Philanthropic Trends Giving USA Report

Dr. Una Olisi | Assoc. Dean of Research

In this insightful discussion, Dr. Una Osili, Associate Dean at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, unpacks the findings of the Giving USA report. Despite economic headwinds, American generosity stands firm, with corporate and foundation giving witnessing an uptick. However, individual giving, traditionally the backbone of American philanthropy, is seeing a reduced share. Dr. Osili underscores the need for nonprofits to adapt their engagement strategies to meet donors where they are, given the economic shifts and increasing donor diversity. She also emphasizes the power of authentic storytelling in fostering donor relationships. This conversation offers valuable insights for nonprofits seeking to navigate the evolving philanthropic landscape.

visit them here: givingusa.org


What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What are the key findings of the Giving USA report?
  2. How has the pandemic affected philanthropic trends in the US?
  3. What strategies can nonprofits adopt to engage donors effectively?
  4. How important is storytelling in building relationships with donors?
  5. What future trends can we anticipate in philanthropy?

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(00:00) were telling the stories of Kansas City nonprofits and the people behind them cares is the intersection of the non-profit Community 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.

(00:21) org I’m Ruth Baum Bigus. it’s that season again when the giving USA report comes out providing National philanthropic Trends the giving USA annual report is the longest running and most comprehensive look at philanthropy and provides an in-depth analysis rather of charitable giving where it comes from how funds are used and more insights from the report are a great tool for those of us in the world of non-profit fundraising and their programming Partners well for the last several years KC cares has highlighted the significant report that’s produced by

(00:56) the team at the Lilly Family School of philanthropy at Indiana University we are delighted to welcome a new guest to chat about the report and what it means it’s Dr Una Olisi, the associate dean of research and international programs and the euphrymanson share of economics and philanthropy at the Lilly school it has been her job to oversee this massive project and welcome we’re so happy to have you with us well hello everyone I’m thrilled to be here thanks for hosting me it’s really a pleasure

(01:30) well I have to tell our audience we are honored my gosh you have quite the resume a scientist and economics person everything maybe a good base would be to start how did you get into this kind of world to begin with it’s a great question I grew up with parents who are very deeply involved in generosity and family and taught us very early how to get involved how to give back how to serve others and it was no surprise that in college I actually started working in a neighborhood right close to where I went to college in

(02:10) Boston tutoring kids raising money for the non-profit and spending summers in Boston so that got me interested in the more formal side of the philanthropic sector fast forward the tape when I started my research as an economic student and a doctoral student I picked a dissertation topic that was very closely aligned to these issues around how people give and make decisions about their philanthropy how much they save but how much they give to others and I was very fortunate to start my career here at Indiana University and we have

(02:45) here the world’s first school on philanthropy it’s quite an exciting place if you’re interested in generosity what drives people to give but also how to serve and how to lead and how to collaborate with others so this is really a wonderful place and if you haven’t visited the lily family school either virtually in person or on the web please feel free to do so we have academic programs we have students here we have online programs but we also have lots of research so the data is there and it’s available so I feel like I was

(03:19) very blessed to merge my academic interests with my own passions and get to do that every day here at the Lilly Family School well how lucky for the school to have you and it’s so interesting how long has the school been in existence now so the school was formally inaugurated in 2013 it became the school but before that it was the center on philanthropy at Indiana University and also the world’s first academic center that started in 1985 and many people may know we have the fundraising school and that’s quite

(03:55) unique because you can take classes non-degree certificate programs Executive Education programs on all sorts of topics from fundraising to leadership to board engagement um all topics are covered ethics and fundraising so I I do encourage all of your listeners to if you don’t know much about this school please feel free to reach out to us we’re always happy to talk to our non-profit colleagues we’ll give you that those two seconds to do a commercial where is the best place for folks to go find out information

(04:29) about all the things that you do at the Lilly school well visit the school’s website I think that’s really the best place to do that and I will share that website at the end maybe the link we can include that terrific all right well let’s get back to what we introduced everybody to and that’s the annual giving USA report before we do the big reveal of numbers and trends I wanted our audience to understand what goes into putting together a report like this give us that Peak behind the curtain how this all

(05:04) comes together well I’m excited to do that because this year more than ever I have felt the enormous responsibility that we have here to provide these numbers giving USA is the longest running report in the charitable sector it dates back to 1985 and if you look behind my desk I have many uh many of those initial editions right here on my shelf but I wanted to even better understand this report so for this year’s report I went to our library we have a philanthropic studies library and looked at all the early editions from

(05:38) the 50s 60s and even 70s back then philanthropy was not as complex and sophisticated as it is today we have more than 1.3 million non-profits maybe 1.8 million non-profits in the US and we cover all of the giving that goes to those charitable organizations in addition America has changed since the 50s we have many of course more people it’s a more diverse economy and we also have many more tools on vehicles associated with giving which means tracking giving is not so simple as tracking down those large organizations

(06:17) there are smaller organizations they’re medium-sized organizations of all different types so we track the giving from the donor side so who gives individuals foundations corporations but also charitable because so all of that has to be understood and estimated and we use for some of those estimates we use very sophisticated models reflecting just how complex philanthropy is and then turning to the other side where does all the giving go and that has also changed since the 50s because we have new sub-sectors that

(06:52) have emerged environment giving to environmental causes has grown in the 50s and 60s that was a timing tiny tiny and wasn’t even tracked as a standalone sub-sector similarly giving to International causes something we take for granted with the war in Ukraine and disasters and crises around the world that also didn’t exist in the 50s and 60s so a lot has has happened since then and we have to do the uh I’d say the challenging but exciting work of keeping track of all those changes but at the same time what has stayed consistent and

(07:28) that’s what the inspiring message for today’s conversation is the generosity of Americans is one thing that has stayed the same we’ve seen that during good times we’ve also seen that during very challenging times how even during the past crises how Americans really stepped up to help their neighbors their their friends but even strangers that needed assistance and that’s been the Common Thread through our tracking of giving USA what really binds all this together is the generosity the expressions of caring for others that we

(08:02) see and then we get the fun but challenging tasks of keeping track of the numbers so it’s not enough to just say we know that giving went to this organization we have to know how much and ultimately how that giving is changing and it is changing so how many people touch the things that go into this report and you know I I just imagine somebody churning now nobody uses adding machines that’s really dated but sitting at computers with formulas and everything else how many folks and for how long this is a year-round project I’m glad

(08:41) you asked that question most people don’t don’t recognize that from the day giving USA launches to the next year we start working on it it’s almost right away so it’s a year-round project we have a research team of about 10 to 12 full-time staff that work on the report but we also have a team of graduate students that are involved with the report in one form or another and a team of volunteers from the giving USC Foundation remember this is a collaboration between the lily family school and our colleague yes giving

(09:16) Institute and so many other colleagues volunteer to read chapters to provide comments and so it is truly a year-round project but your kind of image is correct we have um very dedicated staff members but a lead statistician who works on this project John Bergdahl and then the leader on the writing side and the Productions side is my colleague Dr Anna Pruitt who works on all things related to the giving USA chapters and numbers so when we say it is a true collaboration it really is and we feel this tremendous of course responsibility

(09:55) to tell the story of American philanthropy because the report has been published continuously since the 50s so through all the upheavals that we’ve had and even more recently through the covet crisis where we had to um like many other non-profits around the country truly wrap our mind around how giving was changing and what that meant for American non-profits and households all over the country and in Kansas City as well there must be a big cheer though that goes up once that’s sent to the printer or the final thing I would imagine

(10:29) there’s a big woohoo it’s a lot of work absolutely and in fact the celebration usually starts um I’d say once we announce the results so on June 20th is the launch dates as you already know and throughout that period we are interfacing with non-profits with the media with many others but the launch date signals the essentially the completion of the project so that’s the time when all of us can actually just get excited and celebrate the contribution that all of us make to this work I wanted to go back and ask one more

(11:05) little technical question and then we’ll get into the big reveal of what’s happening and where we’re going you had said there’s about 1.8 million non-profits give or take I know in the Kansas City area alone we have about 8 000 non-profits kind of what role do the non-profits play in that where do you get these numbers from is it from the taxes is it from websites how do you find it you are asking some excellent questions and you are exactly right all non-profits are required to file a form 990 and that’s

(11:39) true for most organizations there are some small organizations that Grassroots may not file non-filers those exist but the majority are required to file a form 990 so we have access to all that data on the nonprofit side on the donor side it’s more complex because as you know although Americans all submit their taxes generally speaking of all income levels with tax reform we have only a small slice of that pie because only about 10 percent of Americans now itemize on their taxes which means for 90 we have to rely on other data sources

(12:16) fortunately for those of you who are data people in the audience since we have a tremendous resource here at the lily family school called the philanthropy panel study it tracks the same Americans over time about 10 000 families and that gives us what we call the non-itemizer estimate for charitable giving but on the foundation side on the corporate side and charitable because we also have some government data so a simple answer to your wonderful and thoughtful question is we have both government tax-based data sources for

(12:49) giving USA but we also lean on other data sources to fill in the gaps and that’s especially important for studying household giving where we know that not all households actually itemize their charitable contributions but many are still giving even when they don’t itemize because they take the standard deduction so this is uh inside baseball for those of you necessarily data people but for those who are there is a lot of complexity to charitable giving as I try to remind people this is not uh what it

(13:23) looked like in the 50s and 60s but it’s also fashionable yes it’s exciting to see how much the sector has grown and how complex but also very sophisticated and it also requires all of us to keep learning and keep growing because if the field is dynamic it’s not static at all okay so the big reveal how much and this is reporting for 2022 correct correct I’m glad you noticed that so the big reveal is that in 2022 giving reached a new level of 499 billion dollars that’s a big deal because this is uh really the first time

(14:07) uh during the pandemic that we saw giving cross the half a trillion dollar Mark so there’s a lot to celebrate in this year’s report but there’s also a lot to to be concerned about um what we also saw is that the economic environment in 2022 led to a decline in giving and this is after having several consecutive years of growth where giving actually fell so while we had this new record in terms of crossing the half a trillion dollar Mark when we look at what has happened during the pandemic it does look like giving

(14:43) has declined slightly and in that is mostly due to the effect of the economy inflation many of you know that we have a 40-year record Being set in terms of inflationary pressures as well as the stock market declining at the year end so when you put all these economic factors together giving actually overall giving fell however during the pandemic we set new records in terms of generosity so there’s both good news there to celebrate but also some challenges ahead as we navigate a lot of volatility and uncertainty not just here

(15:21) in the U.S in terms of our economy but in the global context so I want to make sure I understand it we raised more money than ever but giving in terms of across the board was down yes we did not keep it’s one way to think about it is we did not replace with inflation is a very simple way to put it I think most people know that uh our uh inflationary pressures have meant that when we go to the grocery store we’ve seen higher prices across the board so the economist to me would just say uh giving did not keep Pace with

(15:59) inflation and so that’s why we’re seeing uh that uh decline for 2022 however during those pandemic years we did set new records in terms of generosity so the numbers in 2022 have to be interpreted with all of that context that we had some record growth taking place during the pandemic and also that inflation and the stock market did have um an impact on the results for 2022 and for those who’ve been following the economy and listening to those uh caters I’m paying attention to all of those um

(16:37) both the good news and the bad news I think these numbers will resonate they won’t be that surprising okay so we know we have more money but less giving who are the winners where did we see okay we stayed the course or we even got a bump up then we’ll talk about the folks that weren’t so lucky okay so in general what we see is when we look at the cumulative picture and that’s important between 20 uh 2020 and 2022 in general total giving did go up but as as I mentioned when we adjust for inflation it didn’t keep Pace however uh

(17:15) where we actually saw the brightest spots are around corporate giving corporate giving um many of you know this corporations across the board did see overall increase in corporate profits on Aggregates of course not all companies are going to have this result but generally speaking we saw many companies step up in their generosity during the pandemic and even when we adjust for inflation this is looking over that two-year period 2020 to 2022.

