2019 Philanthropy Awards Luncheon
35th annual

Philanthropy Awards Luncheon

It only takes one person, one step, one action...to make change. Thank you to everyone that joined us for the 35th Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on May 1, 2019 to celebrate The Power of One.

Click below to watch the 2019 Honoree videos.

Video Screenshot with Tavia and Clark Hunt

Do you know someone who makes a difference in our community? Complete a Nomination Interest Form, and Nonprofit Connect will follow up with you in Fall 2019 when nominations open for the 2020 Philanthropy Awards.

With more than 1,000 members of the nonprofit and business community attending every year, the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon is Kansas City's oldest and largest celebration of giving. The funds raised at the Luncheon allow Nonprofit Connect to continue to offer education, resources and networking so that area nonprofit organizations can more effectively achieve their missions.

For questions about the Luncheon, please contact events@npconnect.org.

2019 Philanthropy Awards Honorees

The Philanthropy Awards honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding commitment to impact through philanthropy in Kansas City. During the past 34 years, Nonprofit Connect has recognized close to 200 honorees at the annual luncheon.

Greg and Deanna Graves Philanthropists of the Year

Deanna and Greg Graves

Philanthropists of the Year

Deanna and Greg Graves are outstanding examples of civic and philanthropic leaders. Their contributions of time and financial resources are exceeded only by their passion, commitment and ability to inspire giving in others. The couple has supported so many causes in Kansas City, including jump-starting The University of Kansas Health System’s recently successful capital campaign with their largest-ever personal gift. Together this unstoppable couple has affected revolutionary change by setting fundraising records as event chairs for Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Salvation Army, and many more. While their personal commitment is deep, Deanna and Greg stand out in their ability to bring others along to the cause.

Nominated by Bob Page, The University of Kansas Health System

"Deanna and Greg have been weaving themselves, their passion, their generosity, and their skill into the Kansas City philanthropic community since they moved here in 1980 and made it their hometown. They are among the city's most visible philanthropic leaders." - Bob

Lisa Ginter CommunityAmerica Credit Union

CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Business Philanthropist of the Year

CommunityAmerica Credit Union has been committed to the Kansas City area for nearly 80 years. Giving back to the community is a cornerstone of their culture, which can be seen in their employee volunteerism and philanthropy. CommunityAmerica provides significant support for a wide range of local nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City, City Year Kansas City, Junior Achievement, Veterans Community Project, Children’s Mercy Hospital, WIN for KC, and the American Heart Association. Knowing the importance of financial peace of mind, they partner with nonprofit agencies who are focused on improving financial stability, education, and health to ensure a thriving community.

Nominated by Jason Roth, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City
Pictured: Lisa Ginter, CEO

"The fabric of CommunityAmerica Credit Union exudes social responsibility and generosity. Far more than a donor, they are a sounding board, a stakeholder, a volunteer and a partner to so many organizations." - Jason

Randy Wisthoff Kansas City Zoo

Randy Wisthoff

Nonprofit Professional of the Year

Under the direction of Randy Wisthoff, the Kansas City Zoo has transformed monumentally over the last sixteen years into a treasured institution. Charged with revitalizing the distressed organization, Randy stabilized the organization’s funding, facilities and reputation through passage of the Zoological Tax District, created cutting-edge exhibits including Polar Bear Passage and Penguin Plaza, and realigned focus on tremendous animal care and guest experience. In 2016, attendance topped 1 million visitors for the first time in the zoo’s 107-year history, arguably due to Randy’s passionate leadership. Randy is a gifted professional who inspires everyone to cherish the zoo, whether it’s the City, donors, his team, or a child visiting for the first time.

Nominated by Todd LaSala, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

"It would be a much different zoo if not for Randy Wisthoff. He is a community-minded and engaged leader and Kansas City needs to acknowledge his dedication." - Todd

Joe Jacobs Volunteer of the Year

Joseph Jacobs III

Volunteer of the Year

Joe Jacobs has an unwavering commitment to building strong education systems and fostering youth development. He has dedicated decades of leadership to the boards of Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Boy Scouts Heart of America Council, and Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City. More than a dedicated board member, Joe is also an active volunteer. He personally mentored 400 metro students through Junior Achievement, and helped lead the career Exploring program for Boys Scouts. Perhaps most impressively, Joe has given 30 years of service to North Kansas City Schools, in which he served as Vice President and President, and led countless initiatives to improve the learning environment for the students he served.

Nominated by Dixie Youngers, North Kansas City Schools

"It is clear that service is a lifelong passion for Joe. He believes in giving of himself in order to improve the conditions for the children of our future." - Dixie

Darren Prenger ECCO Select

Darren Prenger

Emerging Philanthropist of the Year

Darren’s giving spirit is evidenced by the long list of organizations he champions. He enthusiastically participates in many events that help raise awareness and funding. Through philanthropy and board service, he is a tremendous supporter of nonprofits including the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, FIRE Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Darren’s true talent lies in his ability to creatively recruit others to support the causes he believes in. His passion for philanthropic and civic engagement is contagious.

Nominated by Jessica Best-Stewart and Brian Stewart

"When Darren asks you to be involved, it's because he believes the organization he's asking on behalf of is doing the right thing. Darren is a leader in every sense of the word." - Jessica and Brian

Gillian Helm Literacy KC

Gillian Helm

Emerging Nonprofit Professional of the Year

Gillian Helm has led Literacy KC through significant growth over the last seven years. She spearheaded the programmatic transition from one-on-one tutoring into a classroom-based service model, more than tripled the organization’s operational budget, oversaw a successful capital campaign, and established the organization’s new location. She has transformed the organization into a data-driven service provider that helps over 2,200 adults and families each year to improve written and digital literacy.

