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Kansas City’s Nonprofit Voice!

Sharing the stories of local nonprofits and connecting them with the community! We talk with philanthropists, volunteers, community activists, executive directors, and non-profit lovers from the Kansas City nonprofit community. Be seen, be heard with KC Cares! Kansas City’s Nonprofit Voice!

On Episode 366 of KC Cares, we talk with Erica Terry with Susan B. Komen-Kansas & Western Missouri! Listen now!


Susan B. Komen-Kansas & Western Missouri

Erica Terry, CEO & Executive Director

Save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. 



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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 the Kauffman Foundation

Think. Do. Be Uncommon.

Transcription of Interview:

2019-12-28 kc cares ep 366-s3

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:00] Welcome back to KC cares, Kansas city’s window on the nonprofit community and the people they serve. I’m Ruth BOM, vagus.

Bobby Keys: [00:00:08] I am Bobby keys

Erica Terry: [00:00:10] and we are back.

Bobby Keys: [00:00:12] Yeah. Towards the end of the year, we’re getting all this information we had our doctor philanthropy on and gave us that I loved, I love the knowledge. Oh, he provides,

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:22] he has so much knowledge. Unbelievable.

Bobby Keys: [00:00:24] A lot of profits need that. I mean, instead of like paying fees that you get it free,

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:28] you get a free here on KC cares. That’s, that’s why we’re here. And that’s why we’re working in the nonprofit community. 11,000 nonprofits in Kansas city.

Erica Terry: [00:00:37] Which is, well, that’s with our

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:38] religious institution affiliated 9,000 something.

If you carve that

Erica Terry: [00:00:43] out, it’s

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:44] still amazing. When I tell people or family who live on coasts about that, they just are

Erica Terry: [00:00:49] floored. Yeah.

Ruth Bigus: [00:00:51] You know, we used to be the flyover. We’re not the flyover where we should be the stopover.

Bobby Keys: [00:00:57] And matter of fact, we got, we got, we got major nonprofits here. I mean, they’re doing awesome things.

When I say major, like just they’re making ways in the nation where, you know, and across the world with, you know, advances in different areas of our lives, whether it’s cancer.

Ruth Bigus: [00:01:16] Which is our next guest. Yes. Great segue. The Susan G Komen organization here in UF, Kansas and Western Missouri. We are so honored to have Erica Terry with us.

She’s the CEO

Erica Terry: [00:01:27] and executive director. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. To this role. Correct. I’ve been on board for seven months now. , but I’ve been working, my heart and soul is in the nonprofit world, especially Kansas city. I love Kansas city, but I’m excited to take on this new role.

, we serve 105 counties in Kansas. Whole state of Kansas, seven counties in Western Missouri, and that’s new for our affiliate. And so, , it’s a big job. We have a lot of people counting on us, and I love the opportunity to really lead with impact and redefine what Komen means for this region. , we’ve been kind of stagnant for a bit.

I’ll be honest. , you know, most people just think pink ribbon and the race for the cure, right? , but, . I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge event person and I’m more interested in making an impact and solely focused on the mission. So I’ve had a lot of discussions with my board and talked about, you know, we, we need to redefine what impact means for our, our affiliate.

Bobby Keys: [00:02:33] So that’s awesome. Because, you know, we were just, we were talking about that earlier about impact and impact, communication and the importance of it. Right? And you, and that’s how you really reached owners. True. So where I guess is it come down to, , , obviously messaging, but it seems like there’s just a, an element of marketing that’s missing and it’s not being concentrated, honors being overlooked, or, you know, we know that nonprofits don’t get, you know, marketing budgets and whatnot, but how, how.

You know, how do you really communicate that properly? Is it beginning with your staff?

Erica Terry: [00:03:07] You know, it’s everything but quite honest. I’m a firm believer that your impact drives your revenue. I’m not the other way around. A lot of nonprofits come from the perspective. If we only had more money, we could do more.

But I actually believe the bigger you dream, the bigger vision that you have, , your revenue will follow. And so when I came on board first and met with staff and met with our board members, we first off dreamed big. We said, I said, okay, if we had $100 billion, what would we do? We need to start there.