(17:46) yes how did we do how did we uh how does the uh giving environment reflect all of the changes that we’ve seen so corporations really stand out as a White Spot because even after we adjust for inflation they’re still coming out ahead much of this is due to the increase in corporate pre-tax profits and the fact that many corporations leaned in to helping others during the community not just um health related but other types of racial and social justice giving and many other causes foundations are also a very bright spot in this year’s report even

(18:23) after we adjust for inflation looking over that two-year period Foundation giving also is still in the positive and the big uh reveal there is also that many foundations saw their um endowments increased right yes with the stock market growth and many of them increased their giving during the pandemic um relaxing payout rates in order to meet needs we saw not just large foundations but also small Family Foundation step up so for the non-profits and fundraisers who are paying attention we’ve emphasized that

(19:00) this is the time to really understand that full map of giving individual giving is still the Lion’s Share but foundations and corporations are an important part of the of the pie of the puzzle to figure out Okay so we’ve heard the bright spots who didn’t do so well as we look forward what what sectors really you know took a dip not even stay flat okay so that’s a good time to kind of turn our attention to changes in giving by destination this is where the giving goes and during the pandemic we know

(19:36) that a lot of non-profits found uh some success actually they saw that donors were giving more in response to the pandemic so 2022 if we look at those results once again over that two-year period the areas that seem to come out ahead in general when we look at that two-year period we’re really giving to International causes is one and here I will highlight that the warn Ukraine is a big factor there because many Americans have given to support the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and keep in mind that is not just a one-year

(20:15) effort it has sort of unfortunately continued but we’ve also seen donors persist in their giving be consistent in their giving and similarly International Organization innovate in other words find new ways to motivate and Inspire donors including subscription-based giving Which has found some resonance in that sector similarly when we look over that two-year period uh giving to foundations in other words people giving to their own foundations has also grown during this time responding to the stock market

(20:50) and many of the other economic factors throughout the pandemic I will also stress that um giving to Human Services increased during the pandemic years and while we’ve seen some tapering off of that with the abatement and also not being front and center in the news Human Services as kind of a you know relatively maintained during this period so I will just mention that in general one other area that we’ve seen um some persistence over time in terms of the last few years is giving to religion where religious congregations

(21:32) as you know did have a harder time during the pandemic simply because people weren’t attending services but as um Services have resumed in-person events have resumed we’ve seen as some return of giving to religious congregation so the growth rate over the two-year period which is kind of the way of looking at who’s lost ground who’s gained ground right see it it’s a at least um not not such a pessimistic picture when we look at religious congregations what had what surprised you as you looked at this year you know this

(22:12) 2022 I guess is the tail end of quote-unquote pandemic before now we get post pandemic anything that jumped out to you and your team of wow that’s a surprise yes um here the biggest finding I think that has we’ve spent a lot of time on is the pie chart in the past individual giving has always been the largest slice and it still is however we’ve seen it shrink as a share of overall giving uh when giving USA started in the 50s 60s even the 70s individual giving was over 80 percent of all giving today that’s down to more

(22:57) like 64 percent um so what has changed is that foundations are now a bigger slice of the pie in fact 20 of all giving comes from foundations now I want to put this in context because as I mentioned individual giving is still the Lion’s Share of American philanthropy and if we were to add individuals half of family foundations and charitable because we still have that individual’s control something like 88 of all giving however it’s important for non-profits to understand that how individuals give is

(23:36) changing they have many more options many more vehicles to make those contributions and for the non-profit sector it’s important to understand that changing landscape and also the role that foundations play whether those are foundations that are managed by professional staff or foundations that are organized by families which means it’s important to build relationships with those two types and understand those differences as well and I believe last year was the first year that you had included was a Donor

(24:11) advised funds yes so this year we have a standalone chapter again on Donor advised funds and that is a place where we’re seeing more America there’s been a tremendous amount of growth in doing advice funds more Americans are using them we’re also seeing shifts on the institutional side where it used to be that only wealthy households could open up dafts well today we have no minimum dapps at banks at other types of Institutions that allow the donor to set those up and use them to fund their charitable interests causes and

(24:48) organizations once again I think the shift means that uh non-profits have to engage donors understanding that they can give from many different sources we’ve got it’s a huge package of stuff I would like for you to take kind of your crystal ball now knowing all this past knowing what came in this year what does this say to those of us toiling in the field of non-profits what do we take away and try to put into our friend and fundraising efforts yes there’s so much to digest in this year’s report I think the biggest

(25:29) takeaway is to understand that generosity is a core value for many Americans and that we’ve seen in tough times in uh good times but also in very difficult times Americans give as we navigate what happens in a world that’s so different from the one we knew even before covid I think it’s the takeaway here is that nonprofits are also going to have to adapt their methods their tools of Engagement to meet donors where they are and embedded in this report is the understanding that we’re dealing with significant shifts in the economy

(26:06) certainly but also in the American uh in American communities where we have a much more diverse donor Base by age by Race by ethnicity but also uh the causes that donors care about and so one takeaway from me as we look ahead 2023 I’m even looking ahead to 2024 we’re hearing a lot more about the risk of a downturn recession recessionary risks but also even with the inflation continues to be high even with the tapering off so for fundraisers and non-profits I think the main thing is while you can’t control the macro

(26:43) economy you are not the one setting policy around interest rates are inflationary uh policies however what you can control is your relationships with your donors yes and more importantly than ever technology is playing such an important role in how donors learn about non-profits how they engage with causes and how they get involved and during the last few months we released a report of the lily family school called what Americans think about philanthropy and non-profits the surprise there is that most households

(27:18) don’t know very much about non-profits and they don’t know very much about how they work so what that tells me me is in this era of information and so much available at our fingertips we’re going to have to work really hard to tell our story storytelling is very important this is coming from someone who’s a data person data is part of that data is part of telling the story but authentic communication and engagement is going to be really key with donors having of course more economic concerns

(27:50) to think about but also wanting those opportunities to engage with their Community we know that um during covet we saw an uptick in pro-social behavior and some of that is really still very much evident in our communities where people of all different backgrounds are looking for ways to get involved so the challenge and opportunity for non-profits in Kansas City and throughout the country is to tell their story to get their message out and also to find ways to authentic quickly build relationships with donors of all

(28:27) different backgrounds because the Common Thread what really unites us As Americans is this commitment to generosity and and this giving us a report emphasizes that point all right this is your couple of seconds to plug where we can go what website to learn more about the Lily School okay well first of all let me just say if you want to learn more about the Lilly Family School uh you can go to www.

(28:59) iupui dots lfsop.edu that’s certainly one place to go um the other place to go is the givingusa.org website because that giving USC Foundation is our partner in all these things and uh specifically if you’re interested in research we have a standalone website called generosityforlife.org that has all of the data about generosity everything you could possibly want to know at your fingertips so feel free to search that website as well we’re excited to share all of this information as you can see Dr osely thank you so much this has been

(29:36) a great conversation I know our audience has learned a whole lot about how this comes together and how they can use it so thank you for joining us it was my pleasure and honor and thank you and please uh feel free to reach out with any other questions you have thank you for joining us for KC cares Kansas City’s non-profit voice this KC care segment was brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.kauffman.org.

(30:04) org spread the love and you can find KC cares on Facebook and Twitter at KC cares Radio and on Instagram at KC cares online and don’t forget you can catch us Saturday mornings at 8 A.M on ESPN 1510 a.m and 94.5 FM thank you for joining us on KC cares

Previous Episodes!

Overcoming Adversity Through Entrepreneurship

Na’am Al-Amin | Founder

In this compelling interview, Na’am Al-amin shares his transformative journey from incarceration to entrepreneurship. After serving three prison terms, Na’am faced significant barriers to employment. Undeterred, he founded Swag Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes ownership and provides employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals. Swag Inc. also offers supportive services such as transportation and food vouchers, and works with employers to change their recruitment practices. Na’am’s story is a powerful testament to resilience, transformation, and the power of second chances. His work is not just about helping individuals, but also about changing systems and perceptions. This interview is a must-read for anyone interested in social justice, entrepreneurship, and the power of personal transformation.

visit them here: swagginc.org


What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What is Swag Inc. and what does it do?
  2. How does Swag Inc. help formerly incarcerated individuals find employment?
  3. How did Na’am Al-amin’s personal experiences shape the creation of Swag Inc.?
  4. What are some of the challenges Swag Inc. faces in its mission?
  5. How can the community support the work of Swag Inc.?

Find us on

Facebook:@ Kccaresradio

Twitter: @kccaresradio

Instagram: @Kccaresonline


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


(00:00) behind them KC cares is the intersection of the non-profit and profit communities making Kansas City a better place to live work and play this KC cares segment is brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.kauffman.org I’m Ruth Baum Bigus people who have been incarcerated often face an uphill battle when it comes to employment opportunities the Bureau of Justice statistics claims that approximately 60 percent are formerly incarcerated individuals will struggle with unemployment compared to the low

(00:34) unemployment rate of just under four percent for the general population those have experienced incarceration spend 0.8 to 4.2 years without jobs these are daunting odds but they didn’t stop Naim al-amin incarcerated for a number of years Naim left prison and worked to make his future as well as that for others productive naeem started swag Inc it’s a local non-profit focused on promoting ownership for those who have been incarcerated and working to prevent others from going down that path we welcome naeem to KC cares it’s so

(01:11) great to have you good morning Ruth and I’m grateful to be here glad to be with KC cares this morning well I feel like we should really start with your sharing your story and your journey it goes back even to Childhood and I I was a little shocked when I learned that would you share what you you feel comfortable with absolutely and I appreciate you for allowing me to elaborate on my story and the 30-year Journey has been in introducing a new business model in the mass incarceration space and so for me um I like to think of it as

(01:47) environmental when we consider the way that an environment can impact someone’s trajectory or their future and so for me that would come by way of the foster care system um I was born in Junction City Kansas with my nucleus family and I was eventually placed in foster care because of my mother’s dysfunction and uh struggles with alcoholism and in that environment I went from Junction City Kansas to Los Angeles California went from a place where um I was introduced to gangs graffiti drugs um uh militarization of police

(02:23) presidents in the community things that I hadn’t seen before and I was approached by a gang and they asked me to commit a robbery but the way that they approached me Ruth was uh interesting they said to me hey we know you just moved into that [Music] do you know again so you were telling us about you’re in LA and how did you get in introduced into a life of crime right well uh it will come by way of the environment that I would will be uh introduced to and so I went from a place where I enjoyed my nucleus family my

(03:01) sisters my cousin uh we didn’t have any uh uh police sirens or any gunshots in our environment our gang’s presence right I didn’t know anything about that culture but being in Los Angeles California in the late 80s um that was the climate of the day and so I was approached by a gang in my neighborhood they said hey we know you just moved to this uh foster home do you know who your father is I said no I don’t they said well here’s a gun go rob somebody bring us what you get back or you can’t live here and that was my

(03:31) instructions and I was terrified um I bet you were how old were you uh this was 1987 and I was eight years old when this happened oh my gosh yes um but was was perturbing Ruth is the the the my experience in the police station got my interaction with the police I mean they prosecute they process booked me fingerprinted took photographs of me and placed me in a cell with grown men they never directed me to talk to a social worker or a counselor or even ask how I got in this position right and that would be my introduction to the

(04:07) criminal justice system at eight years old and create a trajectory for me um 18 21 and 35 in terms of being incarcerated three times as an adult my head around that and what that experience must have been can you share a little bit of what happened you know with those other times obviously did you go into a juvenile justice system when you were that young right so what happened subsequently absolutely uh to to unpack that further um at nine years old I started drinking um at 10 I seen someone murdered for the

(04:49) first time and by 11 I was running away from the foster care system to escape the sexual and physical abuses that I was experiencing not only by my foster parents but also by the other boys in the group home and so I ran away and I joined one of the largest gangs in Los Angeles California in the rolling 60 Crips as a way to protect myself and have some seamless of family and I would actually be introduced to juvenile hall at 13 that’s where I actually turned 13 in juvenile hall and so it’s been a progression of of of me having birthdays

(05:24) uh in incarcerated setting and returning to the community pressing the start over button right and so um that’s what this this journey has been like for me and the things that I had to overcome in developing a 10-rung ladder if you will to to illustrate my social upper mobility and so for me my 10 runs would be dysfunction trauma poverty systemic racism foster care gang nice prison also disenfranchisement and then moving on to ownership it’s on that 10th rung through the vehicle of social entrepreneurship creating a nonprofit

(06:00) they’re introducing new business model in the master conservation space to elevate people who have been impacted like I have okay I feel there’s a jump in there somewhere though that we missed so you’ve gone through the system you’ve in terms of foster care and then joining a gang and you were in the criminal justice system when did you come out and what was that like for you right um so I came out of different uh uh timelines in in in my um adulthood right and so I went in at 18 in 1997 um right after graduating high school

(06:38) and I went for kidnapping and it was a situation in which I didn’t commit that crime but I said I did in order to protect someone because I was under that mindset right of that that um that gang bang mindset and so um that’s what my loyalties lied and I hadn’t got my prison Stripes yet right and that’s a that’s a that’s a um that is a rise of Passage however counterintuitive it may sound for us that are in that culture right um being able to have your prison Stripes is equivalent to you know being

(07:11) a king and so that’s what I was striving for and I was able to get that um and so nevertheless um I didn’t commit the crime and so that’s the disenfranchisement the prosecutor and the defendant they read a statement that said I didn’t have anything to do with it and the person I did that they let go and the judge was upset about that he gave me 10 years and he suspended eight and a half for that so um I received um a year and a half in prison I did at that time and I came back out to the community and I

(07:40) went right back to what I was doing which was gang Banking and selling drugs because again my mindset hasn’t elevated yet um and I was still stuck in that um uh idea that this is all I had because this is all that my environment communicated to me right I think the perceived instability Theory speaks to that you know your environment either supports your upper social Mobility or it confirms that you know there is no upper social Mobility for you right and so um that’s where I was at in my life at that time

