tell you, in this ever-changing landscape, your old playbook might not cut it anymore.

The Giving USA report, the philanthropic bible, has just dropped some truth bombs. Corporate and foundation giving? Up. Individual giving? Not so much. The donor base is diversifying, and the economy is doing the cha-cha. So, what’s a nonprofit to do?

First off, don’t panic. Change is not a disaster; it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to shake things up, to innovate, and to connect with your donors in ways you haven’t before.

Meet Donors Where They Are

Your donors aren’t just ATMs. They’re people, with passions, interests, and values that align with your mission. So, engage them on that level. Understand their motivations, their preferred communication channels, and their giving capacity. Personalize your approach. A one-size-fits-all strategy? That’s so last decade.

Tell Authentic Stories

People don’t give to organizations; they give to people and causes. So, tell your story. And not just any story, but an authentic one. Show the impact of their donations. Highlight the lives changed, the communities transformed. Make your donors the heroes of your story.

Adapt and Innovate

The world is changing, and so should your strategies. Explore digital fundraising. Leverage social media. Host virtual events. The pandemic has shown us that physical distance doesn’t have to mean disconnection.

Build Long-term Relationships

Donor engagement isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a long-term commitment. So, nurture those relationships. Show appreciation. Communicate regularly. And remember, it’s not always about the ask. Sometimes, it’s just about saying thank you.

In the end, engaging donors effectively is about more than just surviving; it’s about thriving. It’s about building a community of supporters who are as passionate about your cause as you are. And let me tell you, there’s no better foundation for success than that.

So, go ahead. Embrace the change. Innovate. Engage. And watch as your nonprofit reaches new heights. Because, my friends, the future of philanthropy is here. And it’s looking brighter than ever.

Topics Discussed: Philanthropic Trends, Nonprofit Strategy

Starlight Theatre Kansas City Intereview

Lindsey Rood-Clifford | Executive Director

KC Cares presents an in-depth interview with Starlight Theater, Kansas City’s oldest performing arts organization. Learn about Starlight’s evolution from an outdoor amphitheater to a year-round venue for Broadway shows and live music. Hear from Lindsay Rood-Clifford, the first female CEO in Starlight’s 75-year history, about her vision for making the theater more accessible and relevant. Discover how Starlight survived financial hardship through community support and innovation, and how it continues to engage the community through diverse programming and educational initiatives. This interview is a must-watch for anyone interested in the performing arts, nonprofit management, and community engagement.

visit them here: kcstarlight.com

 

What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What is the history of Starlight Theater in Kansas City?
  2. How does Starlight Theater contribute to the Kansas City community?
  3. What challenges has Starlight Theater faced and how did it overcome them?
  4. What is the vision of Lindsay Rood-Clifford, the first female CEO of Starlight Theater?
  5. What community engagement and educational programs does Starlight Theater offer?

Find us on

Facebook:@ Kccaresradio

Twitter: @kccaresradio

Instagram: @Kccaresonline

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Also available on

Itunes || Spotify || Stitcher || Soundcloud || Youtube 

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KC Cares, Kansas City’s nonprofit voice, tells the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and connects them with the community.  

Produced by Charitable Communications 

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In partnership with: 

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Take risks. Own success. Be Uncommon.

TW: @kauffmanfdn FB: @kauffmanfdn IG: @kauffmanfdn

Transcript:

00:00:15:43 – 00:00:37:30
Ruth Baum Bigus
Welcome to KC Cares. We’re Kansas City’s nonprofit voice. We’re telling the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and the people behind them. KC Cares is the intersection of the nonprofit and profit communities in making Kansas City a better place to live, work and play. This KC Cares segment is brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, www.kauffman.org.

00:00:37:35 – 00:01:04:01
Ruth Baum Bigus
I’m Ruth Baum Bigus. It’s one of Kansas City’s most iconic places and the largest and oldest performing arts organization in the Metro. This place has been a favorite for generations who have come to enjoy live entertainment under the stars and make wonderful memories. It’s Starlight Theater, where audiences have enjoyed everything from Broadway musicals to concerts featuring pop, classical, rock and roll alternative and much more.

00:01:04:06 – 00:01:30:48
Ruth Baum Bigus
Located in beautiful Swope Park, Starlight has expanded its offerings to year round now, and it has been doing that for quite some time. And for the first time in the venue’s more than 70 year history. Starlight has a woman at its helm. It’s Lindsay Rood-Clifford, who was named president and CEO in May. And while this year of this role, Lindsay is no stranger to starlight but will let her share that story as we welcome her to KC Cares.

00:01:30:50 – 00:01:32:24
Ruth Baum Bigus
Good morning.

00:01:32:29 – 00:01:35:03
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Good morning. Happy to be here with you.

00:01:35:07 – 00:01:45:47
Ruth Baum Bigus
It’s so great to have you. I don’t know that we’ve ever had Starlight on KC Cares, which is remiss on our part. So it’s about time. So it’s so great to have you.

00:01:45:52 – 00:01:49:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Well, it’s a year of firsts. So happy for this to be one of them.

00:01:49:19 – 00:01:58:37
Ruth Baum Bigus
Oh, great, great, great. All right. Well, so if there’s somebody who might have had their head in the sand. Share with us what starlight is.

00:01:58:42 – 00:02:28:48
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Well, starlight is an almost 75 year old 8000 seat outdoor amphitheater. The neat history of it is, is that when Starlight was built, it was actually built as Kansas City’s centennial birthday present to itself. So it is modeled actually after an amphitheater in Saint Louis called the Muni, which is 100 years old now. But when they built it, it was built to do live productions and musicals, which is what it did for most of its first 50 years.

00:02:28:48 – 00:02:56:06
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And in the last better part of 30 years, we’ve also added the live music component, which has really grown for us to where now half of what we do is Broadway musical theater, and half of what we do is some pretty incredible live music as well. So we welcome folks out in the summertime, or really busy then. But as you mentioned, in the winter, about ten years ago now, we also started leveraging our really large indoor stage house to use as a theater space as well.

00:02:56:07 – 00:03:08:19
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So now we do smaller 500 seats, approximately 500 hundred seat winter theatrical programing as well, in addition to events and other sort of set rentals and community space opportunities.

00:03:08:24 – 00:03:21:38
Ruth Baum Bigus
What I want to make sure our audience knows is Starlight is now a nonprofit. Can you share with us a little bit the journey of of the theater organizationally? I mean, it’s had quite its steps on the way.

00:03:21:43 – 00:03:44:25
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So Starlight actually has always been a nonprofit. It was it’s owned. The theater itself is owned by the city of Kansas City or city owned assets. But the Starlight Theater Association itself, the Fiber one C3, was established in 1951, so operated by a nonprofit for all of its history and certainly some ups and downs in that history as sort of the theater industry and music changed.

00:03:44:25 – 00:04:07:55
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And we’re a really big place for live theater. I often remind people that when you’re thinking about Broadway theaters in New York, we are four times as big as the largest Broadway theater. And we were actually twice as big as any other regional house that presents Broadway theaters that were. We’re really big, which is a great thing. I often say that’s sort of one of our competitive advantages.

00:04:07:55 – 00:04:39:37
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And also how we’re able to create access to the arts. But in the eighties, Starlight actually almost closed. We went through a real period of financial hardship. Those that have lived in the city for a long time remember that there were periods where what was happening on our stage was either happening through partnership with other arts organizations, but there were some real financial challenges and it was really due to some big names in the city, like Anita Forman and Jack Steadman and Shirley Helzberg and Bob Bernstein that we were able to kind of turn the business model around.

00:04:39:50 – 00:05:06:16
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And part of that was by expanding what we offered on our stage. So that’s really where live music came in, where we ended up in closing the stage house. It was an open air theater to start much like the Muni in St Louis. And so we enclosed that stage house so that we could present nationally touring Broadway. So that sort of innovation I think has been one of the biggest stories of Starlite history to say this is how we continue to stay relevant and welcome new people to a really important Kansas City tradition.

00:05:06:21 – 00:05:31:13
Ruth Baum Bigus
Well, I remember I’ve been fortunate enough to be on that stage and old stage, but I can remember the big back opening back stage, which if you’ve never had the opportunity to tour, I guess you wouldn’t you wouldn’t have been aware of that and how that changed with the theater. I believe it was millions of dollars put into that big stage house that’s now air conditioned for performers.

00:05:31:15 – 00:05:32:10
Ruth Baum Bigus
That’s great.

00:05:32:15 – 00:05:51:36
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
I was going to say, for most of our history, with a lot harder to work out here in the summer because we didn’t have enclosed rehearsals. You know, artists used to rehearse big musical theater numbers in an open air pavilion behind the open air stage. And then when it rained, too, it meant the show stopped. So it was a it was a huge advantage for us to have that enclosed.

00:05:51:41 – 00:06:01:00
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So now we get a little bit of rain while the audience might get a little wet for a short amount of time, the show can always go on, which is sort of forward to what it is to do to be in the theater business.

00:06:01:04 – 00:06:17:28
Ruth Baum Bigus
Absolutely. You had alluded a couple of minutes ago about how the 1980s were this time of financial struggle. What was it that some of these leaders brought to the table that turned it around, if it was pretty serious, whether it was starlight was going to make it?