Think really big, because people will follow when your vision and your mission is big. So again, your impact drives your revenue. And how do you get that out? Well. You know, I think it’s important to make sure that people know that we are at the table. We’re a part of a lot of regional coalition, statewide coalitions working together.

I’m not interested in who gets kind of credit or achieving our mission to end breast cancer. I just want to get it done. So, ,. I firmly believe in partnership. I firmly believe in, I’m working smarter and not harder. And again, leading with impact.

Bobby Keys: [00:04:18] So I’m curious, when you did ask him that and they said you had a home, what was the answer?

What was, what was everybody’s, what was the name owners?

Erica Terry: [00:04:26] Well, we know that screening saves lives. We know a hundred percent screening saves lives. So the big question, or the big answer to that, you know, if we had unlimited resources, we would make sure everybody. Got screened. W go ahead. Everybody got screened starting at age 40

Bobby Keys: [00:04:42] okay.

I was about to ask once the ones the time, cause I have four daughters, right? So me and I’m pretty involved in her life. We talk about everything. So I’m not one of those dads that doesn’t talk about, I know you, I know you’re a woman. I know what goes on and I know what you need, you know, needs to happen.

, so what is, I guess, what is that you said? 40.

Erica Terry: [00:05:02] Okay. Is it start screening at 40 and look for the warning signs? I mean, , we’ve been doing, actually for Coleman, we’ve been doing a listening tour throughout the state. , I’ve been to Wichita, Hays, Salina. Pittsburgh, I’d go to tomorrow to Pika garden city, which is nine hours away, other side of the state.

And one of the big messages that we’ve heard. So, , that we want people to start thinking through and it’ll be a paradigm shift, but you have to make your health a priority regardless if you have, if you’re a woman or a man or a child or a senior, whatever it is, you have to make your health a priority.

The notion that we have a vehicle. If you own a car, you take care of it. You change the transmission fluid, you put gas in it, you change the oil. But people don’t do that for themselves. So how do we change the paradigm that you have to put yourself first and look for the warning signs and go and get your annual pap smear or your annual screening mammogram.

, make that a priority for people.

Bobby Keys: [00:06:02] Yeah. So it would think that you’d started at an early age.

Ruth Bigus: [00:06:04] Yeah, I’m surprised it’s now 40.

Erica Terry: [00:06:07] Oh, for a screening. That’s the screening guidelines for mammograms.

Bobby Keys: [00:06:11] But the shift or paradigm, you know, saying that, you know, like self care, I guess it would be, you know, self awareness, self care, where,

Erica Terry: [00:06:17] whatever you want to call it so that you can detect a l,p if you’re doing a breast self exam at home in the shower.

, being aware. And a lot of the discussion that we’re having kind of across the state and region that we’re hearing now, , people are afraid of what they’ll find. Or if they don’t have health insurance, they don’t want to incur the medical bills that might result as. After they go and get that checked out.

So they’re just not going. Yeah. It’s really heartbreaking to hear the decisions that individuals are making, not putting their health first, not, , not taking care of themselves as a result of certain financial situations within our state and region.

Bobby Keys: [00:06:56] I know a couple people that’s happening too.

Ruth Bigus: [00:06:58] So how can, how does Komen help those women who may say, you know, step forward and finally do that mammogram and let’s say that.

They do find out they have breast cancer or some other

Erica Terry: [00:07:08] great question. So on the Missouri side, there’s a program called show me healthy women. On the Kansas side, there’s a program called early detection works. Both are state funded programs that anybody who does not have health insurance can go to a, either show me healthy women provider or an early detection works provider and get a free.

Screening mammogram or correct, or a free pap smear. The beauty of going to those programs, if you are uninsured, is if something’s detected, you are fast tracked into Medicaid. So what’s really important to us at Komen is not just covering screenings, right? Because if something is found. Then what do you do?

Right? If they don’t have health insurance, that’s just the beginning of it. So we want to make sure that everyone knows these programs exist in Kansas and in Missouri, that they take advantage of them. What we’re doing on the Komen side, there are certain parameters that people, , ,. Must meet for both of those programs.