(08:12) um progressing on to 21 when I went to prison a second time um in the interim of that uh I experienced a lot of loss Ruth uh in terms of that gangbang culture um losing a lot of friends being shot myself um and just um being in danger and I decided at that time that I didn’t want to be a part of that lifestyle anymore um however I still see for me I grew up in a drug trade right that’s the other um byproduct of joining the gang right there’s different routes you can take right you can uh be a killer you can be

(08:49) a drug dealer you can be someone that stays in the hood and and is there for target practice as we say um or you could just be there uh doing nothing and so for me it was about getting money right that’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I did and I came up through those predictions of first developing a relationship to have the product which wasn’t easy to do in the early 90s um and then having a corner to fail that on moving on to a drug house and then moving on to being able to go to be uh to have Commerce in terms of trans

(09:23) transient in and out of state right and so that’s the gradation that I came up through and that’s what I did and that’s what I brought with me at 21 even though I was done with that lifestyle of perpetuating violence um and I was arrested fairly quickly for possession of marijuana with intent to sell back in 2001 and so even though I had 21 Grams um I was sent to prison I received a four-year prison sentence and I served three and a half and really during that time is where I started to really do self-introspection

(09:57) about what I was responsible for in my life the different things that I had been through and what I wanted to go moving forward and I decided um at that time when I was stuck between a choice between life and death I chose Freedom through education and so I said when I get out of prison I’m gonna go to Kansas State University and I’m gonna be able to start a career after I earned a degree and subsequently I would earn three degrees from Kansas State University to Bachelor’s of science one in sociology criminology and as in

(10:30) Psychology that transferred actually from cloud Community College and so um I had a wonderful time at Kansas State University I mean it you know I went from I went I went from someone that um that that only seen white people that were in the positions of power in terms of police and then also uh teachers at the grade school level where I didn’t have favorable outcomes with them right and I was in an environment that that was populated by black people that looked like me so I had no other interactions with anybody right right

(11:04) other than the people close in my environment within those in Authority right and so I was missing out on life as well um and so but Kansas State University had an opportunity to join the student government Association um connect with a lifelong friend as it would turn out in Adam tank um I I became president of the criminology Club I tried out for the K-State football team uh you know that was awesome wow all right uh under Prince and Snyder so um it was just an amazing experience where I got to culturize and cultivate

(11:39) myself and meet a lot of people and and uh uh really learn that the business of life through uh through Academia and so um how marvelous that experience was Ruth all the good things come to an end and I graduated in 2010 um and I hit the the the the the market hard with my my degrees and I went zero for 200 over a three-year period no employer would hire me they they only referred to to my drug offense that I went to prison for for the for marijuana right and so I was going through a lot of uh uh different emotions in terms of you

(12:18) know the path I’m gonna tell you because remember I’ve made a decision where you know um I’ve decided that that prior life or those prior life experiences was an indulgent time in my life where I took more than I gave and I didn’t want to revisit that and be that person again you know but the the the first rule of nature of self-preservation and you know for me I came up through the drug trade and that was easy to get back into and that’s what I did um and I did that for for a couple years

(12:48) and I remember going back home it’s three years now and um going and I’m like wow I’m doing the same thing um and I don’t want to do it but um I happen to to go uh to the marathon store are you familiar with the marathon store I heard of the marathon brand I am not okay well here’s a a a a a a good story that I like to share with you about um a conversation on Legacy and how it changed my life um but I’m going back home I’m beat up by uh the workforce can’t get no opportunities I’m back

(13:23) selling drugs and I go to buy uh some drugs from home and bring back to Kansas and in in the process I run across one of my uh friends from my neighborhood who was in the process of signing their first major music deal and his name is Nipsey hustle have you heard of nipsy hustle yes okay so that’s nipsy hustle uh and he has the marathon brand but um we both grew up in the same Community from the same neighborhood from the same game and there’s a decade apart in terms of our age group with me being a little older than them and so

(13:56) man I’m excited to talk to him and I’m like yo bro who you going to sign with Rick Ross or some other uh major label and he’s like for me it’s about patience I know the moment that I signed that contract my life changes forever it’s about ownership creating a long-term plan and elevating the status of the people around me that’s what’s important to me which will ultimately become the values of our organization at swagging um but I didn’t understand the language she was saying to me at the time I had

(14:22) never heard this word ownership elevating the people around me being patient in the midst of a multi-billion dollar deal and want to reinvest in your community and and speaking about economics and ownership and business all these things were new to me and and that’s the magnificence of of that 20-minute conversation that we had um because I would carry that and I would work on that business plan incarcerated a third time at 35 with a five-year private sentence for not testifying on a friend that was under investigation and that would be my

(14:57) third time in prison after graduating Kansas State University looking to to start a career uh getting shut out um by the HR department and you know just really struggling to to you know with self-efficacy and and being able to provide for my family and those kind of things and so um but I didn’t let that stop me I reflected on the conversation that I had with Nipsey um and also a conversation that I had with my daughter on the phone who was serving this five-year prison sentence right um my daughter asthma I was calling her

(15:31) uh to check on her and it’s about I’m about two years in at this time two three years in and I say hey baby how you doing today she says Daddy I’m doing good now but I wasn’t good earlier I said why what happened she said well we had donuts with Dad day and my seat was empty but my friends wasn’t I said wow yeah it broke my heart um started tearing up immediately and you know I was torn because you know mass incarceration so it’s really it’s really less about those that are incarcerated

(16:02) and more about what they leave behind family society and economy and in this situation you know you had a judge a prosecutor a public Pretender a a bailiff a clerk right who all knew that I committed no crime to send me to prison for five years right and so um I knew that there was guilt by association but I also knew that I wasn’t given opportunity and so it’s kind of it’s a struggle when you know you’re disenfranchising you’re still trying to to seek ownership right yourself and um so but I was able to

(16:38) materialize that through writing the the um business model for swag Inc you know in terms of so you you wrote it while you were in prison absolutely I was in Lansing Correctional Facility um serving a part of my five-year prison sentence and and again um another story with my daughter that she seems to inspire the best of me um even against my will you know I didn’t want her to come to a maximum security uh prison to see me um you know but it had been a few years and she needed to see her dad and so my mom

(17:10) you know she she um she brought her up to see me and she says to me she says daddy um she says uh you know when she went to when I went when she went to when I went to prison she was four she was about seven now you know she’s missed me at donuts with dad’s day and she’s having conversations I imagine about my absence and what jail means and these kind of things and so she says uh to me you know what did you do to get in here and I said I put the family before the streets and she said nah tell me what you did daddy

(17:42) what’d you do and I said well um I was selling drugs and she said uh well why would you do that and I said well I was having a hard time fighting the job and she said well why wouldn’t you be more patient and I said well I should have consulted with you first consulted with you first right and and so then I remember what Nipsey told me about being patient and about ownership and creating a long-term plan and elevating the status of the people around you and so I was sort of looking at my environment in a different way as

(18:15) a way to uh to be collaborative and I didn’t know if then Ruth but I was using the five principles of design thinking to craft out my business plan in Lansing Correctional Facility uh those principles being empathy Ida prototype Define and test so again empathy Ida prototype defined and test in the empathy piece what we’re doing is looking to solve for the pain points of someone before generating Revenue right and so that’s the idea and that’s what we’re able to do um the Ida part is you know what

(18:51) services do you need and for everybody that I talk to in that environment was if I had employment prior to release right that was the main tenant have an employment prior to release um uh if the Ida prototype never go in never go back and help employers change the way they recruit right connecting employers to that untapped talent in the Department Corrections Define swagging serve witness and give guidance inspiration never ceases and and that’s what we do and tests again never go in never go back and helping employers change the way they

(19:25) recruit and we had a proofing concept um with UPS which was the employer that gave me my first opportunity out of prison um I was hired as a package handler within four months I was promoted to Human Resources I introduced my business plan as I have been transversing through the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Kansas City MO shout out to the ecosystem shout out to Rick Usher we’re doing a fantastic job and the management installed value allowed me to work autonomously co-brand swagging ups and focus my hiring

(19:56) initiatives on return citizens and in a year I was able to increase retention by 70 percent attendance by 50 percent and zero recidivism meaning none of our clients returned back to prison after hiring and this was really phenomenal rule if we had ups HR team in uh and uh the the one of the 44 districts uh probation and parole officers doing a hiring fair right and hiring in real time and and I’m the HR supervisor where they’d be working with and also the community partner uh in the non-profit that is supporting them in the community

(20:30) and the employer and so that’s how we would um Branch off to being able to partner with larger corporations like jaida construction Big Brothers Big Sisters and Global Industries this is an amazing story what resilience you have and what a wise daughter maybe you should hire your daughter you know she seems to be quite the go-getter and and wise Beyond her years I I would like for you to just tell us you know briefly if you can how did you go about them establishing swag here you are you come out you you finally get some employment some

(21:14) stability and then you decide okay I’m gonna do a non-profit and this is what I want to do so how did you make that happen well it really again it really speaks to the entrepreneurial ecosystem um but um also also being a Visionary I didn’t know at the time that I was introducing a model that had never been seen before in terms of pre-entry planning working with people one year prior to release Improvement offering a suite of services and then also one to three years in the community helping them to discharge probation and parole

(21:47) while having partner with employers that will compensate us to recruit for them and leveraging our 501c3 taxes entity uh with donors foundations and um and granting opportunities um and so I didn’t know all this was going on but it would be through education um which is really the vehicle to ownership and I had an opportunity to be in the Aaron Levitt change maker challenge offered by UMKC I participated in determination Incorporated entrepreneurial program for returning citizens three times over uh before our

(22:22) place in the final third time um I was in the first business cohort of porterhouse KC uh developing entrepreneurs and in fact that’s where I met one of my my best my best friends and mentors and Joe Goldberg the voice of the Kansas City Royals uh and that in that cohort um I had an opportunity to be in the Heartland Chambers uh business Encore program and so it was a lot of upskilling and then a lot of presenting um in that in that way but I think the the the opportunity that allowed me to really share my story on scale and work

(23:01) with with employment partners of the work that I do with our clients um in that role as a HR supervisor with ups and so here’s the timeline so I was released from prison March 22nd 2018 after serving five years uh I was released homeless geographically displaced and without any money and so I went through 2018 um I was hired at UPS and I did that up until 2020.

(23:29) so a couple things happened uh Kobe was introduced and the relationship that we had with probation and paroles that allowed us to do those in-person hiring events was no longer there and so I was actually introduced to the Department of Corrections at a state level which was then Kansas City re-entry Center and at that time in 2020 they had no Warden and no re-entry coordinator right and so who’s how who who’s man in the hell that was the first question and and what who’s managing who’s managing the zoo absolutely you got it

(24:06) and so um so we did that and I was able to pitch kcr team on that pre-entry approach for a year and and they accepted that and so I crafted out that model at the same time UPS was transitioned into AI to deliver the HR functions and so I accepted the severance package which allowed me to just transition fully into the role of the founder and fuel of swagging and and that would be the entrance into into really really being a part of a new of a new funding model and I had an opportunity to look at another one of your

(24:45) interviews with Chris Rawson uh United Way and he touched on the trust-based funding right and I thought that was really amazing and and really excited that he really unpacked what that looks like because prior to that model being introduced as a as a social Enterprise what we’re looking at you know empowering people the metrics doesn’t match with a foundation that’s looking to make money right that kind of thing right they’re not equipped for that and so we we went in a lot of um uh conversations that were great but

(25:18) ended up with no funding so uh with the admin of that trust-based funding which is really a collaborative relationship where you know you allow this founder to fund the parts of their business that that they need to be funded and even funding them and so it will for us it will come through the Hadley project KC um have you heard of the Halley project KC roof really oh that’s an amazing well tell us in a nugget because I don’t want us to end the program without you sharing too how the community can help what you’re

(25:50) doing absolutely and so the Halley project KC is a trust based and funding entity and so they support black Founders who focus on social inequities in their Community right it had a three-year funding opportunity that we’re able to be a part of and we’re in our third year of that funding opportunity and so it’s been majoring in us being able to mobilize the idea we’re sharing in terms of promoting ownership for people impacted by mass incarceration um the way that the community can support us um is in sharing that idea right of

(26:25) promoting ownership for people impacted by mass incarceration we’re always looking for volunteers to connect with that’s why I think we have amazing opportunities in the different um parts of the services that we provide for our clients we’re over on Truth at equal-minded Cafe and event center and we have a support group every Sunday from 10 a.m to 11 A.