00:06:17:33 – 00:06:41:52
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
It was. And I think a lot of what they brought was a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation and saying even though the the Starlight tradition had been one thing for much of its history, that there was an openness to changing how we operated and not saying, hey, just because we’re a nonprofit, that we can’t think like a business and we can’t figure out how to how to add new revenue streams and expand programing.

00:06:41:52 – 00:07:03:55
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And I think it was really that that spirit of business leaders that cared a lot about what starlight meant to this city, that created some opportunities and some new ideas and some new models that really led to things like closing the stage house to go, Hey, is open air theater going to be what works? At one time, there were as many as 40 outdoor theaters that were presenting Broadway series, and now there’s just two in the whole country.

00:07:03:55 – 00:07:12:04
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So Starlight wasn’t alone in that financial hardship. But we are now closer to a loan and are successful sort of continuing.

00:07:12:09 – 00:07:26:08
Ruth Baum Bigus
You mentioned that there’s the Muni in Saint Louis, that that is the other producing outdoor big partner. Is there collaboration between Starlight and Muni in what’s presented? Do you do any sharing of productions?

00:07:26:13 – 00:07:43:46
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So there certainly has been over the years and actually through the pandemic, as we all came out of that period, there was a lot more collaboration as we were all trying to get back on our feet. And so we did do a co-production with the Muni in 2021. They did On your feet there and then on your feet came here.

00:07:43:51 – 00:07:56:46
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So I think there’s a lot more openness to that, just as everyone in the theater industry is still kind of in a recovery period of going, how do we all make sure that we’re putting the shows on the stage that are going to get as many people into the seats as possible.

00:07:56:51 – 00:07:58:55
Ruth Baum Bigus
As they say, butts in seats, right?

00:07:59:00 – 00:08:02:28
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Button seats. That’s the name of the game.

00:08:02:33 – 00:08:09:36
Ruth Baum Bigus
I alluded in the introduction, you’ve been connected with Starlight for quite a while. Share with us your journey with that starlight.

00:08:09:41 – 00:08:30:07
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Well, I feel like my whole life has had a little bit of starlight in it. I often refer to myself as a recovering theater kid because I grew up doing theater and music, but I also grew up coming to Starlight and many of my childhood memories are with my family coming out here to shows. My first show coming out here was in 1989 to a production of Annie.

00:08:30:12 – 00:08:49:57
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
As you might imagine, if you’re a little red headed kid, you do a lot of productions of any kind of music. So I vividly remember coming out for that. And then as I got older, when we started to establish and expand what our community engagement programs were, one of those programs, which is a high school musical theater recognition program.

00:08:50:02 – 00:09:22:39
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
I was actually in high school at the time that that program was founded. So our Blue Star Awards, which now sees almost 54. There are 54 high schools that participated in that program this year. The very first year, when it was a much smaller program, my school was one of the early participants in the Blue Star Awards. And then I also like to share that we have a very robust third longest running education program is actually a paid arts administration internship program where you get to work 40 hours a week out here and all the various positions that make a theater run.

00:09:22:51 – 00:09:45:06
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
That started in the eighties, but I started here as a paid summer intern. I was working in event management my very first summer before being hired on full time. So not quite 20 years later. It’s it’s been quite the journey and a little bit of a pinch me. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a dream to now be in this role and to be able to restore the Starlight legacy forward.

00:09:45:10 – 00:09:58:37
Ruth Baum Bigus
And it’s so interesting that Starlight finally has a woman at the helm. Now, you would have thought theater was that progressive entity, and you’re the first. How does it feel? What’s it like?

00:09:58:42 – 00:10:21:36
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
You know, I. I will say that there is there is certainly a little bit of pressure and honor to being the first of anything. I also think in the theater industry across the country, there’s a lot of firsts right now. So there’s just a lot of change happening with the sort of traditional leadership of a theater’s were and what they are now.

00:10:21:36 – 00:10:56:08
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And I think part of that is when you think about who the primary demographic for a theater audience is at Starlight, it’s it’s middle aged women. So having someone, I think at the helm that understands sort of that core audience, but also for me is very interested in how we extend the Starlight traditions and new audiences. It’s been it’s been an honor and I feel very lucky that I had a board of directors and frankly, a staff that has been nothing but supportive and confident to where I would say being a woman is clearly not the most important qualifier for the job.

00:10:56:13 – 00:11:05:46
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But I certainly think about what it means for future women to think about what it is to be in leadership. So I carry that responsibility pretty seriously.

00:11:05:51 – 00:11:19:25
Ruth Baum Bigus
Your predecessor had been there nine years. I think in that position, and the person before that had been an even longer tenured individual, if I’m remembering correct, I know Barbara was there for a long time.

00:11:19:30 – 00:11:27:40
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Barbara was there was though Bob was the CEO when I started, and he’d been there for almost 30 years. Right. And we actually had a CEO between him and my.

00:11:27:45 – 00:11:29:03
Ruth Baum Bigus
Okay.

00:11:29:07 – 00:11:52:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But that but Bob was here and he’s actually who I remember as being a lot of the inspiration for how I look to to run the theater today. And he also was with the theater through that period of hardship in the eighties and really was a turnaround leader who really believed and could tell the story of Starlight in a way that resonated and brought the community together.

00:11:52:19 – 00:12:16:34
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And that’s what I think for me is the biggest priority is to say, you know, when you say someone who hasn’t been on this program before from Starlight, I think that’s one of the things I want to make sure we’re doing at Starlight is that we’re a really active part of this community so that we’re not just waiting for people to come to us, but we’re out there inviting people and telling them why it’s so important for them to come out to experience theater and music here.

00:12:16:39 – 00:12:38:32
Ruth Baum Bigus
Transition. It was a time of leadership transition. I guess my point I was driving is you had somebody driving the bus, so to speak, for nine years at least, you had been on board. Can you share with us a little bit what that transition was like and maybe some tips for other organizations that go through a leadership change?

00:12:38:33 – 00:12:41:19
Ruth Baum Bigus
It’s not always so smooth and easy.

00:12:41:24 – 00:13:01:55
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
It’s not. And I feel fortunate that I knew a year and a half, almost before our official transition, our board had met to decide that this was kind of the path we were on. So we had a good amount of time and I was fortunate that my predecessor was supportive in both understanding that we were not the same people.

00:13:01:55 – 00:13:15:27
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So that didn’t mean that I was going to do things the same way that he did things. But and he would often say not how I would do it, but he would disagree and say, but it’s going to be it’s going to be your call and your organization. And I support whatever you decide. I’m just here to counsel you.

00:13:15:27 – 00:13:34:51
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So I think for leadership transition, that’s maybe the most important part, is that you have a supportive person off ramping who can respect that, that the new person is not going to be a clone of them. And so I think that’s part of what made things very effective for us. And he actually so he came from Saint Louis before.

00:13:34:51 – 00:13:59:47
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So he ran Fox Theater in Saint Louis for almost 15 years and was there almost 30 years. So he brought a lot of expertise in presenting Broadway and touring Broadway. And so he’s actually stayed on as a consultant for us in that space as we need him over the next couple of years. So that’s also been really helpful to know you got a phone call away if you’ve got questions or want to understand the history before.

00:13:59:47 – 00:14:02:28
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So you’re making a really informed decision.

00:14:02:33 – 00:14:28:37
Ruth Baum Bigus
That’s great that it’s been a positive rather than in some organizations someone is leaving not maybe of their own volition or just is uncomfortable. It’s great that you’ve got that kind of organizational support to move things forward. We’re talking with Lindsay Rood Clifford. She is the president CEO, Starlight Theater, continuing on with our conversation. I think people would like to know a peek behind the curtain.

00:14:28:37 – 00:14:41:28
Ruth Baum Bigus
How does Starlight decide what’s going to be on that stage? Sure, the people that helped make that decision And what do you look at when you’re choosing your 12 month season?

00:14:41:33 – 00:15:03:56
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So that’s a great question because it’s changing right now. So I would say historically, really what has gone on the stage has been chosen by the person in my seat. And so especially where Broadway is concerned, we also, as we’ve added live music, we have a someone that oversees the concert programing. So he really works with our concert promoter partner on the concert side of things.

00:15:04:01 – 00:15:24:54
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But as we look ahead, I’m a much more collaborative leader. So I we’ve started sort of been talking about how do we change up how we make those decisions so that we’re really thinking about it. And the term that I use over and over that my team could probably repeat is I’m really interested in how we broadly accessible content on this stage.

00:15:24:59 – 00:15:44:12
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So that still means diverse, but it means we’ve got a lot of seats. So how are we doing our part in the sort of arts ecosystem to say, what is the kind of content that is going to reach the most people? Knowing that I believe there is a place for all theater, but not all theater is for everybody.

00:15:44:17 – 00:16:04:39
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But when you have almost 8000 seats, I think our our place in the world is as they happen, we get as many people out here. So we now are talking about it. I’ve got both our folks that oversee Broadway and our folks that oversee concerts and our community engagement. Vice president and that I’d say as a change to say, how are we also thinking about all content through that lens as well?