We’re covering screenings for those that don’t fall in those categories because we want to make sure that every single woman is screened.

Ruth Bigus: [00:08:20] How much of an issue today is it convincing women to get a mammogram? Not because of cost, but that’s going to hurt. Scared of the mammogram?

Erica Terry: [00:08:32] Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know.

That’s an interesting question. We haven’t actually, ,. Dove into that. It’s the challenge has been how scary the health. System is, or healthcare in general, is the cost associated with it. , the process, not trusting your physician and what we’ve discovered kind of throughout the state. , on the Kansas side at least, that, , hospitals are closing rural hospitals close.

Physicians retire and then they’re not replaced. And so communities lose that trust because those are the people that they’ve relied on and gone to for 30 plus years. And they’re having to find a new, , a new physician to help them make those decisions, to inform them about screening, to educate them about what it, what a mammogram will feel like or what that experience will be.

And because some of these challenges are taking place, are happening throughout the region, they’re just not going now.

Ruth Bigus: [00:09:27] Oh, that’s so sad. Cause I mean that’s on my checkbox and I’m, yup. In the category above 40. My sister was detected through mammogram. She has just gone through a year of, , dealing with breast cancer.

Thank goodness most

Erica Terry: [00:09:41] hers was caught early,

Ruth Bigus: [00:09:43] et cetera. And I know the kinds of fear she had as somebody who was lucky enough to have insurance and, and moved it forward with her doctor. So there’s so many questions you alluded to. There’s been some change in the organization itself. And a refocus. Can you share with us a little bit what that means?

So people will know,

Erica Terry: [00:10:02] happy

Ruth Bigus: [00:10:03] to what to watch out for.

Erica Terry: [00:10:04] So I’m April 1st, which is our start of our fiscal year. We’re launching a brand new community investment strategy, and it is specific to our region. , what we will do is we are continuing to find, we have a RFA open right now where we will find projects that are focused on a patient navigation or education, whether that be general.

, general public education in a one on one setting or in a group setting that’s evidenced based that. That results in behavior changes. We’re not interested in health fairs necessarily because that’s not evidence based and in action. Meaning we want people to do what they learn. Right? Right. , so we have that approach.

The second community investment strategy we were, we are launching that we are very excited about is our breast health assistance fund. That’ll launch April one. , what we will do through that is a partner. With a couple of clinical providers who will execute screenings for those that cannot afford screenings.

The second piece of that, we will fund, , financial assistance for those post diagnosis. So covering a copay for them, paying for a prescription drug, pain for their mortgage or their rent paid for daycare. Cause there’s a lot of costs associated just beyond the medical bills. And we want to make sure, and we know, and we have thought very long and hard about this that.

That might save somebody’s life if they go to their doctor’s appointment, right? If they go to their screening, if they go get their radiation treatment and we cover their daycare because they’re chill, they’re, they’re not able to afford that. We want to, we’re solely focused on saving lives, right? So that’s the breast health assistance fund.

The third one is a bit more progressive. I’m no other Komen affiliate in the United States is doing this. We’re launching an impact fund. What this fund will do, leverages the amazingness of Kansas city, Kansas city. Is thanks to the legacy of Ewing Kauffman and Marion laboratories that he established. , Kansas city is home to the largest concentration of clinical research organizations.

, there’s incredible drug development, drug discovery, drug delivery research that’s taking place in Kansas city. And. We want to leverage that. We have the largest, we have the largest health endowment in the, in the world, in our backyard via the stars Institute for medical research. Thanks to the foresight of Jim and Virginia stylers, Jim Stowers, founding American century.

As you know, we are so lucky in Kansas city. So you talking about it not being a flyover. It is not. There is economic development in the healthcare region that we have a lot to be proud of. And so. Knowing all of that, we want to leverage that. We don’t want to miss an opportunity to find what could potentially lead to a cure.

So let’s say there’s a phase three clinical trial. I know I’m talking

Yeah, yeah. You’ve got a monitor, right?