(26:47) M for people and families impacted by mass incarceration as a way to people from that experience and connect with the community how many lives have you can you say you’ve touched and changed at this point that’s a really great question um and I’ll have to say uh there’s been a fight I’m going into my fifth year and uh you know again I was in human resources at UPS I was also with the Full Employment Council as a career development executive and then being in the role of the founder and CEO of Swag Inc and so I would say up to a thousand

(27:22) at this point um I’ve been I’ve been in decision making roles in in both in all three categories and I’m just looking to help someone you know I don’t have any barriers I’m just looking to help someone well you’re doing it I know you you have a variety of programs you have Mentor opportunities you have um you’re trying to help those who come out get employed it sounds like you’re working within the business Community what would you say is your greatest challenge at this point our greatest challenge has been we’ve

(27:54) been in the Department of Corrections being who they say they are um and so our model was designed to be an incarcerated setting and I intimated you know working with kcrc and helping them develop that model there we went live in April of 2022 and swag Inc is no longer a program and service provider there we were kicked out because we held them accountable um we came from the premise of ownership and also that this is business not charity you know we have a Dei model at swag Inc that that you know we we value

(28:27) and so diversity for swag Inc is developing relationship with employers that allow our clients to transition as stakeholders Equity is creating market value assets that allow our clients to be portable amongst Industries and inclusion is promoting that ownership for people impacted by mass incarceration but also elevating the people in positions the power to do something about it right and so when people Elevate their mindsets reduce their barriers and provide access you gotta be ready to go we can’t be disenfranchising

(28:56) people and and just repeating the same thing that that recidivism model that recipe for recidivity so that’s the biggest challenge um but we’re we’re um working through those challenges daily we’re still being able to connect with people and families and Elevate them that have been impacted we currently have five clients that we’re serving uh we have three go through our first cohort with je Dunn construction for opportunity there we have a client working at big brothers and big sisters and we want to say a tremendous thank

(29:26) you and shout out to Goodwill Industries for providing the Supportive Services that we need in terms of Transportation um vouchers food vouchers also upskilling and um just being a resource for us so we want to say thank you to them as well maim you’re doing incredible work what guts resilience and everything I want to make sure everybody knows go check out the organization at www.swagginc.

(29:58) org thank you so much for your time and and we will love watching you as you continue this journey all right thank you Bruce it’s been a pleasure to be on KC care thank you for joining us for KC cares Kansas City’s non-profit voice were produced by charitable Communications also a non-profit this KC care segment was brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.kauffman.

(30:22) org if you’d like to be a guest on KC cares like Naim or if you’d like to underwrite what we do in the community visit our website kckersonline.org and spread the love you can find us on Facebook and Twitter at KC cares Radio and on Instagram at KC cares online and don’t forget you can catch us on Saturday mornings at 8 A.M at ESPN 1510 a.m and 94.

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Nonprofit Leadership Transition Insights

Mike English | Vice President

In this insightful interview, Mike English, a seasoned expert in non-profit leadership transition, shares his wisdom on the challenges non-profits face due to high turnover rates among executive directors. He discusses the importance of finding the right leader to fulfill an organization’s mission and offers strategies to navigate leadership transitions smoothly. From setting up a search committee to conducting rigorous interviews and managing internal candidates, English provides a comprehensive guide to non-profit leadership transition. This interview is a must-watch for anyone involved in non-profit management, offering valuable insights to ensure the long-term success of your organization.

visit them here: morancompany.com


What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. Why is the turnover rate for non-profit executive directors so high?
  2. How can a non-profit find the right leader for the organization?
  3. What should a non-profit leadership transition process include?
  4. What are the potential challenges in a non-profit leadership transition, and how can they be avoided?
  5. How can a non-profit manage internal candidates during a leadership transition?

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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 


In partnership with: 

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Take risks. Own success. Be Uncommon.

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(00:00) looking Kansas City a better place to live work and play this KC care segment is brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation kauffman.org. as an executive director running a non-profit organization is no easy task they are staffed to manage or a lack of Staff fundraising Financial oversight programs and events to attend a board to work with and volunteers to recruit and work with and so much more it’s running a business despite the tax designation statistics indicate the turnover rate for executive directors is between 18

(00:36) and 22 percent the expectation is a non-profit board can look to navigate a leadership transition every four to five years so how can a non-profit find the Right leader for the organization and fulfill its Mission what should a search include what are the bumps in the road and how can you avoid them well we’ve gone to an expert in this space as part of our ask the expert series and we welcome back Mike English he’s vice president for search strategies and Senior search consultant for the Moran company which is based here in Kansas

(01:07) City and conducts these searches on a daily basis Mike comes to us having been a guest on the show a few years years back as an executive director himself turned the page so welcome back Mike we’re glad to have you thank you Ruth it’s great to be here all right well we want to share with our audience uh you navigated your own search for your replacement and then I decided it was so much fun you wanted more right yes I had been an executive director for for some different non-profit organizations for oh gosh

(01:40) about 20 years and most recently was executive director at Turn the Page KC a local non-profit organization um I was there about eight years um you know I I was ready to move on I think it was good for the organization too as this happens I think at a for a lot of people in in that role and so um we conducted kind of our own search and and um I was a big part of that and really enjoyed it so like you said I I’ve made that transition to to working in executive search for non-profit organizations uh full-time uh with the

(02:11) Moran company what was that transition like for you you had been at the home for so long so I wonder jumping the fence right it you know it was it was it was good I I really enjoyed uh the non-profit culture and the people in nonprofit organizations and that includes staff and board and so that in this role I get to work with um non-profit boards all over the country and so it’s been it’s been pretty seamless because it’s it’s you know that’s a role I know really well and so um as I do this work it’s um I really

(02:50) enjoy kind of trying to make that match between what the organization needs and and people out there that can do it well well let’s Dive Right In I I started the show with some statistics that I think might surprise some folks you know changing a leader every four to five years what’s behind that that seems like not long tenure right it is you know it’s it’s not easy work being an executive director and so there there is certainly I think some burnout that that executive directors face um after a number of years and so

(03:29) um I think that’s that’s certainly part of it and you know what we you know and and the person hired isn’t always the the best fit and so what we really try to do is make sure that that match between executive director and board and organizational culture is really strong and really the right fit so that we get a longer tenure in that in that organization so yeah I think it’s the the reason behind that turnover is probably simply just it’s not easy work and um it really is important to find a

(04:02) really good match between organization and and or um executive director this might be an odd question but I’m wondering what’s like the failure rate overall kind of in the industry when you do go and you hire somebody and it just doesn’t work out right it’s a good question it’s it’s you know for search firms like ours um typically executive search firms provide a one-year guarantee and so if the individual leaves in under a year the company does that surge again for free and so um typically firms measure that

(04:43) as the success rate so you know what are the um percentage of placements that last the year and also once a person lasts that first year they’re um more likely to be there long term for for us I think it’s over 95 percent of our placements uh last over a year and of course we’re doing more and more searches each year and so um we’re not quite sure you know how long people will last because they’re still in the role and hopefully won’t be a long a long time but you know when an organization invests in a search and

(05:14) brings in professionals to help conduct that search in my experience it’s more likely to end up with a long-term placement all right let’s start at the very beginning you’re that board president and you get that call that letter that email that says I’m leaving for whatever reason right how do you begin as that organization take us through that kind of thought process right the first the first kind of um variable is how long um is that person going to stay what is your notice in terms of when is that

(05:54) person going to leave if you have if you have ample notice and it’s maybe it’s a retirement or it’s a person who’s um just decided to to move on but is willing to stay several months until a replacement can be found uh that’s ideal and so what that board president um would do and what we recommend that person do is is establish a search committee and so that’s a committee of board members typically sometimes with staff as well uh to serve as that um representation of the board when conducting a surgeon at this point

(06:27) and this is how we get work of course those search firms will determine they want to hire a firm to to lead the search and so that’s when we kind of come in the process and um and help the organizations um in some cases or in a lot of cases unfortunately there may not be that sort of notice so that executive director maybe has found a new job and it’s going to be leaving in a few weeks or maybe they’re leaving abruptly and in those cases what most nonprofits will then do is um find an interim executive director

(06:59) and that’s that’s an important step in order to provide some stability into to find that interim executive director uh that non-profit May identify a senior leader within the organization so maybe your CFO or a chief development officer someone who who they can ask to serve as that interim a lot of cases that’s the board member will offer to serve as that interim executive director and then there there are people out there that um that are Pros that are maybe that are retired directors or Consultants that

(07:30) can come in and be hired to serve as an interim so if it’s an Abrupt departure an interim can really help to provide that stability while that surge takes place so so those are the two scenarios longer term or more urgent search and those are kind of the first steps the the board president would take how critical is it to find the right person to be that interim it’s it depends on the circumstances of the organization so um it in some cases you’ll have a non-profit that’s really in um chaos or in flux

(08:08) um and if that’s the case uh it’s really important to find the right person to help provide stability maybe clean up any issues there might be because you don’t want a new permanent executive director to come in uh to a situation that is that is chaos and so that would be the most important time to find a really solid interim is when there are things that need to be stabilized um in other cases where it’s maybe it’s a the organization is in really strong shape a lot of non-profits boards will

(08:44) see this as an opportunity maybe to test somebody out right so you’ve gotta okay in your leader that could be a great internal candidate and by appointing that person the interim executive director and then conducting a search at the same time they can really you know see if that person is successful so um there may be some um uncertainty there by appointing a current staff member as the interim but it’s a good opportunity in some cases how often do you all encounter uh you know being involved in a search where

(09:15) they say we don’t want that interim as our executive director we we want a caretaker keep things stable I’m just curious where that lands it’s a good it’s it’s a good question I would say about 50 in my experience will will have a board that um uh if there’s an interim in place that person is uh is going to be an internal candidate for the position um and and you might be thinking well why would you even do a search if you’re gonna point an interim that you may end up hiring well for for one one things

(09:50) that what I mentioned before it’s an opportunity to give that person a chance to prove prove themselves but then also I think by um it’s it provides credibility to that person if they are ultimately hired as the permanent executive director because they they provided area they conducted a search so in in other cases there the expectation is that the interim executive director will not be a candidate for the job it’s important to be upfront about that uh with that interim executive director um and so uh in those cases that’s about

(10:25) another half of the searches that at least I’ve been a part of where there is an interim the expectation is that person will um be there Just As a caretaker I want to Circle back you had said you know setting up that search committee it’s usually some board members may include staff what’s your opinion about also bringing in I guess I would say clients recipients the people that you actually serve with what your nonprofit’s mission is is that part of the mix it is and I I think it’s that’s a really

(10:57) important part of the mix in terms of gathering feedback and input on the attributes that the organization should be looking for and so in all of our searches we conduct uh interviews and surveys of recipients of clients of um of stakeholders at the very beginning and then develop what we call the position profile that then helps us uh work on that search um and so I think no matter what that’s a very important first step in terms of the search committee itself that’s the committee that it’s going to

(11:32) be interviewing and ultimately making the decision about who to make the job offer to and so um in most cases that is limited to board members um and in some cases staff will be a part of that as well um to a lesser extent uh General Community stakeholders or clients are part of that so the search committees together you’re doing the homework at the beginning of what do we want in a leader um an attribute survey I guess or uh what is it we’re looking for how important is it in that part of the process is it what we’re not

(12:12) looking for very important very important so so that once that recruiting starts or that that posting of the position is is made then um everybody understands what you’re now looking for because there may be some very strong candidates on paper that um that the organization there there’s there’s maybe some you know it could be a management style or a personality style that the organization knows would create conflict with staff and you do know that and then that may be a management style you can avoid for

(12:48) example if um an organization and a lot of non-profits are this way or really looking for a collaborative leader then um you know that you’re not looking for sort of a very top-down my way or the highway away type leader and so then during that Outreach and those interviews the the search committee knows okay well this is probably not the best fit for our culture how do you really ascertain that as you said people look great on paper how how do you find that out if somebody’s uh this is how I run it this is how it goes or I love to sit

(13:26) around and have that cup of coffee and really find out what it’s all about right I think the first thing you do is you ask them and there are clever ways to do that in an interview is it because when you when you ask about a person’s leadership style um most people are going to give an answer that they think you want to hear right and maybe it’s true maybe it’s not but but by by asking about scenarios and and practical examples there are ways to really uncover what their management style is and and those questions that I

(13:57) find are most helpful about conflict so how have you how do you handle a certain conflict give us an example and those questions can can help ascertain what that person’s management style really is and then of course once if it’s a finalist candidate and you’re doing references that’s something that you can really find out by checking references so we kind of jumped over the uh you’ve got the job description you put it out there in whatever places and and are there places that you would recommend that you should

(14:26) absolutely be posting these kinds of positions yes for sure if it’s Kansas City the the non-profit connect is is the probably go-to place for posting non-profit jobs and executive director jobs um since we work in cities all over the country uh we typically try to find that um that type of non-profit Association organization to post that position um and then the um there are a number of different job sites nationally that we typically use um that help us to find um candidates by sector or um some that are good at helping to generate a more