00:16:04:51 – 00:16:28:21
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Where can we engage partners? How can we have impact on student population? How can we have value added educational programing? And so those are a big piece of how we’re going to be making the decisions moving forward. Ultimately, my call, but I think a much bigger team effort now to hopefully make the right decisions in a in a very different landscape for theater and music than it was a few years ago.

00:16:28:26 – 00:16:46:00
Ruth Baum Bigus
The Starlight look to the community in any way for input. I know years ago when we used to go see a show, it almost immediately after or at the theater when it was only on paper, you know, there’d be a survey. What do you want to see? What did you like, what didn’t you like, etc..

00:16:46:05 – 00:17:05:49
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So we still have a very strong survey culture here. So we are often after almost every single show, surveys still go out. So we’re always asking the people that are here what their experience is, how we can improve it. And those that have been coming a long time are also well conditioned to send direct emails to our to know what they see.

00:17:05:50 – 00:17:36:38
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And I often say the difference in that is those emails and that input comes with so much care for this organization, even when it is critical. It comes from a place of deep care and investment. So I would take that any day of the week over. Nothing more silence. I think one of the things that we’re trying to figure out now is how are we again out in community to ask those that maybe haven’t been here yet what they want to see and what would get them to come through these gates and feel like they belong?

00:17:36:43 – 00:17:49:30
Ruth Baum Bigus
I would be remiss if I didn’t let you do a deep dive into, you know, your community engagement, your education, your your youth initiatives. When you share with us a little bit all the robust things you’re doing.

00:17:49:35 – 00:18:08:03
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
I would be so happy to, because I think it is one of the most important things we do that really sets us apart from a lot of places that you see theater music as. It is certainly about the amazing things that happen on our stage. But these programs are what give Starlight its heart. They are really centered around a couple of things, which is access to the arts.

00:18:08:08 – 00:18:32:35
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So programs like our Community Ticket program, we give away 364 tickets to every single Broadway show we do. So that could be upwards of 12 to 15000 tickets each summer that go out to this year, over 150 nonprofit partners. And so that’s a huge access initiative for us that does exactly what I was saying is one of our priorities, which gets people that otherwise wouldn’t come out here, out here to experience theater.

00:18:32:40 – 00:18:53:06
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And in the future, we’re looking to expand on that so that everything we do has sort of that free component for access. We also have some great education programs, and I always caveat that our education is not necessarily just about training artists, although we certainly have programs that are training singers and dancers, but really that are focused on on the business of theater and music.

00:18:53:06 – 00:19:22:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So that’s where that internship program comes into play. We have a wonderful scholarship program that was founded and dedicated to funding performing arts training for Bipoc Middle School students. So a very specific demographic. The founders felt like middle school is one of the toughest time in your life. So that is the perfect time. If someone has an interest in the arts to give them that vote of confidence and the resources to pursue that.

00:19:22:19 – 00:19:43:23
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So those are all around access and then sort of workforce development, which I think is a little bit of a differentiator as we look to the future. We’re looking to expand those programs to really looking at access from an audience development standpoint, how do we reach more young people to get them into theater and music? We have amazing theaters like The Coterie in the City where you can sit cross-legged for the first time.

00:19:43:23 – 00:20:02:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But how can we help make their next step up to what theater is? Because this environment is very accessible for a lot of people, because you’re not in that black box theater environment, you’re outside. It’s a little more casual. So it’s really a great first experience for young people and young families to come out for theater and music.

00:20:02:18 – 00:20:26:15
Ruth Baum Bigus
Well, kudos to you all for doing that. I mean, of course I’m biased because I’m a theater goer, a theater performer, theater supporter and interested in it. But I think it becomes for a lot of people, kind of a level playing field when you have that experience of art that you may have seen a bazillion times or maybe it’s your first time and to be out under the stars is really kind of a cool thing.

00:20:26:20 – 00:20:47:31
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Very memorable. We talk a lot about there’s research that supports that when you’re outside because you’re in nature. What that combination of nature and music and storytelling, it creates these very visceral memories for people. And often they’re the funny ones were what they remember is the show they got rained on or that it was so hot they were sliding out of their seats.

00:20:47:45 – 00:21:05:27
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But they remember those shows, those days, those memories with such clarity that it’s really remarkable. And a lot of people have that memory of, Oh, that was the first place I saw a concert, or that was the first place I saw theater. I remember exactly what I saw and where I was sitting. I mean, the memories are pretty remarkable in that regard.

00:21:05:27 – 00:21:08:05
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And I think that’s what makes it special.

00:21:08:09 – 00:21:23:32
Ruth Baum Bigus
Give us another sneak peek. How many people are working with you? Added starlight and let’s talk all told. Let’s talk everybody from painting the set, moving the trash cans, working in concessions to sitting in executive meetings with you.

00:21:23:36 – 00:21:48:16
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But we have a full time year round staff of 52, and that expands in the summer time to include another 250 seasonal employees. And so seasonal employees that are working in concessions and parking and security artists on our stage when we produce the show. So 250 and then another 200 to 200 plus volunteers that also are sort of critical to our operation as well.

00:21:48:16 – 00:21:52:12
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So I include them as part of the team because we couldn’t do without them.

00:21:52:17 – 00:21:57:11
Ruth Baum Bigus
That’s a huge team in the summer particularly. Wow, that’s a lot of people to wrangle.

00:21:57:16 – 00:22:04:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Yeah, it is. It’s a it’s a big growth of sort of expanding and contracting every year.

00:22:04:19 – 00:22:32:44
Ruth Baum Bigus
And I know this summer went back to something that was really a core tradition, I think of Starlight probably in its mid history. More that I remember is local casting using local talent. So. So what’s the current philosophy and things moving forward? Will we see more of that? Is that part of now the mix of starlight to see our friends who are professional or just so incredibly talented?

00:22:32:49 – 00:22:55:12
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
So I’m glad you bring that up because it is actually one of the key differentiators about Starlight at this point for a theater of our size to not only present nationally, touring Broadway to presents live music, you know, tours and concerts from national headliners, but then also we’re a producer. And you’re right, that is the cornerstone to our history.

00:22:55:17 – 00:23:15:18
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And we’ve continued to do it through the years where we are the the organization that is casting and making sure their sets and hiring local musicians for the orchestra. And and we often feel that our secret weapon for the very reason that that’s part of how we are part of the community and part of the artistic community even though they’re big shows in a big house.

00:23:15:18 – 00:23:44:03
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
But this that this past summer we did a production of Legally Blond, which is the biggest show that we’ve done since before the pandemic. So big cast. And it combines Broadway stars and nationally touring artists with local talent. And that cast is actually it was 60% local and included a team chorus, which we’re able to do through a very special clause in our union agreement that allows us to have a community chorus.

00:23:44:08 – 00:24:11:06
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
As long as those students are connected with those community engagement programs I mentioned. So that’s a really neat thing where, you know, upwards of 20 students each year get to be a part of an ensemble working with Broadway stars on the Starlight Stage. So I think no matter what, that will be something that we are committed to doing, whether we’re producing it or whether we’re co-producing it with other regional theaters like the Muni, for example, or we work often with Pittsburgh, Cee-Lo and stuff like that, at least once a summer.

00:24:11:11 – 00:24:31:44
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
I think as we look ahead, it’s more about our how does the season come together to have those broadly accessible titles that I talked about? What’s out there from a touring standpoint? If a touring touring shows can help fulfill in great, but if not, then I’m personally very open to producing more because I know what it does for this community and I enjoyed it legally.

00:24:31:44 – 00:24:47:01
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Blond This summer, the laughter of the audiences and the parents of students and parents of now artists that travel and are on Broadway but are from Kansas City and all of their families getting to see them back home on our stage. So it’s a really important thing that we do.

00:24:47:06 – 00:25:04:52
Ruth Baum Bigus
Well, kudos to you for for loving it. And hopefully, maybe we’ll see more of it. Got a few minutes left. I would love to hear kind of your thoughts. Starlight moving forward, where do you see Starlight headed, though?

00:25:04:57 – 00:25:17:54
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Where starlight is headed in the short term is we’re going to be seeing some pretty big physical improvements to the venue in the next handful of years, and we’ll be sharing more about that publicly this fall.

00:25:17:54 – 00:25:20:06
Ruth Baum Bigus
So I’ll just say.

00:25:20:11 – 00:25:48:57
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
To say that the face of starlight is going to change, pretty significant in the next 3 to 4 years. You’re also going to see some programing expansions. I mentioned a lot of what we’re doing now with our programs, but as we look ahead, I would say our biggest focus is really between audience development. Are we getting new people to come out to Starlight, whether that’s in the summertime or whether that’s through other programing at our winter setup, and then also what their experiences?

00:25:48:57 – 00:26:11:01
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Because I think one of our biggest differentiators out here, as I’ve said, is it’s not just about what’s on the stage that’s important, that’s why people come. But it is about that end to end experience of being at this place. We experience every summer. I’ve experienced this summer, people that come up that have never been here before, and they’re blown away by this little Castle theater in the park.