Bobby Keys: [00:12:52] They tell us five minutes. Sorry, everybody, like, no, no, no, no. Three. Right.

Ruth Bigus: [00:12:58] The secrets of radio.

Erica Terry: [00:13:02] So let’s say there’s a phase three clinical trial taking place in Kansas city because of all this great stuff that’s going on, and it is for triple negative breast cancer.

They’re having a hard time recruiting patients. We invest some marketing dollars behind it. They recruit the patients. And what if that’s the cure for triple negative breast cancer? We want to be able to invest in things like that. So we’re looking at our. Impact in our region a bit differently. It’s not just about education and printing out, you know, pamphlets for health fairs.

It’s about action. It’s about behavior changes and it’s about leveraging what’s in Kansas city to help find a cure. Because at the end of the day, we want to intentionally go out of business. I don’t want to be around for 20 years and not putting a 20 year plan together because we shouldn’t be around in 20 years because we want to achieve our mission.

Ruth Bigus: [00:13:49] You said you’re not a big events person. Will there be

Erica Terry: [00:13:51] events? Of course. So, you know why? Because I always remember the Komen walk. Yes. That is still around, you know, , we had a Komen, , fo Comans homework is race for the cure. Right. And quite frankly, there’s a walk or a race every single weekend. Now, thanks to Coleman and the legacy they established.

Right. , so we will always. Have the more than pink walk here in Kansas city as well as in Wichita to help bring the community together, , make people understand and create some comradery amongst the survivor community as well as raise important funds for this new initiatives that we’re doing.

Bobby Keys: [00:14:33] Yeah.

Go ahead. Were you about to say, 

Ruth Bigus: [00:14:36] have so many questions,

Bobby Keys: [00:14:38] so I was going to say, you know, with, with, , with the, with the growth and, and with all of the, I guess you’d say governmental changes, have you seen, , I guess more. Phone’s being dedicated to breast cancer awareness?

Erica Terry: [00:14:52] No, no, no. Not at all. No. That’s why the work we do is so important.

, we fight every year. I’m in United States Congress to ensure that there is still federal funding for, , the fight against breast cancer. , those dollars kind of come through the department of health as well as, , , the department of defense. , which is really interesting, right? And there’s a history there.


Bobby Keys: [00:15:17] but

Erica Terry: [00:15:19] it is interesting, but we fight every year to make sure that those at least sustain. But because women are living longer now, as a result, after a diagnosis, there’s new challenges that people face. , and there’s new. , research avenues that we need to, we need to investigate. So unfortunately, no, there’s not enough dollars out there to fund.

That’s why, , nonprofits like Susan G Komen, Kansas, and Western Missouri is very important.

Bobby Keys: [00:15:45] How can people help? How can they help you?

Erica Terry: [00:15:47] Oh, we would love for them to be informed. One, we want them to, , again, I’ll, , I’ll end with our website, but I want people to take action. And. Make their health a priority 100% take care of yourself because again, we don’t want to be here forever.

We want to. Achieve our mission to end breast cancer forever. , but if they are interested and they are looking for resources, visit our website, Komen, K S w M o.org, and we would be more than thrilled to have anybody involved to donate, , to invest. So I won’t say donate. I’ll say make an investment in us and we will honor that investment and prove and be transparent in the work that we do.

Erica, thank

Ruth Bigus: [00:16:29] you so much and thanks for listening to KC cares. Kansas city’s nonprofit digital resource we’re produced by charitable communications. Hazy cares is generously underwritten by the Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation. If you would like to support

Erica Terry: [00:16:40] our efforts

Ruth Bigus: [00:16:41] in sharing the stories of nonprofits, underwriting opportunities are available on our website.

KC cares online.org spread the love. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter at KC cares online,

Bobby Keys: [00:16:53] KC cares podcasts are available. KC, heres online.org and thank you for listening to KC cares on ESPN 1510 and 94.5.

ESPN, Kansas

Erica Terry: [00:17:10] city is KCTV independence

Bobby Keys: [00:17:13] and key two 33 GM

Erica Terry: [00:17:15] Raytown 15:10 AM 94.5 FM.

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