(15:10) diverse portfolio of candidates and then of course LinkedIn is is really emerging as a a great place to circulate positions and get candidates you know I would say for our searches we probably get over 50 percent of our our candidates see the job or hear about it from LinkedIn that’s interesting we’re talking with Mike English the Moran company filling Us in on all those critical things that we should be doing if you’re looking for an executive director Mike so you’ve got the job description out

(15:39) there it’s floating around in all the appropriate places how long do you wait to start you know saying okay we have enough and what is that critical number well so we put a time limit on it so we put about a six week recruiting period so once that position is posted we have it posted an application portal open for six weeks and during that time we’re doing active Outreach as well so um the some of the best candidates you’ll find for a job aren’t necessary they’re not necessarily looking and so

(16:16) um by getting the word out talking to lots of people we’re able to kind of uncover or um uh I guess uh new candidates that may not see that on a posting so after about six weeks uh we then move quickly into that Final Phase which is evaluating applications identifying who we want to interview and then moving through a few rounds of interviews and to kind of narrow the field and find the perfect candidate so I wouldn’t put a necessarily a number of applicants uh numbers out there but a but a time period is is a good way to

(16:51) you may have you may have a hundred you may have 200 candidates you may have 20 but if you’re doing you’re recruiting you’re an Outreach well you’ll have the right person at the end okay so going back to that search committee then who conducts the interviews you know sometimes search committees are really big sometimes they’re not so big right who does the talking are they asking I like a search committee that’s got maybe four or five people on it and and so during the interviews with the

(17:24) candidates and to do multiple rounds of interviews we find it’s it’s it’s a good start to do it over Zoom um and so over Zoom or whatever platform you use um and so that way you can you know interview several people um over zoom in a first round and and um sort of divide up the questions or the topic areas uh is a good way to make sure that the full committee is engaged in participating and talking on on the call and asking those interview questions so um and then after that sort of what we call the zoom round that

(18:00) maybe that initial round or that semi-finalists around candidates then it’s important to bring them in in person and so then that search committee again will interview maybe two or three kind of finalist candidates and then um at that point a non-profit has to decide do we want the full board to have a say in this higher and be part of that interview process or are they delegating that uh decision-making power to the search committee and that really varies by the type of organization and the size of the board if the full board is going

(18:34) to be a part of that interview um then there’s uh then there’s typically a nut you know structuring that around a board meeting meeting maybe the most sort of convenient way to set that up and then at the uh and then it’s just up to the nonprofit how they want to handle that that interview at that point let’s talk about questions what do you ask and what can’t you ask yes that’s good that’s a good question we have a we have a whole list of questions that we can’t ask that we always provide our clients and so

(19:08) um those are you know obvious legal questions like you can’t ask a person’s age or their marital status privilege and those kind of things um and then in terms of questions to ask um I like to match up we talked about that position profile that’s developed at the beginning I’d like to make sure we’re matching up our questions with what we’re looking for and so um the the jobs usually entail some leadership working with Boards of directors um managing people raising money um understanding finances communicating

(19:46) internally and externally those are sort of those General topic areas that we try to ask questions about and then as I mentioned before those questions um are most effective when you can really drill in and ask for concrete examples of um how much money has the person been responsible for raising that’s a that’s a usually an important question for a smaller non-profit they want to make sure that the person can raise money so um matching up those topic areas with what you’re looking for and then asking

(20:18) for a person’s experience maybe their um their point of view perspective or strategy and then trying to drill in on specific examples is a really good way to make sure you’re you know you’re getting what you want an executive director how long should that interview last the um I would say that are that the so the way we handle interviews is we like to interview a lot of people and so our initial round of interviews we may have 20 people and so each of those interviews are usually about 30 minutes

(20:50) and then we kind of narrow the field to maybe five or six people and then that next round of interviews will take um we schedule those for about 45 minutes to an hour and then have a final round which is usually over an hour with the individual and because it’s a executive director role um it’s it’s also important to make sure that there’s an opportunity for that person to really ask a lot of questions so um at this point of the of the interview you know the candidate is is in a way interviewing the organization as well

(21:24) and so um setting that interview that final interview where there might be two or three candidates for about about an hour and a half to two hours um that’s a good length of time to make sure that you’re getting everything you need to know about the person but also they’re getting an opportunity to make sure they want the job I’m so glad you brought that up you know I’ve heard people talk about going through interviews like this and they come out they they feel like they’ve been interrogated but nobody really you

(21:51) know allowed them to ask a few questions so that’s such a key critical point how important or I’m trying to find the right way to ask this how critical is it for that final candidate or two to be able to have some interplay with the staff it’s it’s really important on both sides so for the again you’re going to make an if this is the person you want you’re going to offer them the job and you want them to accept the job and most people are not going to be comfortable accepting that job until they’ve met the

(22:30) staff and so um there should be an opportunity for them to to meet the staff um and then uh on the other side you really want to make sure that the staff um feels part of the process like they had a chance to the person before they’re being hired that can be a little tricky setting it up in a way so that the staff has input and has a role um but but may not be a formal interview with the staff and so I like to set those meetings up as um somewhat less formal uh where the the candidate meets the staff um and so that uh ultimately when that

(23:11) person has hired the staff feels comfortable um and the the candidate takes a job because they’ve had a chance to meet the staff and they feel good about where they’re going I’ll ask this question I think I probably obviously know the answer but I’ll let I’ll let sport answer how does a non-profit decide whether they do this internally versus going to a company such as Moran yes um we get a lot of inquiries from organizations that are um trying to decide that and so a lot of it depends on a budget

(23:51) and whether they uh you know they have the resources to to pay a search firm to do the search and as well as their own capacity to do it so um if a non-profit feels like they have the expertise on their board and the time to put in the process uh then in a lot of cases they’ll decide to do it on their own and um one of one thing I want to stress about the time commitment is that to do a search and get a good result there really needs to be a lot of effort into that recruiting and that Outreach to find candidates because you can post

(24:25) a job and you may just not get a lot of interest in it um because like I said before a lot of the best candidates aren’t looking they’re not looking at those job boards since you need somebody to do that outrage and so if the board has um the time and the capacity to do that they could do that on their own um but if the organization um is really uh you know wants to bring in professionals and that’s where we get hired to come in and kind of lead them through the process because it’s it’s probably the most important thing you’ll

(24:54) do as a board member um for a non-profit organization is to make a hire of a new executive director and so um obviously I’m biased but I think that search firm isn’t is really important in order to to make sure it may cost some money but you’re making sure you’re getting that right person it’s an it’s an investment you’re getting you know you’ll it’ll really benefit the organization in the long term if you find the right person all right we’re at the point that you’ve

(25:22) got the candidate that’s the person you want how long should it take between we want you Mike versus Mike giving a decision right I would say not more than a few days so okay um it’s because what’s happening at this point too is you have gone through this process and you’ve narrowed the field down to maybe two or three people and in most cases uh there’s a favorite but there are also others that would also be great so when you make that offer uh you don’t want it to drag on too long because if you do in the personal but

(26:04) ultimately declines the offer then um you may have lost your other individuals that you also like and so setting a so what search committees often do is prepare prepare an offer letter um with a date by which they expect a reply in a decision um and so if it’s a you know if it’s a Friday or that offered is made uh maybe giving that person the weekend to think it over and make sure that that they’re all in and then hopefully get that decision by Monday gotcha I was going to ask what’s the percentage of people that get offered

(26:41) and say oh thank you I don’t know that’s a good question it does happen um what the searches were involved with uh there’s it’s a pretty rigorous process and so and we do a lot of um have a lot of discussions with candidates to make sure that their um they’re committed to this that they’re really all in the other thing I try to do is make sure that we’re upfront about the salary from the get-go and so the salary I I think can be that can be one reason people decline an offer probably the most probably the

(27:17) biggest reason but if if that person really knows and we remind them throughout the process this is the salary range are you comfortable with that does that does that work um then when the offer is made that’s not going to be a reason they decline that offer um but what what can happen is a person may you know if they’re looking for a job they’re they’re they might be entertaining other opportunities as well and so right in some cases they’ll decline your offer because they’re taking another job so

(27:45) um that’s another thing to be cognizant of when conducting a search is you may not be the only Suitor for this person and so um again that’s another once those interviews start I think it’s important to kind of be um efficient about the process otherwise you may lose candidates we’ve just got a couple minutes left tell us some real big don’ts instead of dues what are the domes well I think so um one big don’t I would say we talked a little bit about internal candidates before um and so I think it’s important to be

(28:23) very um transparent with that internal candidate about about the process so um one don’t I would say is to um uh treat an internal candidate um unfairly or poorly during the process or um you know allow them to have the perception that they were treated unfairly or poorly because that person would often will then leave um the organization and that’s probably a valuable part of your your organization and so um we try to make sure that those internal candidates it might be the CFO the development director whoever it is

(29:01) um feels like that feels good about the process um so that they don’t leave so that that would be one one don’t the other I would say um is uh and this is my personal opinion don’t hide the salary um because again that’s the probably the biggest reason why this can fall apart at the end is if a candidate had different expectations about what that that salary is going to be um and then uh finally I would say don’t let it drag on um we have our props that takes about about 12 to 14 weeks from start to

(29:35) finish um once it’s posted I mentioned we have a six week recruiting period and then once interviews take it’s you choose only three weeks or so from when we schedule interviews to when an offer is made um and so what can happen with a busy board of directors is that scheduling gets in the way and then all of a sudden it’s you know three weeks in between each round of interviews that’s that you’re going to lose candidates during that time and so um I always recommend setting up your schedule right at the

(30:08) beginning for everybody so put that you know semi-finalists and finalist round of interviews on your calendar right now um so that um nothing gets in the way once you get to the end because if you drag it on too long your your um more likely to lose really good candidates just because they find something else he’s Mike English he’s with the Moran company check out their website www.morancompany.

(30:40) com my thanks this was great I’m so glad to get you on as the expert appreciate your time my pleasure thanks for having me thank you for tuning in to KC to KC cares Kansas City’s non-profit voice were produced by charitable communication you’re saying what was brought to you by the Marion Kaufman Hoffman Foundation www.kauffman.

(31:01) org to be a guest on KC cares or to go find any of our ask the expert or other episodes go to our website KCcaresonline.org and spread the love you can find us on Facebook and Twitter at KC cares radio and Instagram at KC cares online and don’t forget you can catch us Saturday mornings at 8 A.M on ESPN 1510 a.m and 94.

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Previous Episodes!

Juneteenth KC Celebration

Makeda Peterson | Program Director

Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Juneteenth KC, a celebration that marks the end of slavery and the beginning of a journey towards freedom and equality. At KC Cares Online, we explore this significant event through the eyes of Michaela Peterson, the program director for the celebration. From its humble beginnings to its transformation into a non-profit organization, Juneteenth KC has grown into a beacon of community service and African-American cultural preservation. Join us as we delve into the heart of this celebration and discover how it’s making a difference in Kansas City.

visit them here: juneteenth-kc.com


What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What is the history and significance of Juneteenth KC?
  2. How does Juneteenth KC contribute to community development and cultural preservation?
  3. What are the year-round activities organized by Juneteenth KC?
  4. How can one get involved or volunteer for Juneteenth KC?
  5. How has Juneteenth KC adapted and grown over the years, especially during the pandemic?

