The Junior League of Kansas City has donated more than $14 million and 2.2 million hours of time since its founding in 1914. Spearheading these efforts are the nonprofit organization’s now 1,400 female members, all of whom are committed to their volunteer work and to encouraging others to donate their time as well. Their sheer numbers allow the ladies to form 700-on-700 pickup basketball games and to spread out across the community to get a pulse on current issues in need of attention—currently, children’s nutrition and fitness. To help support their efforts, these stalwart altruists host fundraisers throughout the year. Since it began in 1988, Holiday Mart has helped to raise more than $8 million for Kansas City community projects.
Founded and exclusively run by practicing theater artists, the Kansas City Actors Theatre brings peerless artistry to carefully curated seasons of theatrical classics. Eschewing such crutches as flashy effects, ornate costumes, and post-show hypnotists that tell the audience they enjoyed themselves, the Theatre relies foremost on the talent of its actors to bring plays to life.
Goods from dozens of local businesses and artisans will populate the ballroom floor of Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino & Hotel during the fifth annual Northland Holiday Mart, a charitable event presented by Safe Place for Kids and benefiting the Northland Early Education Center. Visitors can simultaneously get a leg up on holiday shopping and support a good cause as they peruse vendor booths and decide which siblings are worthy of gifts this year. Friday is Ladies’ Night Out with live music from Touch & Go to electrify the atmosphere and special wristbands to endow visitors with unlimited food and drink throughout the night.
Started by a group of driven University of Kansas medical students, JayDoc exists to provide health care for the uninsured and underinsured residents of Greater Kansas City and support medical students with opportunities to apply their learning. The clinic mitigates the cultural, financial, and linguistic barriers that often prevent people from receiving quality health care by providing a mix of no-cost preventive and urgent care with onsite interpreters. The staff of volunteering licensed physicians and medical students provides primary care and prescription medications, prenatal care, and HIV screening, with a special emphasis on nonemergency urgent care, diabetes, and women's health care. The team offers its experience to every patient who arrives at the clinic and does not ask for insurance or citizenship status. Patients may also be connected to other resources such as dental care and free legal advice provided by LawHawks from the University of Kansas School of Law after meeting with a social-services volunteer.
Formed by a group of young professionals who wanted to leave a positive mark on their city, SocialHeart raises funds and awareness for Kansas City’s local nonprofit organizations. After two years of careful event planning and volunteering, the group held its first events in 2012, each based on its belief that raising money for a good cause should be fun. To that end, the team coordinates elaborate events throughout the year, such as themed costume parties, date auctions, pub crawls, and brewery tours—all of which benefit local nonprofit groups and clowns looking to socialize without being recognized. SocialHeart also provides social media, marketing support, graphic design, and website or technical support for organizations’ events, as well as organized volunteers for nonprofit events if needed.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City supports early literacy development in children from low-income families by distributing books during medical examinations. Every year children from birth to 5 years old visit pediatric doctors for vaccinations and checkups. Doctors partnering with Reach Out and Read Kansas City talk to families about the importance of reading aloud to children and give them an age-appropriate book to take home. Volunteers also distribute pamphlets and gently used books in waiting rooms for children to read and take and, when possible, read aloud to children while they wait to model techniques for parents. Reach Out and Read Kansas City gives books to more than 28,000 children every year though partnerships with 49 area clinics. The books mostly go to underserved families and come in 25 languages to reach a wide variety of communities.