Our Focus is Community
by Phil Hanson, President and CEO, Truman Heartland Community Foundation
Community foundations are nonprofit organizations that work to address the unique needs and challenges of their communities by providing financial resources, expertise, and leadership. Community foundations bring together donors, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations to work collaboratively towards common goals such as improving education, supporting the arts, promoting health and wellness, and alleviating poverty.
By pooling resources and knowledge, community foundations can make a significant impact on the lives of those they serve. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) strives to play a critical role in building strong, resilient, and vibrant communities throughout suburban Eastern Jackson, Cass, and Lafayette Counties.
Our commitment to building a better community is strong. Beyond our standard donor services, the Foundation is committed to improving the lives of individuals and families in the community by supporting community-focused strategic initiatives: issues and problems that impact the lives of our friends and neighbors.
One of our key initiatives is Job Skills for New Careers, which aims to help hard-working adults develop the skills needed to obtain employment in a job that pays a living wage and has a career path. The Foundation has teamed up with Community Services League and their New Skills program to provide (at no cost to the trainee), high-quality training and resources to help people identify and pursue new career paths. THCF fundholders donated more than $200,000 in 2022 to help provide critical support for the program.
This includes wrap-around support services provided by Community Services League, such as personal finance and career coaching, gas cards, and utility assistance. The availability of comprehensive wrap-around services removes many of the common barriers that can prevent someone from successfully completing the training. Since 2020, nearly 300 people have completed the program, receiving industry-recognized certifications in high-demand career fields.
Another important THCF initiative is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), our “School of Philanthropy.” YAC is designed to empower young people to become civic leaders and make a positive impact in their communities. YAC members engage in a variety of activities, such as volunteering, fundraising, grantmaking, and community service projects.
Through this unique program, students from 12 local high schools have the opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills and make meaningful connections with other local students. Usually, when students from different high schools come together, it’s all about competition, whether that’s in sports, speech, debate, or scholar bowl, for example. Here the focus is coming together to build a better community. It’s a unique opportunity.
Our commitment to the community is strong. By putting energy into our strategic initiatives with the support of our fundholders, THCF is truly making a difference in the lives of individuals and families in the community. Together, if we remain focused and stay the course, we can all work towards building stronger and more vibrant communities.
I would be happy to sit down with anyone who would like to learn more about THCF’s community initiatives and ways you can get involved. Give the THCF office a call at 816-836-8189, and let’s schedule a time to meet. I look forward to hearing from you!
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