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

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(00:00)  KC cares is the intersection of the non-profit and the 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 Cottman Foundation www.coffman.org I’m Ruth Baum Bigus. Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in this country following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation first celebrated in Texas Juneteenth got its name from the combination of June and 19th the date that Major General Gordon Granger issued the order proclaiming

(00:34) slaves freedom in the Lone Star State nearly 165 years later Juneteenth is still celebrated in a big way here in Kansas City It Was 1980 when Horace and Peterson III the founder of the black Archives of Mid-America Inc brought the idea of a Juneteenth Heritage celebration to fruition so what is Juneteenth Kansas City how does this major effort all come together well here to fill us in on all the details is Michaela Peterson who’s the program director for Kansas City’s celebration Makida thank you for

(01:07) carving out some time for us you are so busy with everything getting it all ready yeah no problem just a pleasure to be here today for sure to have this moment all right for folks that are not familiar what’s about what’s been going on in Kansas City share with us a little bit about what the landscape has looked like for Juneteenth year uh just over the last couple of years or are you saying like uh over this does this leave this this uh coming year well I would say over the past couple of years and and for as long as you’ve been

(01:42) involved okay yeah the Juneteenth KC organization has been hosting the celebration uh within the 18 Divine historic Jazz district for 12 years which uh historically has been a community festival with free events for the entire Community a youth kids zone Health Symposium features over 200 vendors from across the greater Kansas City area Social Service Partners and just really is a an event that tries really highlight Community organizations and social opportunities that you know positively positively promote

(02:19) African-American pride and culture you’ve got that down girl that sounds amazing there’s so much there so can you talk a little bit about the non-profit and how the beginnings of that came about and and how you all work to organize uh well yeah we started the well we started as a for-profit and basically we linked up with mentors and a couple of community leaders in Kansas City we identified the need to bring the celebrations back to Kansas City so you know we started hosting the festivals as just local organizers

(02:58) and then about five years in we switched gears and moved to more of a community setting that had the non-profit structure where you saw us working more where things were free open to the public and just really partnering with with Community Partners and corporate organizations to again highlight the juneteen celebration but offer community services and socialization opportunities for the community at large and so that’s now where we’ve grown down to the 12th year and you know we focus on the activities in June which is

(03:29) the Heritage Festival the cultural parade and some various events throughout the month of June but then as an organization we host activities throughout the year like First Fridays we have mobile distributions Community baby hours and other events as well that just really again support Community advancement progression and then also just any that also provide cultural perfect preservation and preservation and restoration I guess that was just more preservation you all make the ship it really is a 4 a for-profit

(04:05) organization so how did you do the shift and why did you make the shift well we didn’t make any money profit organization to do it that way and so we just I started with a non-profit background and just understood that you know you could find more support as hosting it as a non-profit organization and then it just was able to be able to utilize more Community Resources and Community Partners to help to host the effort and and and to also now provide more community services and Community platforms for for

(04:38) you know for alternate alternate programming opportunities I think it’s so interesting that that it’s not a cultural event from the standpoint of it’s not just come see paintings uh art music Etc you’ve really woven so much more into it was that always part of the plan of having Juneteenth really have a presence here in Kansas City uh I mean it just happens organically I would say just you know it just we are given opportunities to partner or just delve into different areas whether it’s just you know areas we’ve always

(05:21) been curious about or as you know the you know as the culture shifts and there’s more programming that is now available or accessible to we we’re able to kind of open up the opportunities as well and so you know we’ve just been able to pursue more engagement opportunities or just you know I guess pursue more ideas and not being limited by just you know having a stereotypical festival and and historically we’ve always wanted to be more than just a party while and we really use the festival

(05:53) background as you know the social element to bring in the educational programming I mean it’s a lot easier to kind of slip in the education versus feeding it down to everybody gotcha so a little bit about how everything is structured to make this incredible month of activities is not just one day happen I know you’re slipping stuff and taking stuff so do you have any help how does it work yeah we have a board of committee members that meet uh weekly to just plan Logistics and out and we have a strong body of volunteers we

(06:31) actually are blessed to have a lot of corporate volunteers but most of it is volunteer based or you know our board members are committing the time to help with planning Logistics and planning how we can make the celebration grow bigger and better every year we rely heavily on Community Partners to as well to provide information and also I’m not providing information about surprise support and you know whether that’s you know them assisting with marketing or you know they might have staff that can

(06:58) assist with leading various roles you know as part of the effort then you know we definitely will make those Partnerships and find ways to to balance out are so we know this year’s Festival the cheers Festival is on Saturday the 17th of June for somebody who’s never been there before what kinds of things are we going to see experience take part in uh we have two Community stages so we’ll have National acts on our main stage which is pokey bear and Sir Charles we have the family health and cooling

(07:38) center that is sponsored by Heartland Coca-Cola and we’ll have non-profit agencies that Health Partners inside of that is sponsored by the Missouri Department of my number the minority Health and Senior Services Department we also have Commerce Bank Target and other corporate organizations that’ll be inside there that will provide uh Community giveaways Beverages and cooling cooling items to kind of keep keep the community cool we’ll have a kid Zone with an interactive play area it’s

(08:13) free Pace face painters character artists we also have uh youth uh book distributions hosted by the Kansas City Public Library and turn the page KC we will also have a genealogy center hosted by black archives and American Incorporated where families can record their oral histories and then also they can learn more about how to start the journey to the genealogy history we’ll have an art gallery over 200 vendors just a ton of things very it’s really helpful just to download our mobile app

(08:44) or go onto our website juneteenthkc.com because we have so many events throughout the district it goes it starts with Community workouts and and lots of distributions and giveaways throughout the day that everyone as a community can look forward to and and take advantage of it and it’s all free and it’s in the 18th and Vine area the historic district down there correct we take over the entire 18th Divine historic Jazz District so it’s about 10 city blocks that are fully taken over with with special activities and things

(09:13) for the families to do now you’ve been involved since uh 12 years ago or so correct how have you seen things change has definitely changed over the last five years just due to the city now Federal you know this well the nation not federally recognizing Juneteenth there’s definitely been an uptick over the last couple years with people wanting to learn more do more now there’s even to a a requirement in a sense for corporations to do no more because it is a holiday so now they have to recognize it like every other holiday

(09:45) and especially like Fourth of July so you just have now seen you know a lot more organizations trying to find different ways to be a part to support and so it’s just exciting definitely as organizers of juneteen celebrations Across the Nation we’ve just seen it become more than just a community celebrations down become Regional and even National and to have the support of the community and those corporate sponsors is it’s great especially just because we’re all joining forces and we’re

(10:12) aligning resources to make the biggest impact possible I’m going to ask the fly on the wall question Juneteenth that does celebrate the emancipation of slavery why should someone who’s not African-American come to a juneteen celebration and what are we going to learn well I mean I think you said in the answer itself I mean it’s about the emancipation of slavery it doesn’t necessarily have to be the emancipation of black slavery I mean slavery has touched every continent every in every ethnicity across the globe so it’s more

(10:44) as if you believe in that people should be free then you should celebrate Juneteenth just like we would celebrate the Fourth of July or have been celebrating the Fourth of July even when we weren’t free I mean we as a nation we’ve always celebrated the liberation of White America from Great Britain and we celebrate the liberation of other ethnicities as well from other you know from us slavery we just as a community agree and I think everyone holistically agrees that slavery is a bad thing then you know it should be no one should be

(11:16) in slavery so if you believe that in the truest form then you really should have no problem with Juneteenth and I’m sorry if I infer that you that anybody would have a problem I guess you know that more so that this you know do we feel what another there’s a sense like oh is it you know are we all are we welcome you know or do we you know do we I know we’ve had questions or people kind of other other ethnicities have kind of shied away from it just feel like I feel like this is supposed to be our day and it’s like well no if you

(11:45) believe in in Freedom you know you should be celebrating just as a general you know as again we sell them but just like I have no qualms with the Fourth of July I’ve just been celebrating this at Birth because you’re right we should be free you know everyone should be free and have access to Liberties and as an American and the we are African-American and so just celebrating our day of Liberation is just another another way for us to celebrate as a nation that we do not believe in that people should be you know in bondage

(12:14) I love that and I love how you’ve been able to take advantage as Juneteenth moved through now as a Federal holiday to go for those resources that’s something sometimes non-profits forget that there is stuff out there that you can go look for and and you all have been able to do that and incorporate that what’s your favorite part of the whole festival or are you just glad when it’s over and you can put your feet up and don’t have to run around I’m pretty much glad when it’s over the kids own

(12:42) the Kid Zone stuff is always great to us as the mission of our organization is really to impact you know Child Development and it always happens at a young age from you know birth to five so that’s why many of the events that we do we focus on free youth activities free things for families to do so you can engage and you know you know they can start to make that connection at a you know a positive connection to community at Young ages so you know any time that we’re able to really an action or see our kiddos enjoying

(13:15) and into their own community and not you know parents feeling it like their kids aren’t safe if they’re you know running up the street or their kid you know that they have to watch their kids every every second and uh the district really shifts and everyone really looks out for each other and kids are comfortable families are comfortable down there and that’s that’s the real goal is just to normalize that sense of community and that sense of coming together and making that something that our

(13:38) kids see because again our kids are exposed to a lot of traumatic things at this point especially as our our country kind of continues to seemingly spiral so you know whatever we can do to kind of show them what normal you know activities look like or things especially when we you know that’s what was my inspiration is you know things that when we grew up with a kid as a kids that were normal that was healthy like okay you can ride your bike down the street or you can have those Community picnics and you know those

(14:05) things and and and uh and have that sense of community it’s really important especially as we again as we as we go into these difficult more and more difficult times those those moments that we’re able to offer to to our kids that are invaluable wouldn’t it be great if we could all do that just send our kids out on a bike go play at the park something for everybody to strive to return to some sense of whatever normal is right I’m curious what did you all do during the pandemic because so much of

(14:39) it’s outside well yeah so the first year we we did virtual I mean it was very successful we had a virtual celebration we were probably the only people that we probably were the first ones to do it uh to try to go ahead and do virtual programming and engage it to the level we did and it was successful that’s probably where we really exploded online because people were really you know we’re stuck at home looking for ways to learn and engage and then after the first year we were you know it was we were able to go

(15:10) Outdoors so we were able to really kind of Thrive to be the first activities where people could go into open air activities and just really kind of you know still stress the education we did covid vaccinations and education on preventative care and and did a lot more resource distributions during that point in time a lot of our mobile distributions were heavier during the covered years where we were seeing numbers of you know three to five to 500 families and one event that we’re getting on-site services and meaning you

(15:39) know you know just needing support because it you know the families weren’t working and and things were shut down completely so we were able to kind of step in and be a support system and then in that capacity and then still provide you know we provide online learning for our kiddos and workshops and books that kiddos can do activities with online and just really try to find ways that families can continue to celebrate at home or even find ways that they could find a release from you know what was going on with being in lockdown and

(16:11) all of that what did you take from pandemic that is kind of now stuck with Juneteenth as it is today what we call a pandemic pivot lesson I mean you did I mean I guess the biggest lesson I mean we definitely try to stay ahead and we try to stay you know be being creative I mean with everyone Zoom I mean it’s always going to be a new asset and tool for everybody but I think we found ways to try to bring in our audience that wasn’t in Kansas City or ways that people could take the experience back home with them or you’ll

(16:51) still utilize our website our website is actually a really great resources for people to learn connect and even take those pieces and then get you know incorporate within their own you know celebrations or their own educational programming so we really it’s been a lot we’ve been we do invest a lot in our website and in our in our mobile even our mobile app that we have available now just to really try to get people to be able to engage as much as possible and however they wish whether it’s a workshop whether it’s being a

(17:23) speaker or or just tuning in and even this year with the parade we were able to partner with khp 41 to live stream it from home so everyone’s really able to watch it and see it and not have to you know be right you know smack dab and 18th and Vine so I think those things you know we’ve learned you know just just to stay flexible and not allow I guess a difficult situation to you know causes to shut down shop you know we can you know we can definitely become you know we can be agile and adapt and you know our ability to adapt

(17:58) and just really focus on you know what way we can impact and support the community the best way possible is the goals and what we’ve really stayed focused on and try to stay true to we’re talking with Michaela Peterson who is in charge of everything I think for Juneteenth she is Juneteenth what kind of things do you focus on when it’s not celebration time when we move July August and the rest of the year how how does the organization then stay relevant and involved in the community uh well we host the First Friday’s

(18:35) events in the Jazz District so that is our organization to hosting those kind of smaller scale Community social activities vendor events where they can able to connect with social service providers Community organizations we also host quarterly mobile distributions or Community baby shower events we partner with Children’s Mercy Hospital and cribs for kids to do safe sleep training as well so we provide pack and play assistance to families in need mothers in need with a child two years or younger can attend our training courses

(19:12) before the home to promote safe sleep activities uh we also do our uh we now do a two-year initiative which is our Housing Initiative our Housing Initiative is in partnership with Arvest Bank Reese Nichols and also now U.S Bank to offer home ownership workshops that promote or sorry that support a family’s transition into home ownership and just really offering introductory courses that talk about how to start the process to homeownership credit cleanup how to start your own bank account

(19:47) just different levels of financial literacy components but also tied directly to also home ownership components and and education so one hour is the homeownership education and the second hour is financial literacy we wrap that all up into also doing giveaways and hygiene hygiene product and resource distribution just to support the everyday kind of household support items to kind of guide a family’s process along the way and then we also offer uh we also offer family that completes at least three workshops a

(20:26) trip to the florist Furnishings program which is a great project program here in Kansas City that provides Furnishings for the whole family from top to bottom so we use that as a way to kind of you know keep families engaged throughout the process let them know that they have a support system but then also kind of too as they’re moving into their new home or they’re moving into their new apartment if it’s not you know that new home at that point we could also kind of you know save that cost in furniture and

(20:51) household Supply items by signing up a family to do that and just you know Finding ways that we can limit you know eliminate barriers or balance out you know any kind of stressors that the financial stretches that might be happening with the family and and you know kind of blending Resources with our Community Partners as well such a holistic approach to things you know that maybe folks would not associate with a a Heritage Culture Festival right doing these things year round and you really dip into the

(21:23) community I know when I was there last year last summer even though it was very hot it was a lot of fun and there was so much available by way of different non-profits how do you cultivate folks to come and be part of the heritage festival and then your other programs well we typically we do have a lot of Community Partners that we reach out to just just regularly that is even have either been on site at our events or have reached out you know just definitely just have reached out and said hey they want to get involved and