00:26:11:06 – 00:26:28:37
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
It’s a really unique asset that I think sometimes we take for granted. So I think a real focus on how we get it, get new people out here and how we continue to improve what that experience is and how we expand the programs that sort of support both of those through access and through and through that workforce development piece too.

00:26:28:39 – 00:26:34:50
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
How are we getting people interested in being a part of this wonderful, crazy business?

00:26:34:55 – 00:26:48:09
Ruth Baum Bigus
All right. You have a lot of stuff out in the summer. This summer has been hot, Summer has been cold. It’s been all over the place. Let’s deal with heat, because that’s a normal thing. How does starlight kind of help people in that regard?

00:26:48:14 – 00:27:10:39
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Well, about six years ago now, we put in some new big bands that are out here that if you haven’t been out in the last decade, I highly encourage coming out to see the impact that they have. They really they create a breeze out here. So on the hot nights where normally you’d feel that hot summer air sort of sitting upon you, they’re moving the air and keeping you cool.

00:27:10:39 – 00:27:26:00
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
And I think that has been a huge help on the heat side of things. As we know, the world is only getting hotter, so we know that that’s something we have to contend with. So I think those have really helped. And I think some of the physical improvements that I mentioned for the future are also going to be a huge help for that concern, too.

00:27:26:00 – 00:27:46:14
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
We know that what people want from Starlight is certainly to preserve that open air environment, but anything we can do to make them a little more comfortable is always welcome. So we’re always trying to balance those two things so that you can experience the magic of theater under the stars and outside, while also not being so sticky that you’re sliding off your seat.

00:27:46:19 – 00:28:03:58
Ruth Baum Bigus
Now. Lindsay, Thank you. We want to send everybody to KC Starlight dot com. You can learn about the history. You can learn about shows to see. You can learn about opportunities for youth all over the place. Just check it out. And we’re so grateful for you to take time and finally get to sit in that hot seat, as we call it.

00:28:03:58 – 00:28:07:02
Ruth Baum Bigus
That is, of course, we’re so glad you joined us.

00:28:07:07 – 00:28:10:29
Lindsey Rood-Clifford
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

00:28:10:34 – 00:28:34:52
Ruth Baum Bigus
Thank you for joining us for KC Cares, Kansas City’s nonprofit Voice. We’re produced by Charitable communications, also a nonprofit. This KC Care segment was brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, www.kauffman.org. If you’d like to be a guest on KC Cares, visit our Web site. KC Cares Online talk and spread the love. You’ll find us on Facebook and Twitter at KC Cares Radio and on Instagram.

00:28:34:57 – 00:28:46:01
Ruth Baum Bigus
KC Cares Online. Don’t forget, you can catch us on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. on ESPN, 15, ten and 94.5 FM. Thank you for joining us on KC Cares.

 

 

Previous Episodes!

Black Community Fund Kansas City

NaTika Rowles | Executive Director

In this interview, Ruth Baum Bigus of KC Cares talks with NaTika Rowles, the executive director of the Black Community Fund (BCF). The BCF is a philanthropic organization that has been investing in the African-American community of Kansas City for over 40 years. The fund has provided more than $4.5 million to over 200 nonprofit organizations, focusing on areas such as education, human services, arts, culture, humanities, and faith organizations. NaTika discusses the fund’s shift in focus during the pandemic, its innovative grant-making strategies, and its commitment to supporting black-led, black-serving nonprofits.

visit them here: blackcommunityfund.org

 

What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What is the Black Community Fund’s mission?
  2. How has the Black Community Fund adapted its strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. What types of organizations does the Black Community Fund support?
  4. How does the Black Community Fund’s grant-making process work?
  5. How can individuals or organizations contribute to the Black Community Fund?

Find us on

Facebook:@ Kccaresradio

Twitter: @kccaresradio

Instagram: @Kccaresonline

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Also available on

Itunes || Spotify || Stitcher || Soundcloud || Youtube 

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

KC Cares, Kansas City’s nonprofit voice, tells the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and connects them with the community.  

Produced by Charitable Communications 

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

In partnership with: 

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Take risks. Own success. Be Uncommon.

TW: @kauffmanfdn FB: @kauffmanfdn IG: @kauffmanfdn

Transcript:

00:00:01:06 – 00:00:23:01
Ruth Baum Bigus
Welcome to KC Cares. We’re Kansas City’s nonprofit voice, and we’re telling the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and the people behind them. KC Cares is the intersection of the nonprofit and profit communities making Kansas City a better place to live, work and play.

00:00:54:16 – 00:01:22:11
Ruth Baum Bigus
This KC Care segment is brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. www.Kauffman dot org. I’m Ruth Baum Bigus with the insight of philanthropic leaders in our community, the black community Fund was established as a fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation by the Hall Family Foundation. Its purpose was to invest in the African-American community of Kansas City to meet critical needs.

00:01:22:21 – 00:01:49:28
Ruth Baum Bigus
Now, 40 years later, the Black Community Fund lifts others, providing more than 4.5 million to over 200 nonprofit organizations. During that time, organizations focused on education, human services, arts, culture, humanities and faith organizations. Now, Teeka Royals is executive director of the Black Community Fund, and we welcome her as we dig into the work of this organization that’s making change in our community.

00:01:50:08 – 00:01:52:10
Ruth Baum Bigus
The ticket, so great to have you.

00:01:52:12 – 00:01:54:13
NaTika Rowles
Thank you, Ruth. Thanks for having me.

00:01:55:05 – 00:02:23:21
Ruth Baum Bigus
Well, in full disclosure to our audience, we last had someone from the Black Community Fund pre-pandemic, and I would bet by a year or two, maybe before then. So it’s been some time and we’ve been watching around her social media and everything. You all are active, vibrant, doing all kinds of things. Bring us up to speed, though. Give us an overview of the fund and your focus.

00:02:24:22 – 00:03:03:03
NaTika Rowles
Yeah. So I’ve been with the fund. You said the last time you spoke to someone was pre-pandemic. So I think I came along during the pandemic in 2020. And up until then, our fund was focused on grant making scholarships to black students, convening around critical issues that concern the black community. We also did a little bit of convening around the arts and cultural events as well, and I’ve added a little thing that we do, which is mobilizing black philanthropy and communities of color.

00:03:03:03 – 00:03:48:22
NaTika Rowles
So that’s pretty much what our focus has been. We honed in on targeting grassroots, black led black serving non-profits and supporting them, and the need for that has always been around and we’ve always done that. But after during 2020 and all of the racial unrest and social injustices that were going on and living through a pandemic, our board decided that the disparities were this so blatant in the black community and what the needs were that we we just drove into that and started supporting smaller, grassroot and nonprofits.

00:03:48:23 – 00:04:09:27
Ruth Baum Bigus
Well, that’s an interesting pivot and very insightful of a board. So, so much to dove into here. I want to go back to what the board did, but I want to let the audience know. And you came on board in the pandemic?

00:04:10:02 – 00:04:11:00
NaTika Rowles
Yeah.

00:04:11:00 – 00:04:19:05
Ruth Baum Bigus
And you share a little bit what that was like and how you weathered that. Oh, my gosh. Huge storm.

00:04:20:00 – 00:04:53:25
NaTika Rowles
Yeah. So transition is hard. So not only were we transitioning with a new executive director, we were transition, transitioning the needs of the black community as well. So it was difficult, but it was a thing that needed to happen. So for me, we just kind of I just kind of took it as a way to renew, reimagine, just kind of rethink.

00:04:54:03 – 00:05:20:15
NaTika Rowles
But DCF is and what it was and how to stay relevant and those things. So we were literally just trying things. We wanted to do philanthropy different. We knew that we had they had been talking about this. As I said, I came on in 2020. They’ve been doing this for they’ve been supporting, you know, black led, black serving nonprofits.

00:05:20:29 – 00:05:43:23
NaTika Rowles
So we started to rethink what what we could do, how we can take the burden off of the nonprofit, how can we show up in a more trust based philanthropy space? You know, that term was thrown around a lot. How can we focus more on equity? How can we not just allow people to jump through hoops for money?

00:05:44:13 – 00:06:11:15
NaTika Rowles
Because we really just wanted to help in a way that during 2020 it wasn’t happening there. These are the nonprofits that we were serving, didn’t have access. They didn’t have the banking relationships. They didn’t have the social networking to access funds. So in 2020 and yeah, it was difficult because the world was on fire, right? So yeah, we were working from home, you know, that was introduced to the board.

00:06:12:07 – 00:06:36:19
NaTika Rowles
We had to build relationships and you know, we still had a job to do. So even the scholarships that we were giving out that year, that was difficult because they weren’t on campus. There. There, the the things that they had planned to do were shifting. So we had to be, you know, pretty flexible in all of our giving in that way.

00:06:36:29 – 00:07:03:17
NaTika Rowles
But I think the thing that that just kind of turned everything around for us was that the board knew all of this stuff was going on in the world. Right. And so statements were going out. Everybody focused on the equity statement, on diversity, justice. So we put a statement out. But the board was adamant about what are we going to do beyond this statement?

