A community presence in Kansas City since 1860, the Greater Kansas City YMCA forwards its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages and backgrounds at its 18 locations. Each bustling outpost proffers members an embarrassment of fitness and entertainment riches, with everything from youth camps and after-school programs to group exercise classes, such as cycling, core training, and Pilates. Clubs and social organizations help members meet like-minded friends, and family activities strengthen bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly.
Family Promise covers immediate and necessary expenses so that families with children can direct their incomes to paying off debt or saving up for a deposit on a house. One of the families currently staying at the shelter has two daughters who are in need of clothing, shoes, and school supplies.
The Lawrence Fruit Tree Project works to address the growing need for access to nutritious food by partnering with the public to grow, maintain, and utilize perennial food plants. Through community orchard projects, the organization helps local residents plant and care for fruit trees, develops proposals for appropriate public spaces to plant trees, and hosts educational workshops about fruit- and nut-tree cultivation.
Heart to Heart International began as the vision of Dr. Gary Morsch, who challenged his local Rotary club to donate medical supplies to hospitals in Moscow at the end of the Cold War. With local collections across the country and the aid of the U.S. government, they distributed aid to 15 area hospitals. Today, Heart to Heart International continues to improve health conditions all over the world by connecting individuals in need with medical resources. It mobilizes volunteers to provide medical education and aid, respond to international crises, and address community health concerns.
The YWCA is the largest women's multicultural organization in existence, encompassing some 125 million members in over 100 countries. The membership represents a diversity of culture and lifestyle that assembles in 300 local associations, including the YWCA of Topeka. The Topeka chapter, first instituted in 1887, lives out the YWCA mission of empowering women with locally focused programs and outreach initiatives ranging from fitness and wellness to youth services such as Girls on the Run of Topeka. A local council of Girls on the Run International, the Topeka organization often partners with the YWCA, using running to encourage girls in grades 3-8 to live lives of confidence, health, and togetherness.
With a membership of more than 1,200 firms and 1,700 individuals, the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce connects savvy professionals with educational and social events and helps businesses to flourish with exclusive benefits. Businesspeople mingle at power breakfasts and after-hours events to discuss corporate concerns, commercial opportunities, or how to succeed without really trying. Educational forums and seminars hone skills as members can take advantage of low-cost, direct-mail opportunities, access demographic and business information, or purchase the Chamber’s member mailing lists for a small fee. Discounts from vendors such as Staples and Constant Contact keep everyday costs low, and the Chamber’s website nudges browsers toward members’ sites with direct links.