(21:51) learn more I mean we we definitely open our our table to any any Community partner that wants to serve and just you know it is open to serving and and uh well also too we have ours our General application so when we have community events you know you can definitely just come in as a sort of like a you know a general application and typically what we’ll do too is we’ll reach out to those Health service providers that we see and we recognize say Hey you know if you want to come back next month we we

(22:19) more often than not we’ll waive their fees and just say hey you know we don’t necessarily care about the vendor fee if you want to come if you can provide a service you know if you provide a service or you bring something to distribute you know on site with this we waive the fee or find whatever way possible to make you know that yeah I guess making you know enticing for that partner to come in but we definitely we definitely creatively partner with a lot of different partners from across the Spectrum

(22:46) we now obviously are doing Partnerships with like the Royals and the Urban Youth Academy uh we partner very closely with Kansas City Public School District in the city of Kansas City itself and also just several Community organizations like the library Turn the Page Boys and Girls Club canby’s urban community connections I mean that’s probably the one thing I think our organization really tries to you know try to do is you know we don’t want to be the only one in the room you know we really want to partner and collaborate

(23:15) as much as we can so that you know when our our attendees come they’re getting as much as they can within an exposure to to as many organizations they can so they can make connections they can Network and really continue that relationship you know we want you to continue to work with these organizations exchange numbers realize you know to how to stay on top of these organizations too that you’re not you know the squeaky oil the squeaky wheel is the one that gets oil you know you don’t follow up let them

(23:43) know you’re still interested in Services and teaching you know our our constituents too how to continue to build relationships with these organizations because a lot of these organizations you know if you if you connect with them correctly you know they’ll partner with you for life and continue to connect you with great people even if even if you know your pastor you know they’re quote unquote the parameters of the program most organizations especially if you’re engaged and they know that you’re a

(24:10) family or an individual that’s really trying you know to do the best that you can they’ll find another partner that will fill that Gap now to say hey well Taylor you’ve aged out but here’s another partner that now does that and you know they’ll be the intermediary they’ll help you with that so we want to be that agency to really promote that teach families how to continue to build their relationship and keep the relationships going too like just because again an organization doesn’t mean you can’t come

(24:37) back you know and I think that’s one thing it’s a continued resource you said you started your career in non-profits did you ever think you were going to be running the huge metro area huge celebration in programming uh no I I mean I didn’t think so I mean I guess I had goals I mean I I you know uh I had envisioned myself to hopefully be doing you know work with Juneteenth my my father was a Horace Peterson III so he’s the founder of the you know of course [Music] to Kansas City and so you know there’s always been

(25:17) that natural you know pull to to to to to continue his work and you know I just luckily had a wonderful Mentor by the name of Benny Shelby and other mentors that have kind of guided me along the way through you know City officials or other mentors that have been able to kind of to groom me because again we don’t all get here uh anyway so Jeff groom but also just you know to support and and to be a listening ear I mean and and I I think we all knew at the very beginning it wasn’t going to be a quick project

(25:51) you know I think one thing that a lot of people in Kansas City and a lot of organizations need to unders could benefit from understanding is that you know it takes a long it takes time it takes time effort effort and even effort after failure you know it doesn’t always go right the first day you just gotta keep at it and be willing to invest the time it took us 12 years to get here and we’re just now getting to that point and I think you know now you see a lot more people say oh I want to you know I

(26:24) want to do it I want to you know have this huge festival and it’s okay just cry before you walk do your research and understand that it just it really doesn’t happen overnight especially you know it took us a long time a lot of money lost like luckily now and again we’ve had mentors that were able to help put bills or help to find creative resources because we we lost a lot of money in the beginning and again now we’re at a point where we have a model that we’re able to duplicate and really have the support behind it

(26:55) now too as well so so so yeah that that that’s what that’s probably my Tuesday I thought there was a little tie there with Peterson Peterson so uh how cool yeah but how cool that is what a family Legacy you know and and carrying on and that’s that’s wonderful to have that and and to have that in our community with a big celebration because you don’t always have that so kudos to you all so anybody who’s interested in volunteering or or finding out more about what you’re doing again website is that our best bet yeah

(27:31) website is amazing it’s the juneteenthkc.com and it’s stay right now it’s gonna basically look festival-ish because with everything we got going on the June it’ll really be juneteen focused and then after the month of June it basically will base the it will switch over to more of our non-profits our social service side to feature those activities that are kind of our year-round activities our mobile app as well is going to be an amazing resource because it’ll connect you to Our Community Partners

(27:57) year-round and also activities that are going around across the city and it’ll just allow you to find things stay connected but those both of those will be great and then we’re always looking for volunteers so on our website if you just click the get involved tab you’re able to connect instantly to Mo to most of our projects throughout the year Michaela thank you so much for taking time of which you had very little so we’re so grateful and we we wish the best success for this year’s Juneteenth and of the

(28:26) ongoing program so thank you so much oh no problem I really really appreciate it I know I’m hard to nail down uh but I appreciate your flexibility and the opportunity because this is a great opportunity to share our mission our message and I look forward to seeing everybody and even you at Juneteenth and I just hope everyone the best success in their Endeavors as they run their own organizations or look to building their own thank you for joining us for  KC cares Kansas City’s non-pro profit voice

(28:55) produced by charitable Communications and this segment was brought to you by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation www.Kauffman.org spread the love and find us on Facebook and Twitter at KC cares radio and Instagram  KC cares online and don’t forget you can catch us on Saturday mornings at 8 A.

(29:13) M on ESPN 15 10 a.m and 94.5 FM thank you for joining us on KC cares [Music]

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Burns McDonnell Corporate Social Responsibility

Charlotte Lewin | Senior Community Relations Strategist

Burns & McDonald, an employee-owned company, is not just about infrastructure and construction. They’re about building communities. With a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, they’re inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders, cultivating vibrant communities, and advancing civic initiatives. Their unique programs, such as the Corporate Citizenship Committee, Charity of Choice, and a matching gifts program, engage employees in meaningful ways. They’re not just building structures; they’re building a better future. Discover how Burns & McDonald is making a difference in the community and learn about their initiatives in STEM education and more.

visit them here: www.burnsmcd.com


What Nonprofit Questions are Answered?

  1. What is Burns & McDonald’s approach to corporate social responsibility?
  2. How does Burns & McDonald engage its employees in community service?
  3. What are some of the initiatives of the Burns & McDonald Foundation?
  4. How does Burns & McDonald support STEM education?
  5. What is the Charity of Choice program at Burns & McDonald?

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(00:00) people behind them KC cares 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.  From time to time KC cares likes to shine the spotlight on our business community in the entire metro focusing on its engagement in philanthropy and its supportive area nonprofits Burns and McDonnell is one of those companies and we’re delighted to welcome Charlotte

(00:33) Lewin she is Chief community relations strategist for this employee owned Company Charlotte we’re so happy to have you with us thank you Ruth happy to be here and burns and Mac is all over the place doing all kinds of good things for the rare person out there who may not know what the company does can you tell us a little bit about your breadth and depth of what you are so think about all the things that you encounter on a daily basis infrastructure the roads you drive to get to work the internet that you hop on

(01:12) the electricity when you flip your light switch we do a lot of that planning architecture construction we hire scientists so lots of uh we have our hands in a lot of different Industries but we’re about 13 500 strong across 70 office offices globally and continue to grow and we’re headquartered here in Kansas City so we’ve had a long history of giving back in the community and really try to connect our employees into the community as well let’s talk a little bit about why is it important to be involved and be engaged I mean

(01:51) you’ve got plenty of work to do it’s not like you were looking for extra things right yeah so I would say you know for Burns and McDonald number one it’s the right thing to do we live and work in these communities and so we want them to be strong we want all of our neighbors to have opportunities in our community so it’s it’s the right thing to do to support and then if you look at it from a employee engagement angle we want to make sure that people working in our offices feel that connection to

(02:19) their Community understand maybe some of the challenges our neighbors are facing in our communities and can you know rise to the cause and and help that’s a tough nut to crack how do you begin even that conversation in a corporate structure great question so there you know as large as we are there are a lot of personal passions and interests that our employee owners have and from the foundation we actually try to focus across three main areas in our community impact so the first really around inspiring

(02:57) that next generation of stem leader you know selfishly we would love those kindergartners of today to walk through the doors of Burns and Mac fast forward a couple three decades but also these are the careers of the future we’re going to need kids today to solve a lot of really big challenges that our communities the world really will be facing and so we send a lot of employees out into the community we bring students and Educators on site to our offices and we want to really plant that seed for a love of stem our second

(03:29) really big Focus area is cultivating vibrant and healthy communities so really around those causes that you know lift our neighbors up so housing Health hunger those kind of things and then third with our community impact we want to be a good business that is in so advancing Civic initiatives in our community to make sure that we’re at the table for those those important conversations I want to go back a little bit even maybe more basic Burns and Mack has a foundation how long has the foundation existed and why a foundation yeah so we

(04:08) the foundation started back in 86 87 right around the time that our company became employee owned and again recognizing that commitment to the community that we have we wanted to set aside some dollars that could grow and then you know ultimately be remitted out into the community via grants and it’s really grown from a pretty heavy Kansas City Focus to now National we have you know probably dozen-ish really large office locations and of course Branch offices field offices all across the country where our employees

(04:42) are working and Building Things so the footprints really expanded but the foundation really is there to to focus in on those things that are maybe important to our Corporation and then we have several other programs too that bring employees in as well and get them engaged in our local community I think it’s interesting when a Corporation decides to create a foundation rather than okay we’re going to just go do these projects and now there’s a committee to do it it seems to give it a little bit more guidance and

(05:17) structure of how you move through what you want to do yeah absolutely I think it really helps focus our giving in communities across the country where again we have so many employees and different communities have different challenges but it really helps us tell that narrative across all of our offices about what burns McDonald is doing as a company everywhere of course there’s a little bit different flavor of that in each of our offices locations but it really does help tell a kind of United story for us as a business and a brand and

(05:52) also for our employees when they’re going out and talking to neighbors and and others peers Professionals in their community I know in prepping for the show I saw that you you do get input from your employees while you have these big areas so how does a company with 70 offices and lots and lots of employees how what’s the process of doing that so that you do hear a voice yeah so one of the really awesome programs that we have had going for a while now honestly now that I’m put on the spot I’m not

(06:29) sure when it exactly started but we do have a corporate citizenship committee so each of our larger office locations across the country has a representative from this committee that really helps surface either those requests or interests that they’re hearing from employees and it also allows us to have champions in those office locations that can take some of our company-wide corporate initiatives and and kind of bring them to the people if you will so it’s a really great relationship that we have with those people it’s kind

(06:59) of viewed as a leadership development opportunity as well so I think people are excited to engage and it also gives them some education and awareness about challenges in their communities and how you know we can reach out to non-profit partners and say like Hey we’re friends and McDonald we have this large employee base we’re here to help you know how how can we get involved how many people sit on that committee and is it it’s from offices all over correct yeah so we have right now and I we’re chatting about growing it but

(07:33) right now we have around 30-ish uh Representatives so that includes several representatives from our Kansas City office just because we have about half of our employees here so a big chunk of people and then representatives from each of our again larger offices across the country uh but definitely you know as we continue to grow some of our offices are reaching those thresholds where I think some of that support is definitely needed and welcome and so we’re having those conversations about how can we onboard

(08:05) new individuals too to make sure again they’re they’re getting those corporate messages from the foundation around a lot of our giving campaigns but also we can hear from from that employee base as well about where they’re engaged what they’re doing what’s exciting for them how do you meet I assume Zoom teams whatever yes so we do have a monthly ish I’ll say a team meeting and then we also get together every year around the fall time frame with a summit for that group and so bringing everyone together in person I

(08:43) think that’s after we do a lot of Zoom teams Etc but I do think being in person really helps build those relationships and so we kind of have some professional development opportunities that Summit is also where we really focus on one of our giving campaigns that we run uh corporate wide which is our annual charity of choice campaign so that committee meets selects a cause area that the company will support for the following year and then we work with each of those corporate citizenship committee representatives to select a local

(09:18) beneficiary and that program has been very successful and very popular with our employee base because again we get that nice unified narrative across the company but we still get to keep the dollars local which is really The Sweet Spot that we found for a lot of our employee giving initiatives so in every one of your 70 is there a charity of choice or in your bigger offices how does that work yeah not quite the 70s so we do we kind of have a threshold that we like to talk with offices that want to participate about

(09:50) kind of an expectation of dollar potential and also volunteerism the campaign really focuses on getting our employees connected with that nonprofit and so we were at about I think 30 to 40 beneficiaries in our most recent campaign this year which was around supporting Foster youth how do you make that choice I mean you’re a big Corporation I’m sure there’s more than one or two non-profits knocking on your door absolutely yeah so the the fun part is that that committee the corporate citizenship committee we

