KANSAS CITY, MO. – Kansas Citians can cite statistical proof that this community is indeed generous. The recently released Giving in Kansas City study reports that charitable giving by Kansas City-area donors totaled an estimated $2.15 billion in 2007.
In Kansas City, charitable giving is on the rise. Consider the following:
- Individuals with an income of $100,000 or more gave almost twice the national average in 2007.
- The average gift in the Kansas City area was $3,375 in 2007, which is 50 percent more than the national average of $2,247 that year.
- The growth rate of individual giving notably increased by 128 percent after adjusting for inflation between 1997 and 2007. In comparison, the national rate of increase was 30 percent after adjusting for inflation during those same years.
- Gifts from individuals made up almost three-quarters (70 percent) of total giving in 2007.
- Foundation assets per capita in Kansas City are extraordinarily high at $3,239 per person in comparison to the national average of $2,053 per person.
"What we learn from this report is that our region is undoubtedly committed to making Kansas City a better place,” said Laura McKnight, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. “Even in a challenging economy, those who can give are continuing to invest in the community through charitable giving. The trend we have seen over the past year and a half is that individuals, families and companies are being even more deliberate with their giving to make sure they are achieving the greatest impact possible."
Why, in the face of deep economic challenges, do corporations, families and giving circles in Kansas City continue to invest in the community through charitable giving?
Kansas City companies, which account for 7 percent of giving in the region, are giving back to the community and spending less in the process. The heightened importance of corporate social responsibility has caused many businesses to view giving as a balance sheet issue, building goodwill in the community and among employees and clients, rather than simply a line-item budget issue. For example, several companies in the area have consolidated their employee volunteer and matching gifts programs, corporate sponsorships, cause marketing, and philanthropic giving under a single strategy that supports the company’s core values. This approach increases the return on the company’s investment in community involvement, while at the same time trimming internal costs related to administering a scattershot approach.
Individuals and families, credited with 70 percent of all charitable giving, now know that every family, including their own, is just one life change away from needing emergency assistance. Indeed, this awareness is a powerful incentive for becoming more deliberate and organized about giving. Today’s families want to make a difference in the lives of others and are focused on consolidating and evaluating their charitable giving to achieve results and change lives.
Kansas City has a rich history of foundation giving, which accounts for 18 percent of total giving. People have learned that, if invested wisely, any gift can make a difference, whether it is $25 million, $25,000 or $25. As the spirit of giving becomes a part of everyday life, social structures take on a new meaning. Giving circles are a venue where giving, learning, collaborating, socializing and investing come together to deliver results for community causes in a way that is affordable, meaningful and fun.
The Giving in Kansas City study was conducted by the nation’s premier philanthropic research institution, The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the same research team that researches and writes the Giving USA report for Giving USA Foundation™. "This study is significant because it provides great insight into our region’s charitable giving activity," said Jennifer Furla, Giving USA Foundation board member and executive vice president of Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Inc. "Based on what we are seeing nationally, there is some ebb and flow from year to year in the philanthropic sector, but we will be able to use the national information to gauge Kansas City’s giving landscape even in future years now that we have comparable data."
The Giving in Kansas City study is based on 2007 data, but the recent national Giving USA study based on 2008 data shows that the rate of giving in last year’s challenging financial climate declined very little in comparison to the overall economy. Donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.65 billion in 2008, a 2 percent drop in current dollars over 2007. In the context of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), giving is as strong historically as it’s ever been. The Giving USA estimates for 2008 indicate that giving was 2.2 percent of GDP. In 2007, giving was 2.3 percent of GDP.
The study focuses on charitable giving in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), covering all or a portion of:
- Missouri counties of: Bates, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Lafayette, Jackson, Platte, and Ray.
- Kansas counties of: Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, and Wyandotte.
Metropolitan statistical areas are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which looks at large population centers and determines which adjacent communities are most socially and economically involved with them. The larger cities covered in this report include, in Missouri, Independence and Kansas City and in the state of Kansas, the communities of Kansas City, Olathe, and Overland Park.
This report would not have been possible without the support of several local funders: Bank of America; Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; DST Systems, Inc.; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; H&R Block Foundation; Hall Family Foundation; Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Inc.; Kansas City Power & Light; The REACH Healthcare Foundation; Sosland Foundation; Sunderland Foundation; and UMB Bank.
About the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation has fulfilled charitable dreams through the power of giving for 30 years, improving the quality of life in our region. The Community Foundation, including its affiliates within the Greater Kansas City area, ranks among the top ten largest community foundations in America and is recognized as a national leader in making sure every philanthropic investment returns the greatest emotional, civic and financial benefit possible. Since its establishment in 1978, the Community Foundation and its donors have given more than $1.25 billion in grants. For more information visit www.gkccf.org.
About Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Inc.
Founded in Kansas City in July 2000, Jeffrey Byrne & Associates is a national fundraising consulting firm that specializes in capital and endowment campaigns. Through our consultants in Kansas City and nationwide, Jeffrey Byrne & Associates provides innovative and effective fundraising solutions, personalized attention and extensive talent to organizations and associations working to serve their communities and reach their financial development goals. Kansas City’s only firm to have achieved the distinction of membership in the Giving Institute, formerly the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, Jeffrey Byrne & Associates has provided fundraising and capital campaign planning and management to more than 200 nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. To learn more visit www.FundraisingJBA.com.
About The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, teaching, training and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. A part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses.
About Giving USA Foundation
Giving USA Foundation™, headquartered in Glenview, Ill., seeks to advance the cause of philanthropy through research and education. It was formed in 1985 by what is now known as Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits, which published the seminal annual report, Giving USA, prior to its founding. The report has been published every year since 1956.