00:07:03:18 – 00:07:39:16
NaTika Rowles
We need to put some money to this statement. So we literally just wrote checks to nonprofits that were serving the black community and voting, registration, housing and food insecurity as well. And we granted out $100,000 that summer, no grant competition, no cycle, no application, literally. Here’s a check for the work that you’ve been doing and the work that we need you to continue to do during this pandemic, during this time, you know, of of racial and social unrest in our country.

00:07:39:17 – 00:08:13:17
Ruth Baum Bigus
So so the board really drove this change with you, with the leadership on land, living on Zoom or Microsoft teams or whatever. We all lived on and lived through. Now that we’ve kind of come out of it, like come out of the pandemic, let’s say that I, I don’t know that the rest of the world has changed tremendously, but how are you now moving forward with that kind of sea change that started during the pandemic?

00:08:14:18 – 00:08:42:08
NaTika Rowles
Yeah. So I mean, we had to shift a little bit, you know, for a couple of years we had to do our events online that was new and different. Nothing that, you know, no anybody else had to do. Everybody was doing this. But our focus is still there. We are committed to serving nonprofits that are serving the black community in a way that in a in a way that’s, I would say, more innovative.

00:08:43:10 – 00:09:05:27
NaTika Rowles
We’re open to how we’re making grants now. It’s not just an application. Last year we held a workshop where we paid nonprofits to come to the workshop. We did a pitch competition. So what it did was and it may be a new because I don’t know any better, I’m like, Yeah, we can do that. Let’s do it. Let’s try it, you know?

00:09:06:18 – 00:09:30:18
NaTika Rowles
Okay, you did that last. Okay, let’s do something different. And they were willing to to allow me to be flexible with with ideas as well. So we literally just created this think tank and we said, what? What don’t we like about philanthropy right now? Let’s just not do that. So what does that look like? Oh, let’s try this.

00:09:31:17 – 00:09:55:24
NaTika Rowles
At the end of the day, we helped fund a lot of smaller nonprofits that would not have gotten funding if we hadn’t stepped in. At the end of the day, those nonprofits went on to bigger, larger relationships with foundations and secured larger dollars over multiple years. And that’s what we wanted to do. Right. So we’re continuing in that.

00:09:55:24 – 00:10:02:04
NaTika Rowles
We have some amazing things coming up in order to continue that work in the black community.

00:10:02:25 – 00:10:04:06
Ruth Baum Bigus
You’ve created a bridge.

00:10:05:12 – 00:10:05:23
NaTika Rowles
Okay.

00:10:06:26 – 00:10:35:06
Ruth Baum Bigus
That’s what that’s what it sounds like. So part of KC cares focus, too. We love all nonprofits, but it’s it’s an extra warm feeling when we can bring a smaller nonprofit that maybe doesn’t have that footprint. And it sounds like you are kind of focused on some of those folks that sometimes are that small voice that doesn’t get heard or there’s so much other talking in the world that that they miss out.

00:10:35:06 – 00:10:45:25
Ruth Baum Bigus
So congratulations to you all. All right. You mentioned all these new insightful things. Share with our audience a little bit about your areas of focus and the kind of new things that you are doing.

00:10:46:12 – 00:11:16:24
NaTika Rowles
Yeah. So I’ll talk about the grant making syntax kind of of what people now they know us for before it was scholarships and we really wanted to shift that. Now we’re like we do a lot of things and sounding the alarm on those things. So with our grant making. I think last year we would probably grind it out over $200,000 to grassroots nonprofits, black led, black serving, right.

00:11:18:06 – 00:11:54:07
NaTika Rowles
The cool thing about that was we revamped our application. It’s pretty simple. It’s pretty straightforward. And as I said earlier, we don’t want people to have to jump through hoops to obtain our dollars. Right. We looked at that. We also looked at different ways that we can engage grantees, especially those that don’t have the social networks and don’t know may not have funds to invest in professional development or resource development.

00:11:54:21 – 00:12:32:24
NaTika Rowles
So as I mentioned before, we created what we call the Vision Workshop. We invited 40 nonprofits to come to this workshop to receive training on storytelling, marketing and social media outcome measurement. Right. And it was got them in a room. The feedback that we received was that you see us Black Community Fund, we’re not alone. We’re out here doing this work and you haven’t forgotten about us because we understand that most of these nonprofits are not paying themselves.

00:12:33:01 – 00:13:00:16
NaTika Rowles
They don’t have the budgets to invest in salaries. Most of them are volunteer. We decided that we were going to give them money to come. So every nonprofit that came received a $500 check at the end. And then we were like, Well, how can we give them some, you know, some more money? It’d be great. So at the end of that workshop, they were invited to pitch our enter a pitch pitch competition.

00:13:01:06 – 00:13:25:02
NaTika Rowles
And it was just like you and I are talking, Ruth They just talked to two people about their nonprofit. And then we decided right then and there who was going to get some money. There wasn’t an application process. So the next day, that evening, we invited these nonprofits to our vision gala. It was a gala to just celebrate Black philanthropy.

00:13:25:11 – 00:14:00:25
NaTika Rowles
It was held during Black Philanthropy Month, which is the national recognized time during August. Every August. So we invited them to come to this gala. And at the gala we made the announcement, the winners of the pitch competition, and we granted eight nonprofits $64,000. And so that was pretty exciting. I love to give away money. One of the one of the nonprofits that I don’t know anybody who’s as excited as Attica about giving money away.

00:14:00:25 – 00:14:34:14
NaTika Rowles
So that’s what we’re doing with grant making. If I can talk a little bit about the scholarships this year, our 40th year, our anniversary year, we did grant 40 scholarships to black students to continue their education. And this is like adult learners, graduate school of high school. Yes, community college, what have you. So 40 of those kiddos are young black students.

00:14:34:24 – 00:15:04:07
NaTika Rowles
I call them kiddos and in a sum of $176,000. Now, that may not seem like a lot of money. And we are a small fund. We’re relatively small, a small funder. But that’s that scholarship. Most of those scholarships were in the sum of $5,000. So that’s that’s a game changer for most of these students, right? Yeah. So and we were pretty adamant about you know, that that amount.

00:15:04:15 – 00:15:41:00
NaTika Rowles
Now we do have some scholarships that were around $1,000 for a student. But overall, so the $176,000 in education for black students. So I’d say we’re trying to chip at that. But financial burden gap there and then convening around critical issues. So we’re in conversations with some community leaders about what we want to talk about, what we want to bring people around issues facing the black community.

00:15:41:10 – 00:16:03:18
NaTika Rowles
Where do you on that? In a very sensitive way because we’re not doing this work. We’re not programing. So we’re talking to these organizations that are boots on the ground. They are in proximity with what’s going on in the black community and to see what do we need to talk about right. Or what what do we need to lift that?

00:16:03:18 – 00:16:38:06
NaTika Rowles
What do we need to give a voice like KC cares? What platform do we need to create for you? So we did create a podcast last year, kind of been talking about it throughout the pandemic because why not? Everybody’s on line, right? That was one of my great ideas. So the podcast drop is this year, during our 40th year, and we just talked to leaders of nonprofits and some volunteers about, you know, volunteerism in the black community, affordable housing in the black community, community development, things like that.

00:16:39:00 – 00:16:50:12
NaTika Rowles
So I urge everyone to listen to that. Yeah. So and then now we’re inching up on our big event that’s coming up in a in the next month. Oh my God.

00:16:50:12 – 00:16:53:27
Ruth Baum Bigus
Is here is the panic.

00:16:55:23 – 00:17:17:20
NaTika Rowles
Yes. And we will be celebrating 40 years of giving. It’s our legacy gala. And here’s the thing, Ruth. We’ve been doing this for 40 years, right and right. Kind of been under the radar. So this gap, this this gala is to tell people week, this is what we’ve been doing and this is what we’re going to continue to do for the next 40 years.

00:17:17:20 – 00:17:39:27
NaTika Rowles
And we’re celebrating that. And then we want to invite people along for to mobilize their giving, to mobilize their philanthropy. Right. And we want to we want everybody to look at themselves as a philanthropist, especially black, because this is what we do. Right. So I’m excited. What’s going on?

00:17:39:27 – 00:17:49:27
Ruth Baum Bigus
Where is the best place for folks to go to find out what everything that you’re doing, find out about your event, look at your grant making opportunities, etc..

00:17:50:19 – 00:18:17:24
NaTika Rowles
Yeah. So we do have a website in that black community find out or so you can definitely visit our website. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Our offices are out of the Greater Payne City Community Foundation on Broadway. You can pop in. Give me a call. Yeah. So there’s tons of ways to get in touch with us, but I would say our website is probably the easiest.

00:18:18:05 – 00:18:19:09
NaTika Rowles
And the social media.

00:18:21:04 – 00:18:41:28
Ruth Baum Bigus
And again, for full transparency, just disclosure. Folks that are not black or African-American, could they apply for grants if they’re serving the black community or really focused on, you know, black leadership, black, etc.? I think.