(10:24) really get give them the freedom to nominate different cause areas kind of make the case uh again what have you been hearing from employees maybe what causes are you just getting into or have Partnerships with that you think could you know be elevated through this campaign and so we really give them the the freedom of choice there and to kind of rally that committee around a single cause and absolutely the the list is long and so we kind of have a couple phases of narrowing down that list uh but I think for our team it’s a really

(10:56) fun campaign because the cause area changes every year and allows our employees and our team opportunities to work with the non-profit partners that maybe aren’t on our usual usual list for our Focus areas that I mentioned before I think charity of choice for us gives us a great opportunity to learn about challenges that maybe honestly our employees might be one or two levels removed from just because you know we are we are fortunate to work for a very great company here and so we really get to touch on some

(11:30) different cods areas like I said most recently with Foster youth uh and then other causes have included human trafficking hunger mental Wellness we’ve worked with a lot of different causes in the past and I think that’s kind of the the fun part about that campaign is it changes and and you have an opportunity to learn more well let’s let you have a plug right here for those who are listening and if they’d like can they get into the process can you share how that works and just where folks should go if they want

(12:02) to know more yeah if you’d like to know more about you know really any of our giving initiatives we have of course our website burnsvincd.com you’re welcome to reach out through there uh if you know a Burns and McDonald employee that’s also a great in for them to kind of pass that along and like you said we definitely get a lot of solicitations and inquiries of interest and so we the list does grow it grows all the time and when you think about two you know this campaign you think about how many nonprofits are in Kansas

(12:36) City and we’re multiplying that by all of our offices so there’s no shortage of good causes available and it just is kind of what’s rising to the top that the committee goes with and so feel free to reach out to us via website or LinkedIn guys hit me up happy to chat uh-oh are you ready to be busy I know be ready to be busy we also like to share in our conversations you know some of the best practices that you uh you know have have created and as the company switched from other ownership to employ where did you

(13:18) all go to kind of structure these things to say oh here’s what we should do to pick a charity of choice here are the steps we should go through here are the resources we can go to to support us yeah so great question and when I came in a lot of several of these programs were established and honestly I think a lot of these programs were in response to growth of our employee base I think a lot of corporations in this space you know uh who have started maybe in the hundreds and now are into thousands of employees you do need that

(13:54) structure because again no shortage of good causes to support and it does get very challenging and unfortunately a lot of uh my role or my peers role at their corporations is saying no or maybe no not now check back later and so it I think in response to a lot of those solicitations having some programs that give some structure around how we can support when we can support who we can support we do have some automatic nodes in our foundation and again that’s just to draw a line because there are so many

(14:31) great causes and so I think a lot of the structure was put in place for example our charity Choice program we get a lot of requests for things that may not exactly align with those giving priorities I outlined and this is this is an opportunity where we might be able to to make a yes we also have a matching gifts program which is a really great option for that no from the foundation but yes in another capacity uh through this matching this program it’s still Foundation funding probably not at the level the employee is requesting but it

(15:08) it gives us again an opportunity to say yes when we can and I think that’s probably the largest challenge for businesses that are solicited by nonprofits is you know there’s there’s going to have to be a no eventually either funding will become unavailable or it just uh doesn’t align or sometimes it’s just the timing is Is Not Great the portfolio might have several non-profit Partnerships in a certain cause area already and and now is not an opportunity to bring another partner on but I was really impressed that you all

(15:43) will match your employees donations a hundred percent up to a certain level yes yeah uh yeah there is a threshold and so for us this is a company-wide program for employee owners and so annually each employee owner can request up to three hundred dollars in matching per year and so we see really great use of this for those personal fundraising initiatives think like runs walks and bike rides a lot of people have personal fundraising goals for those types of charitable events so that’s probably the most common

(16:15) use but the really cool part too is that program’s very responsive so we see lots of bumps around disaster relief in 2020 around around covid response and also racial Justice initiatives so the we really like that program and I think employees appreciate the support there too even if it’s not always maybe at the level you know they came in requesting but that’s very empowering to employees I would think to say I can you know 300 goes a long way for a number of non-profits in the power of people if you can you know get your

(16:50) buddy to like you know convince a lot of other buddies you can make an even bigger impact so yeah absolutely and we see that you know some employees again like a personal fundraising goal and then they have a co-worker who gives and also uses their match to support so the impact can definitely spread uh and we see just a wide variety of causes and again some things that would be an automatic no those restrictions are removed in our matching gifts program so it’s a very cool program that our team loves

(17:22) and I think employees appreciate as well for that little extra boost to their personal passion so we’ve talked about charity of choice we’ve talked about the individual matching uh you’ve got a few other really big things going so let’s let’s bring them out and put them in the spotlight sounds good so our largest corporate campaign workplace campaign is with United Way we’ve been partnering with United Way for at least 60 years I believe really started out of Kansas City and now has grown to all of our office

(17:54) locations and just to kind of give you a magnitude of scale here in 2022 our campaign was over 4.4 million dollars and that’s mostly employee contributions so we have very generous employees and we really enjoy partnering with the United Way because we feel they’re looking at the community at large and helping to bring non-profit Partners together and fill maybe some gaps toward goals that a community might have around different causes and so we’ve been very strong supporters of United Way in Kansas City I think were the

(18:31) largest campaign for United Way of Greater Kansas City and then company-wide we have a lot of great Partnerships going getting people engaged in volunteer events getting them involved in leadership giving circles so getting together with other community Champions to learn about those causes and it’s a campaign that really I think has made a huge impact in in all of our communities where employees live and work so that’s the largest one and then I know I mentioned stem as a main focus area and so we do a lot of giving and

(19:05) volunteer stem Outreach through kind of that cause area in 2022 we launched two brand new programs really focused outside of Kansas City honestly because we we are very well known in KC I think but as we’ve grown in a lot of other office locations we are trying to make those same connections and be known in the educator Community as you know hey we have people here that really want to help your students and connect the dots from what they’re learning in class to a potential career and so sending our people out bringing

(19:38) students in and last year we launched two uh programs for non-kc locations the first was a partnership with project leads away which is a pre-k through 12 curriculum around stem education that’s National they have thousands and thousands of students participating and so we had a one and a half million dollar three-year partnership with them to make grants to schools that are implementing Project Lead the Way curriculum or expanding it maybe they have it in the high school and they want to get into the middle or Elementary

(20:13) School spaces so that’s been really an amazing partnership we’ve been able to grow some of those relationships with schools across the country and then similarly but a little bit smaller scale we launched a national stem grant program that’s kind of a direct to school model so teachers can sign up or apply for a grant through our foundation for either stem materials so things that they can use in their classroom to implement the stem teaching or even professional development so conferences or other opportunities where they can

(20:50) kind of bring that learning back impact their students and other staff as well that Pro between those two programs over the next few years we’re looking at hopefully over two million dollar investment in stem students and Educators across the country and then locally hopefully a lot of people listening have heard of our burnson McDonald Battle of the brains program that is a very large initiative out of our Kansas City office where we have been working with science City since 2011 and it’s a very unique program I

(21:26) think Nationwide we’re really focused on inspiring those kiddos through the opportunity to get an exhibit from their minds their big creative idea designed and built by burnson McDonald at science city so we asked students K-12 across the Metro to submit a proposal for the next permanent exhibit at science City uh and then we choose a winner we work with that team of students uh for about 18 to 24 months to build their exhibit and then we get to celebrate that grand opening so this September uh we will launch our

(22:05) seventh exhibit and we will also kick off our seven competition Cycles so it’s a it’s a every other year competition cycle and so we launched that in the odd years and so invite anyone who is an educator who knows an educator that’d be interested in participating you can check out botbkc.

(22:27) com but that has resulted in a nine million dollar investment in science City almost a million dollars direct to schools for stem education funding and most importantly over 30 000 students have participated in this program and we actually are seeing full-time hires and interns who have participated in the program now here at Burns McDonald which is really what it’s all about a great story to tell yeah that’s so exciting I was going to ask you how do you track well you know how you track because there are some kiddos who are now employees that’s what

(22:57) a wonderful Forward Thinking lift up and how great for science City they get the benefit of some really really cool exhibits yeah I know we’ve had some very cool things built and again direct from the minds of students they are super creative and so it’s really our honor to get to work with them and help put something in science City that we know kids are already super excited about all told how many and I’m assuming it’s millions of dollars through all your philanthropic have you been you know

(23:33) have you put out there and uh and volunteer hours and all of that yeah so if we’re looking at 2022 and that’s my most recent in my mind when we talk about our foundation our corporate gifts which are sometimes not always aligned with our foundation goals and our employee initiatives employee giving 2022 our company-wide impact was around 11 million dollars that keeps trending up because we’ve been growing we have more people we’re making a bigger impact I should have the stat of like since

(24:08) since we uh started I should grab that one but you know we’re talking millions and millions of dollars yeah over time and a lot of that because we are employee owned that’s dollars that you know are being set aside for the community that could potentially go back to our employees through salary or bonus and so I think employees are very proud of the impact that we’re making and you know it’s our team we we take that responsibility really seriously to make sure that we’re we’re being good

(24:43) stewards of those funds and really creating Partnerships that are impactful for our employees and our communities and thousands of hours in volunteer service yeah so I think if you talk to a lot of Corporations volunteer tracking is a constant Challenge and so uh definitely one for us we actually this year are celebrating our 125th anniversary as a company started back in 1898 and with that we launched a 125-minute volunteer challenge so obviously a lot of our employees you know they’re doing that in

(25:18) a month so it’s no big no big deal but you know I think again another challenge in the corporate giving space or Employee Engagement is around getting new employees involved and connected to the the impact that you’re making in the community and so really this challenge is meant for for those people to invite people in like hey we know everyone’s busy certainly got a lot on their plate just from you know billable project perspective but take that opportunity to get out in the community and to that end our team has

(25:50) also tried to provide some on-site opportunities when available to make it easy for those for those employees to join you all have any intersection where those who are not Burns and Mac employees can help in an initiative that you’re doing yeah so I think I think one of the more common ways is through client Partnerships so when we are out say building a solar field site in Wisconsin we can bring our client along for different volunteer opportunities or when we’re out building a water plant in very far Western Kansas there’s

(26:30) opportunities there too so we definitely work with our clients a lot to bring them out to volunteer to also raise funds or or do drives for the local community programs like our Battle of the brains also have an opportunity for the public to engage we kind of narrow it down in a couple rounds of judging and so there’s an opportunity for employees to learn about those proposals the submissions that are kind of sitting at the top and help us also kind of narrow that field and then I think you know we definitely participate in with

(27:03) nonprofits and kind of their larger community events to get engaged another example I think is Rock the parkway that’s a race that we host here from burnson McDonald currently benefiting Children’s Mercy and so anyone from the community is welcome to volunteer there to run and support so those are a few of the ways that we can invite the community in right now and again the best place is to go to the website yep burnsmcd.

(27:33) com there we have a social responsibility Tab and you can learn about all the great things we’re doing in this space well I know we don’t like to talk about the p word but I do like to ask our guests what’s the greatest lesson working in this charity philanthropy sphere that you’ve learned from that that you’ve now kind of put into place and say yeah okay we did learn a thing or two uh one of the largest challenges I just like focusing there are no shortage of great causes in Kansas City and then you look at communities across the country people

(28:12) are doing very awesome important impactful work unfortunately we can’t say yes to all of those things there’s just not enough dollars not enough time not enough opportunities for employees to get engaged and so really trying to hone in on those Partnerships that kind of offer that that best fit which for us looks like Employee Engagement opportunities leadership connection to boards or committees and then wrapping around with financial support as well and that’s I think you know you I think a lot of people

(28:49) I hear a lot like no your job must be so fun and it absolutely is but one of the big bummers is I say no I have to say no a lot and often to things that I personally feel like that sounds so cool awesome you’re doing great work but again maybe not the right time not a best fit in an absolute no we just don’t fund something in that cause area and and so that’s something I also try to share with employees so that they have an understanding too of you know this might be their personal passion but we’re trying to

(29:22) account for over 13 000 people now and growing people people’s personal passions so it’s challenging and we aren’t going to be able to say yes all the time and I and I try to give some context around that I think that’s a good lesson learned in Myspace is is sharing that message with people so they can better understand the why for the things that we are opting into why why it’s important to burn to McDonald that we’re in that space so we just encourage everybody go check out the website make sure before you ask

(29:52) you kind of know what you’re asking for but Charlotte’s really nice so be sure to check her out thank you people think that I will also say though give me some Grace if you do hit me up in my inbox there is a lot happening so absolutely Charlotte thank you for sharing all the great stuff that burns and Mack is doing not only here in Kansas City but all over the place where you’re located we’re very lucky to have a corporation giving back in the community and thank you for your time absolutely thanks for

(30:21) having me great to chat today thank you for joining us for KC cares Kansas City’s non-profit voice were produced by charitable Communications which is also a non-profit this KC care segment was brought to you by the UE Marion Kaufman Foundation www.kauffman.org to be a guest on KC cares please visit our website it’s kccaresonline.org.

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