Nominated by DJ Pierre, Spencer Fane

"Gillian is a creative, metric driven leader. Through the vision of literacy for all, Gillian is truly changing lives beyond words." - Jon Hile, KC Scholars

Chris Rosburg Grapevine Designs

Chris Rosburg

Emerging Volunteer of the Year

Chris Rosburg’s advocacy for reducing the stigma of addiction is moving the needle for organizations like First Call and Welcome House. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for First Call, where he chaired their signature fall fundraising event and was recently recognized as their volunteer of the year. For his outstanding service as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, Chris was named National Big Brother of the Year in 2015. Chris Rosburg champions the organizations he believes in and brings his personal enthusiasm to the cause.

Nominated by Erica Ostroski, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City

"Chris is the type of volunteer that jumps all the way in and looks for each and every opportunity to give back and make an impact. And he does it with real joy." - Erica

Dr. Mark Bedell KCMO School District Teresa Hamilton Giving the Basics Major Greg Volker KCPD

Giving the Basics with KCMO Police Department and KCMO School District

Excellence in Collaboration Award

Giving the Basics provides basic hygiene products that aren’t covered by government assistance to Kansas Citians in need. The organization has built dozens of community partnerships, but none more successful than with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and Kansas City Missouri School District. By stocking schools and police cars with supplies, and empowering school staff and patrol officers, this partnership reaches over 80,000 people in need of items like deodorant, toothbrushes and soap. Working together, these community entities are creating system-wide change by providing dignity for all through basic essentials.

Nominated by Rebecca Music, Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, AC & Rooter
Pictured: Dr. Mark Bedell, Superintendent of KCMO School District; Teresa Hamilton, Executive Director of Giving the Basics; and Major Greg Volker of KCMO Police Department

"This partnership not only improves our relations within the community, but improves the quality of life for some and provides dignity for others." - Sargeant Cory LeMoine, KCMO Police Department

Lauren Mattleman Hoopes Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City

Excellence in Impact Award

Since 1959, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City has partnered with hundreds of dedicated individuals, families, and nonprofit organizations to make our Kansas City community a better place. The Foundation has evolved over the decades to become a multi-faceted, dynamic center for creative philanthropy and a respected leader in innovative and collaborative programs, ranging from youth philanthropy to donor enrichment to organizational capacity building. Over the last five years, $99 million has been distributed to nonprofit organizations from Foundation funds. Jewish Community Foundation impacts not only the Jewish community, but the entire Kansas City nonprofit community.

Nominated by Sol Koenigsberg and Stan Zeldin
Pictured: Lauren Mattleman Hoopes, Executive Director

"The Foundation is consistently focused on encouraging and enriching the tradition of charitable giving and empowering individuals, families and other nonprofits to make the world a better place." - Stanley J. Bushman

David Renz, Ph.D. Special Lifetime Achievement Award

David Renz, Ph.D.

Special Lifetime Achievement Award

David Renz, Ph.D., has spent the past twenty-five years of his career building the capacity of Kansas City’s nonprofit sector. As the Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC and as the Director of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, he is widely recognized for his leadership in research, scholarship, teaching, convening, coaching and consulting. Dr. Renz has developed a reputation for excellence in board development, and many of his articles on nonprofit effectiveness, governance and social entrepreneurship have been published by local and national publications. Perhaps most impressively, an army of educated, trained, and talented nonprofit professionals have been delivered to our community because of the dedication and commitment of Dr. Renz. His lifetime of leadership has truly changed the landscape of the nonprofit sector in Kansas City.

Nominated by Eugene R. Wilson

"Few others have equaled Dave's influence on the effective delivery of service through the broad range of our nonprofit activity." - Eugene

Honoree Photos by J Robert Schraeder Photography

Recent Honorees

Philanthropist of the Year
2019 - Deanna & Greg Graves
2018 - Tom Isenberg, John Isenberg & Carol Barnett
2017 - Dr. William A. & Mary Reed
2016 - Marlys & Michael Haverty

Emerging Philanthropist of the Year
2019 - Darren Prenger
2018 - Randy & Cheryl Reinhardt
2017 - Jessica Best & Brian Stewart
2016 - Jennifer Matney

Business Philanthropist of the Year
2019 - CommunityAmerica Credit Union
2018 - H&R Block
2017 - The Miller Group
2016 - Kansas City Chiefs

Nonprofit Professional of the Year
2019 - Randy Wisthoff
2018 - Jeffrey Bentley
2017 - Frank Byrne
2016 - Wayne Sims

Emerging Nonprofit Professional of the Year
2019 - Gillian Helm
2018 - Jeremy Lillig
2017 - Sarah Reape
2016 - Deborah Wiebrecht

Volunteer of the Year
2019 - Joseph Jacobs III
2018 - Kevin Connor
2017 - Linda & Terry Ward
2016 - Peggy & Terry Dunn

Emerging Volunteer of the Year
2019 - Chris Rosburg
2018 - Nicole Jacobs-Silvey
2017 - Jake Jacobson
2016 - Rachel Hack Merlo

Excellence in Impact Award
2019 - Giving the Basics with KCMO Police Department and KCMO School District
2018 - United Way 2-1-1 of Greater Kansas City
2017 - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City
2016 - Community Services League

Excellence in Collaboration Award
2019 - Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City
2018 - Women's Foundation & City of Kansas City, Missouri
2017 - Artists Helping the Homeless & Saint Luke's Hospital
2016 - Kansas City, Kansas Police Department & Rainbow Services, Inc.

Special Lifetime Achievement Award
2019 - David Renz, Ph.D.

Past Honoree Videos

2018 Honorees

2017 Honorees

2016 Honorees


For questions about the Luncheon, please contact events@npconnect.org.