00:18:43:05 – 00:19:06:27
NaTika Rowles
Yeah, they can they can definitely apply and we prioritize black lives black survey. So what that means is that we may look at them more. We, we focus on that, right. But if there is a program that just happens to have a white area that’s serving the black community and serving them well, then they could definitely be funded.

00:19:06:27 – 00:19:31:09
NaTika Rowles
And if you look at some of our past grants, you would see that now that we have. So the focus is on serving the black community. What we found during 2020 and leading up to that was that a lot of black leaders, a lot of black professionals did not have access. And not only not only did they not have access.

00:19:31:09 – 00:19:52:10
NaTika Rowles
So there’s something real about when black people are being murdered in the street around you. Right. It’s hard to come to work that day. It’s it’s hard it’s hard to do the work that you know, that you love to do. It comes heavy. It becomes a wait. Sometimes. So our focus on black leaders is to care for them.

00:19:52:17 – 00:20:23:03
NaTika Rowles
Right. Is to let them know that we see you, that we’re here to support you, not only the work that you’re doing, but you as a person that you that they are valuable. Right. It’s not just it’s not just the work. It’s not just the programs. We know that the black community was hit hard during during that time and still really trying to process some of these things.

00:20:23:03 – 00:20:50:10
NaTika Rowles
I mean, the ebbs and flows of the social unrest, the racial unrest in our community affects black bodies. It just does. Right. So when we create a space for them to talk about capacity building, we’re also building camaraderie. I mean, most of those nonprofits are still in touch with each other. They meet I don’t even know they’re meeting.

00:20:50:10 – 00:21:10:00
NaTika Rowles
And they’re like, yeah, they built a mentorship. They built a group of people that that they can process with that are that they’re that’s in the trenches with them. So I think that’s great. That’s the focus on the black leaders.

00:21:11:17 – 00:21:24:23
Ruth Baum Bigus
Where today does the preponderance of your funds come from? You’re handing out you’re handing out money. So somewhere money’s got to be coming in, right? Somewhere.

00:21:27:25 – 00:22:01:04
NaTika Rowles
That’s a great question. I would say, um, for a while we’ve had a pretty substantial grant through the Kellogg Foundation that allowed us to do some pretty innovative work that Grant has now centered. So last year I will say that we received our largest gift from the Sanderlin Foundation a half a million dollar gift. And so but that’s the largest in 40 years.

00:22:01:04 – 00:22:41:08
NaTika Rowles
So, yeah, there’s some some private donations. We do we eat events and fundraising is not part of our resource development plan. And, and and I don’t know that that is a way that we will effectively raise funds. We have a philosophy of investing in the black community. And when we decided to do that in a radical way, like we did and we gave people started giving, well, yeah.

00:22:41:08 – 00:23:11:03
NaTika Rowles
So I don’t know. I mean, most people say you got to spend money to make money. I mean, that’s an entrepreneurship in business, but we have a mindset of whether we are supported or not. This is what the needed. So this is what we don’t do right. And having that mindset, that confidence that we are investing in the black community, people are on board with that.

00:23:11:14 – 00:23:23:28
NaTika Rowles
People want to be a part of that. It’s almost a sense of empowerment to be able to do that. So we have granted a lot of money in the past. Yeah.

00:23:24:17 – 00:23:25:02
Ruth Baum Bigus
Right.

00:23:25:22 – 00:23:55:02
NaTika Rowles
Right. A lot, almost as much as we’ve done in the past ten years. But we’ve also raised a lot of money in the past three years, more so than we’ve done in the past ten years of this fund. And that was by talking to folks like you, this platform that you have, inviting people to join us in philanthropy in a way that is relational, all alone, not transactional.

00:23:56:19 – 00:24:20:03
NaTika Rowles
And people are giving and have donors that are black leaders that are supporting us now. And that that says a lot to me. So, yeah, not an influx of funds. You know, we’re are still a funder that would welcome any donations, right? I have to say that.

00:24:20:27 – 00:24:23:23
Ruth Baum Bigus
Oh, absolutely. Of course. And go to your website. Oh.

00:24:24:09 – 00:24:25:06
NaTika Rowles
No, to my website.

00:24:26:08 – 00:24:27:07
Ruth Baum Bigus
Absolutely.

00:24:27:08 – 00:24:27:25
NaTika Rowles
Like to donate.

00:24:27:25 – 00:24:50:11
Ruth Baum Bigus
But you have such enthusiasm for this work. Give us a peek of where in the tech it came from and landed here. We feel like. Yeah, yeah. Well, here’s because you’re the you’re leading the charge. So I want, you know, the man and woman behind the curtain we want to see. Yeah.

00:24:50:11 – 00:25:23:04
NaTika Rowles
So I have a background in nonprofit on the Ely side of of running a nonprofit. So I was there with the nonprofit that we’re serving, and I think that’s where my passion comes in. I’ve been, you know, one of the leading the grassroots nonprofit writing grant up and I know. And so that’s my background. I have a husband, I have five children.

00:25:23:04 – 00:26:00:02
NaTika Rowles
And I think we we’ve been in Kansas City for about seven or eight years. My husband is from Kansas City. He’s been trying to get me here for the past 25 years of our work. And it finally happened. And it’s the best place ever. So, yeah, I just have a heart for community. I have a heart for community development in a way that citizens should be empowered right to to to change, to be the change makers in their community.

00:26:00:02 – 00:26:35:28
NaTika Rowles
So I try to interject that in any and everything I do and with the black community Fund, and I really can’t take that. You know, I really can’t sit here say, oh, yes, we’ve done all this work. But my board of directors, our board chair, I will name namedrop. Is that okay? Absolutely. Okay. So our board chair, Emmett Pearson Jr, who’s been on the board for years, is quite instrumental in the direction that Bishop has taken Desmond Bryant, who’s also been on the board as long if not as long as Emmett.

00:26:35:28 – 00:27:03:26
NaTika Rowles
He’s getting there. Huge influence on the direction of the fund and story. Shannon Barry and Dan Haley, that’s it is the Mighty Five, right? And with them, I’d say they allow me to kind of float around the city and see what we can put our hands into and find. Right. May not be a lot. I mean, we don’t have millions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars.

00:27:03:26 – 00:27:09:06
Ruth Baum Bigus
But don’t tell anyone that you will. You will as.

00:27:09:09 – 00:27:14:26
NaTika Rowles
Well. And we’ll look back on this podcast and go, yep, we spoke that, but you heard it.

00:27:14:26 – 00:27:36:01
Ruth Baum Bigus
Here first on KC Kurzweil. It’s it’s your 40th anniversary, which is monumental, if you think about it and what’s happened in that 40 years. Oh, my gosh. So much change. Probably you weren’t even born yet, but you’re leading that. And I can’t believe you have five kids and you’re doing this. Oh, my gosh. Kudos to you, Mama. You work.

00:27:36:03 – 00:27:54:18
Ruth Baum Bigus
And Mama, we are so grateful for your time. I want to remind everybody to go check out the Black Community Fund doing great work. So it’s black community fund dot org. And I’m sure Nautica would answer any question that you have. Thank you so much for your time.

00:27:55:01 – 00:27:57:00
NaTika Rowles
Thanks for having me, Ruth. It was fun.

00:27:57:25 – 00:28:20:03
Ruth Baum Bigus
Yeah. Thank you for joining us. For KC Care’s Kansas City’s nonprofit voice were produced by Charitable Communications, also a nonprofit. This KC Care segment was brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, www.kauffman.org. If you’d like to be a guest on KC Cares, please visit our Web site. kccaresonline.org and spread the love.

00:28:20:03 – 00:36:22:01
Ruth Baum Bigus
You can find us on Facebook and Twitter at KC Cares Radio and on Instagram at KC Cares online. Don’t forget, you can catch us on Saturday mornings at 8 p.m. on ESPN 15:10 a.m. and 94.5 FM. Thank you for joining us on KC CARES.

 

Previous Episodes!

Horses and Heroes Trauma Recovery

Julie Bakers | Founder & Executive Director

Horses & Heroes, Inc. offers trauma-recovery with the use of Equine Assisted Therapy.We specialize in trauma that has affected the brain, body, emotions, and behaviors including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for our Nation’s Veterans, Active Military, First Responders, their spouses, and children at no cost.Childhood trauma affects a large percentage of the population and is linked to adult-onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, violence and becoming a victim of violence.H&H uses licensed practitioners, certified coaches, and qualified staff to offer emotional, physical, and spiritual growth to our target demographic.

visit them here: horsesheroes.org

 

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[Transcript]

(00:00) theirs is the intersection of the non-profit and profit communities making Kansas City a better place to live work and play this KC care segment is brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.kauffman.org I’m Ruth Baum Bigus. Horses are magnificent animals often large and statuesque horses often evoke power and strength and freedom they also possess an ability to connect with humans and help them heal from trauma that’s the focus of horses and heroes a Kansas City nonprofit established in 2014 to offer trauma

(00:39) recovery with equine assisted and alternative therapies for veterans active millimers of the military their families First Responders and their children and it’s free so how does this all work well joining us today is horses and hero founder Julie Baker and she’s going to tell us all about this really interesting and incredible non-profit Julie thanks for joining us well thank you Ruth and thank you for having us on today so uh quick little history of horses and heroes um I started rescuing horses when I was 12.

(01:16) um quickly discovered that you know their trauma is similar to our trauma you know they they heal in very different ways um and so that was one of the kind of what laid the foundation for horses and heroes and we’re a military family so the the two entities kind of came together so all of the horses on our team are rescued and yes we served the military population and their families at no cost thank you for to all the donors that to help make that possible you were seven years old and you were rescuing horses

(01:50) 12 12. I’m sorry I was in sixth grade it was kind of a um I had a horse I was showing at that point but then my mom kind of announced hey we found this horse he was in a dry lot we were in California at the time he didn’t have any water and I don’t know if I don’t know the details of how they acquired him but they acquired him and announced that he was my horse and so the first time I met him um I couldn’t get closer than five feet you would start to sweat and tremble and just he was terrified of people you

(02:27) could see visible scars on his back legs where somebody had physically beaten on him and so um you know being a naive 12 year old I just thought well maybe if I just let him get used to me and you know take my time go real slow he’ll learn to trust me and that’s basically what happened and so that laid like I said a foundation of what we do today all right so from a 12 year old who loved a horse and was still yet a little afraid it sounds like both of you were afraid of each other in the beginning way back then you obviously got over

(03:05) that fear bring us up to what led to you creating this non-profit in 2014. well um a lot of Life Experiences I was wife of a Marine Corps um veteran so we lived active duty lifestyle for 14 years had three little kids while we were moving from Base to Base and you know I love the Marine Corps but they thought well six months is probably a good time to move a family um across you know from east coast to West Coast north and south and so that was our lifestyle um and really it wasn’t until we got to Kansas City that I I experienced my

(03:48) first what I call transitional phase of um being a military you know spouse and then coming into the civilian world I mean I had a conversation with another military spouse yesterday and there is this transitional struggle you know because you’re used to the camaraderie you’re used to the support everybody speaks the same lingo and you made really quick friends you know and when you’re living on base um when you live off base or when you move into the civilian world you know oftentimes that reality is really

(04:20) different depending on where you move obviously but we discovered that you know the neighbors just weren’t outside you know we were the youngest family on the Block so there just wasn’t that that instant connection and so you really do feel a loss you do feel that gosh you know where’s my mission where’s my purpose where’s my support system and so you know unfortunately that’s that’s got a very prevalent um struggle for active duty people when they transition um you know they think that they can

(04:52) come home and have this wonderful life and get a great job and it the reality is it doesn’t happen like that in most cases and so it leads to a lot of depression and anxiety and you know abuse of alcohol and drugs and unfortunately that’s the highest population of death by Suicide and so you know um to wrap around to your question when I was um back in 2013 I was working a corporate job and I knew just in my heart that that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing you know I had all the bells and whistles in the car

(05:26) and the expense accounts I’m like you know this just is not my this is not where my heart is you know what what is it and so I kept going back to that memory of of rescuing that first horse and and that Rehabilitation and you know the trust in the bond that happens you know once once that Rehabilitation has happened and so I thought gosh it would be really great if I could bring the rescued horses in and utilize their healing stories with the veteran population because we had we had gotten out of the service at that point

(06:01) and my two oldest daughters served five years in the Marine Corps together and they were out now too and so we were watching a lot of their family and and Friends struggle that same struggle that I had experienced um and so I thought well it would be great to to do that and I didn’t I didn’t know what it looked like I didn’t know where to start or even how to begin and so I was taking a lot of long walks and going on jogs and just trying to figure this out in my head you know what would this look like and how would I start

(06:32) and then one day I was sitting on my couch and I just had this very strong nudge to go Google it and I was like Google what I don’t even know what to Google and so I typed in Equine Therapy and up popped this association called egala they’re the equine assisted growth and learning Association they’re a global entity and much to my surprise I discovered that they they do this you know and they they had a program for military and so really on the spot and it was a very a kind of a surreal experience but that

(07:07) vague idea of what what is it and what would it look like went to instant Clarity and I knew the name I knew all of the steps of okay I have to set up the corporation it needs to be a 501c3 we’re going to serve veteran population so I’m writing this list of everything um went ahead and filed for the corporate name and got that secured and so that’s how horses and heroes started it was just that culmination of those two things that were very um personal and special to me you know that saving those rescue courses and

(07:41) helping helping people transitioning that are struggling and so that’s how it started and here we are today talk about a leap of faith it was tough you know um I have to laugh but it was also very scary and my my business coach at the time when all of this was happening she kept asking me why are you doing what you’re doing and I’m like oh no because I I can yeah I was very lukewarm about it like I said and she said well when you find your why two things are going to happen it’s gonna scare the you know what out of you

(08:18) and it’ll probably make you cry and so you know I’m like great yeah but bring it on it sounds like a great time and so I kid you not when I found the gall Association on the computer that day and I noticed that they had a military program I just started weeping it was just uncontrollable weaving weeping and um I was terrified my husband as a pilot was gone so he was on a trip and he came home that Sunday and he said what’d you do this weekend I said well I started a non-profit called horses and heroes and he said what

(08:53) I said well trust me it’s terrifying I don’t I don’t really know everything I need to know obviously you know people are going to show up and we’ll figure it out but it was scary and you know we do have scary moments but it’s it’s very worth it well given our audience I would love for you to share how you got from the scary and emotional moment to actually then creating an organization you mentioned this National Organization that’s focused on the therapy aspect but how did you move things forward in terms of

(09:28) structure in terms of your programming Etc well I I did have a framework in mind like I said I wanted it to be a non-profit so we could get funding to help support it because I realized that um you know being a military person if your insurance doesn’t cover it you probably can’t afford it and so that was that was one of the key elements I knew it had to be you know funding coming from outside to help military families because military families struggle they don’t make a lot of money um and so you know just knowing in the back of my

(10:05) mind that these elements have to be in place um it has to be accessible it has to be affordable it has to be confidential because if if those elements aren’t in place then somebody probably will not have the trust to come um and in spite of being scared I mean you just have to make a plan and you just have to stick to it you know and um I guess all of my corporate training and sales training you know you just you just you can’t you can’t fold or Shrink away from those challenges you have to just go ahead and and do them even

(10:39) though they’re scary um and I I still have mornings where I wake up and I’m like oh what the heck you know but again you just have to continue to push forward so um how this all transpired is like I said I’ve set up the the corporate entity got got the all the requirements and filings in place for the state um and then went through the process of doing the 501c3 application which you know it was long but it wasn’t horrible um then I took myself to training and so that egala Association offers um trainings throughout the world and so

(11:16) I identified the first training which was um in Nevada I believe the first one was and so I bought a ticket to Nevada and signed up for the training and got the certification required to be the equine specialist and so and and all of our sessions we uh we approach it from a team approach so there’s always a licensed clinician and a certified equine specialist and then the team of horses and so um you know again I just had this list of things I know had to be had to be done you know to to make it work um and the rest of it like I said people

(11:52) showed up you know um one of the stories that we like to share how I met our our lead clinician Rachel um I had a um a client at that time and she was a psychologist and and I was sharing with her you know I just started this non-profit and I was excited and but I don’t know any clinicians in town who would I reach out to you know they would be interested in working with us and so she gave me a list of about five people and I knew kind of instinctually it wasn’t time yet because I was still going through that certification

(12:26) training still had some you know the 501c3 things to finish and so I kind of stuck that paper in my notebook and then one day again I had a very strong nudge to get paper out and so I’m looking at this paper and there’s five names on them they don’t mean anything to me I didn’t know one from the other I literally went beep think and put my finger on a name and I’m typing this email introducing myself here’s what we’re doing you know if you’re interested great if you’re not

(12:55) would you please forward this information to somebody who is and so I hit send the button and so later on that afternoon I get this call from the woman I sent the email from she’s like you are not going to believe what just happened it’s like what do you mean she goes well this morning I’m meeting with my with my professional advisor and he’s asking me what my flight my Five-Year Plan is for my practice she just graduated from you know getting her all of her licensures finished and um she was saying that she wanted to

(13:30) work with somebody to do Equine Therapy but she didn’t know who in town was doing Equine Therapy and um the advisor says well just put it out there and then you know something will connect and they leave their coffee meeting and I’m not kidding you the minute she walks out the door into the parking lot is when she received my email and she just about fainted because they just had this conversation about how she wanted to connect with somebody to be a clinician for Equine Therapy and in comes my email inviting her to be our

(14:03) clinician and so you know literally things have happened like that um throughout the eight years where people just show up and um there’s no explaining it and I don’t ask questions I just give a lot of you know gestures of gratitude um and that’s really how how all of the structure came to be is we just identified the elements we we work through the the fears that have tried to hold us back and we just kept moving forward now through this training that you took did they have a structured program that

(14:38) you could kind of model after or were you kind of creating really your own kind of curriculum we had to create our own there’s really I mean they they do and they don’t um the licensed clinicians go through their training already our state licensed um and then the equine Specialists have to have six thousand hours of equine experience and beyond that they don’t have a lot of like models to share for your business structure because it’s you like I said it’s youth all over the world and inpatient outpatient food

(15:11) addiction sex addiction uh human trafficking you name it um it’s the Equine Therapy piece is used all over the world and so it looks looks a little bit different but they do have a structure of their their mode of therapy that it’s a team approach it’s solution focused the clients have all of their own answers um and we follow a code of ethics other than that um especially here in Kansas City there was really nothing to model from and so we literally you know we’re plowing a path um through the woods

(15:48) um some of it was easy some of it wasn’t easy but um you know in terms of a non-profit business structure I mean we have to function as a business you know we we have to make business decisions like every other business needs to do um otherwise you know we wouldn’t survive but beat a non-profit it’s a challenge and that we um you know we’re constantly having to find funding you know offering these sessions to um our population at no cost you know is expensive it costs our program about two thousand dollars for an eight-week

(16:23) program so um yeah I mean that’s just to offer the program at no cost so you can imagine the expenses of of everything involved especially you know everything has increased in prices and so yeah again it’s not easy but you just have to find a way you have to find Creative Solutions and um go with your plan so tell us about exactly the I believe you have like several buckets of sessions and directed for particular people and then how you work with the horses well um it really depends on the person and their their trauma

(17:03) um you know each person has to be approached from a different different aspect and the clinicians you know they they build their own treatment plan so you know one one treatment plan for one person might include what’s called equine assisted EMDR so EMDR is eye movement no let’s see if I can remember this right eye movement um never mind bmdr okay so EMDR is a evidence-based protocol for people with acute traumas so you know if you see something and you just can’t get it out of your head EMDR is uh modality that’s

(17:42) very effective to help the brain process um that memory into long term so it’s not you know keeping you awake at night or hyper Vigilant and so um one person might be getting the equine assisted EMDR and another person might be just doing the regular what we call equine assisted Psychotherapy um so it does have its own platform and format but it’s also very loose within that format again depending on what that person might need we do body work as well because trauma affects the body the nerves the muscles

(18:16) I mean down to the cellular level and so um in bayster Kansas we have our therapeutic and business center and that’s where we do our office-based Body Therapies um so it’s a combination of corrective massage and pulse electromagnetic field therapy through a device that’s been used for decades and it has a lot of white papers and peer-reviewed articles about its Effectiveness but it reduces pain inflammation it optimizes circulation and really just brings a better sense of well-being to the person by

(18:52) creative negative ions within the body and so it helps just reduce a lot of the inflammation that causes systemic disease so how do we get the horses in there then if we’re are we riding the horses what are we doing with your horses well the horses are not in base or Kansas they’re we just bought property in Leavenworth and so they’re there and it’s ground-based so we don’t have the clients ride the horses at some point at some point we might um add a mounted piece for with the populations that we serve

(19:30) um you know just sometimes with the level of trauma that they’ve been exposed to you know if they’re having a disassociative episode we don’t want them on top of a 2 000 pound animal um and so every all of the programs that we do right now are all ground-based so that means that you’re not riding the horse um horses are ideal for this type of work there are prey animals so they’re hardwired for survival and they’re very in tune with their environment um and it’s all through non-verbal

(20:00) communication and so um through the eight week process we like I said we do have a model that we follow but it’s loose because people respond and interpret things differently but the gist of it is um the horses do act uniquely to each person um so we could have a you know one person come out and then an hour later the horses will be completely different in doing different behaviors with the next person and so we find that very relevant and we watch for repeating patterns and shifts and what they’re doing and really it’s just the function

(20:38) of um having the person identify the things the goals that they want to they want to work on and then we’re observing the horse’s behaviors during their session and we’re asking a question about what are the horses doing over there or you know what’s coming up for you now I mean because the horses do elicit um some deep deep emotional responses in our nervous system responds to the horses as well um and through their interpretations and their answers it brings really fast breakthroughs of what it is that as at

(21:11) that core of their what’s going on with them so and why they’re there so it’s hard to explain in words people look at me funny and they’re like do you pet them do you brush them like well yes and no um it goes much deeper than that like I mentioned there’s some physiological benefits um that happen that go kind of deep scientific stuff I don’t necessarily get into now but um when you’re with a horse we’ve seen Grown tough men convinced that they’re not going to get anything out of their session and by the

(21:45) end of the session they’re weeping and they’ve connected with the horse and we don’t know how to explain that how do you get your um I don’t know whether to call them clients or patients or customers how do clients yeah well they find us usually through our website we get a lot of clients through our website Word of Mouth we do a lot of work in the community so peer support groups in the different departments whether it be police or fire you know they’re coming out for their leadership trainings and so

(22:22) they’re being exposed to the benefits of Equine Therapy we work twice monthly with the Whole Health at the local VA in Kansas City Missouri and so you know it’s just a again a function of people are starting to understand and get that this modality works it’s confidential it’s not going back in their record you know it’s not going to affect their career um it’s no cost and you know they’re not being put on any medications that might be addictive and so I think a combination of those attributes are

(22:58) starting to make it more popular we do have a waiting list right now actually um we’re kind of waiting for some of the rain to stop before we we can start full force but um yeah I don’t we don’t have to convince anybody to come they’re they’re knocking on our door right now but she said funding is challenging so how are you trying to meet that challenge and and keep the service free for people as you say really are in need um we are supported through a couple of um grants one through the associate

(23:32) Association so the VA adaptive Sports Grant they they fund a certain number of clients every year um they’ve reduced that number though this year unfortunately so you know our need is rising and that fund is diminishing and so we’ve been having to do more grant writing we’re reaching out to different corporations and and be like yo you know you’re you’re a good Corporation you’re local you know why don’t you help us out in um you know help some of our our families that are really struggling

(24:04) um and families everywhere are struggling it’s not just limited to military first responder I mean populations fam we get calls from people who aren’t associated with that we do have a for-profit that we service those clients under um but yes funding is always a challenge and so we’re always looking for different fundraising avenues that don’t cost us a lot of money um and like I said more corporate support private foundations so yeah one of our one of our frequent asks is for funding for for services for sure

(24:42) well where’s the best place for people to find out more information or even perhaps to donate to what you’re trying to do um probably the best way to find out information is our website which is www.horses andheroes.org it’s all spelled out we have a donation platform there we have a venmo um platform as well um I’d have to send you the QR code or that link I don’t know that’s right ahead but sending folks folks to your website is perfect because I’m sure all the details are there how many horses do you have and how many

(25:20) people on the team so teammates that are horses I guess and teammates that are humans yes so we have eight large four-legged team members um all but two are rescued um either through the kill pen pipeline or uh we have two that were former athletes and were one was injured one developed arthritis and couldn’t perform and so instead of destroying those animals um they decided to give them a second chance and a different job um you know and that’s key too for our population you know who are unfortunately if they’re medically

(25:55) retired or were injured on on the job and they can’t perform anymore um you know the ability for them to connect with with these particular horses is um is really important for them to see that you know there is hope and there is maybe a different different job for me we have five miniature horses um and they don’t know their Miniatures and they they beat up on everybody well I say beat up but they um I I can tell you a whole story on that but I won’t it’s just it’s funny to watch them interact with big horses

(26:32) um we have two staff members that are paid and we have four or five clinicians that work with us um contractually and we have four equine Specialists that work with us and um probably a half dozen volunteers and you use more volunteers we could always use more volunteers yeah um since we just moved to the Leavenworth County area some of our volunteers were driving up from like Stillwell when we were in Shawnee and so they’re like oh that’s just too far for me so yeah we are in the midst of doing a volunteer Drive of having some new

(27:12) volunteers more in our general area um interested in helping and we have volunteer positions for being on the board helping with the horses you know if you like to mow we have lots of Mowing and groundskeeping and um data entry there’s always there’s always jobs to do for a non-profit well it’s very exciting that you continue to grow this out of your own passion and kind of your own story to to create something that’s having this ripple effect and just what a wonderful thing to provide for a particular set through the

(27:48) non-profit and then that you have this profit arm so it’s horses and heroes Julie Baker is founder executive director I would imagine walking horse person and a few other jobs as all non-profit leaders seem to have to do so we thank you so much for sharing your story and and how you’re moving things forward well thank you again it’s been a pleasure thank you for joining us on KC cares Kansas City’s non-profit voice we’re produced by charitable Communications which is also a non-profit this Casey care segment was

(28:22) brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.koffman.org if you’d like to be a guest on KC cares please check out our website at kccaresonline.org and spread the love and find us on Facebook and Twitter at Casey cares Radio and on Instagram at Casey cares online and catch us Saturday mornings at 8 A.M on ESPN 15 10 a.

(28:47) m and 94.5 FM thank you for joining us on Casey cares [Music]

 

Previous Episodes!

Seven Days Discusses Community Efforts

Mindy Corporan & Jill Anderson

SevenDays® overcomes hate by promoting kindness and understanding through education and dialogue. 

visit them here: sevendays.org

 

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KC Cares, Kansas City’s nonprofit voice, tells the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and connects them with the community.  

Produced by Charitable Communications 

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In partnership with: 

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Take risks. Own success. Be Uncommon.

TW: @kauffmanfdn FB: @kauffmanfdn IG: @kauffmanfdn

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