Each year around this time, families get together and ask each other the age-old question: “What are you grateful for?” For kids, this question may elicit a quick, almost knee-jerk response (family, friends, toys, etc.), but for adults, this question gives more pause.
The world around us can feel grim at times, and sometimes a break in our daily lives is needed in order to see true joy. This holiday season, as KC Healthy Kids remembers the previous year and reflects on our joy, there is one clear answer: all of you.
On Giving Tuesday, we want to show our appreciation for the people and organizations and our community partners who have shared their time, talents and financial resources this year. With your support, we can continue to connect communities to close health gaps for kids throughout our region.
Our Board of Directors
Special thanks go to our board of directors for supporting KC Healthy Kids as volunteers and donors.
Donating Organizations and Foundations
Greater KC Food Policy Coalition
Photo: MMGY helped our staff get Splitlog Farm ready for the fall season.
KC Healthy Kids seeks board members to help us expand our reach and bring about widespread changes that create a culture of health in our region.
We believe every child deserves to grow up in a healthy community with clean parks, safe playgrounds, walkable neighborhoods, bike friendly streets, school and community gardens, farm to school lunches, neighborhood grocery stores, farmers markets, high-quality mental health services, and accessible healthcare. Unfortunately, many of Kansas City’s children do not have access to these features, and the immediate and long-term implication is that this generation of children may be the first that won’t live as long as their parents.
To address this, KC Healthy Kids mobilizes community advocates to speak out for healthier neighborhoods and we support their efforts to make their vision a reality. We help leaders in government, schools and communities make the connection between their decisions and the health of children.
Do your values align with ours? Put your skills and talents to use as you support the work of KC Healthy Kids, helping raise funds and providing mission-based leadership, strategic governance.
As a member of our board, you can grow your professional network as you connect with other members, staff and representatives at our many partnering organizations. We love to see you bring your friends and family along for special events or volunteer opportunities, too!
KC Healthy Kids board members serve a three-year term and may be eligible for reappointment for up to two additional terms. Board meetings are held bi-monthly and committee meetings are held during opposite months.
Ideal candidates will have the following qualification:
To apply, please contact Markesia Tatum at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Photos: Jenny Pearson and Crystal Hart-Johnson help out at KC Healthy Kids' Kid Zone at the Eat Local and Organic Expo.
Throughout November, you can support KC Healthy Kids when you shop at The Merc in KCK or Lawrence and tell them to round up!
When shoppers round up to the nearest dollar, donate online, donate their reusable bag refund or drop spare change into the jars at the Lawrence store, the Merc will give 100% of those donations to KC Healthy Kids.
The Merc Co+op in KCK has been a great partner to KC Healthy Kids since the KCK store opened in 2020. Here are some examples:
How You Can Help
The more people who shop and round up during November, the more The Merc will be able to donate. We'd be so grateful for any help you can give!
Kansas City, KS 66101
Open daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
901 Iowa St
Lawrence, KS 66044
Open daily 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
You don't have to write a big check to make a big difference for Kansas City's communities. Here are some little things you can do to help connect communities to close health gaps.
With your help, our solution-based work related to local food, food policy, mental health, youth advocates and active communities has impacted the lives of thousands of kids in the Kansas City metro area. Here are some stories of our impact.
1. Make a monthly gift. Monthly donations in any amount add up to make a big difference for kids and their communities. Set it up
2. Give when you shop with Amazon. If you shop with Amazon, you can help KC Healthy Kids' fundraising efforts! It just takes a simple switch to AmazonSmile. Amazon tracks purchases and automatically sends KC Healthy Kids a check based on qualified transactions. On your mobile phone, open the Amazon Shopping App, navigate to the main menu and select Amazon Smile. Please select KC Healthy Kids, Kansas City, Kansas and then follow the on-screen instructions to turn ON AmazonSmile in the mobile app. Follow these steps to set it up on your web browser.
3. Get your friends involved with a Facebook fundraiser
You can use Facebook to raise money for KC Healthy Kids. When you make a post, just click the three dots in the "Add to your post" box to find "Raise Money." Type KC Healthy Kids into the search box and Facebook will walk you through the rest. You don't have to do another thing! Facebook will collect donations and send us a check. We WOULD love to know of your kind effort to raise money and spread the word about KC Healthy Kids, if you're so inclined.
4. Donate Your Birthday
Another great way to show your Facebook friends and family that KC Healthy Kids matters to you is to ask for donations in celebration of your birthday (or any special day). Go to Facebook Fundraisers and select KC Healthy Kids. Follow the prompts to publish and share the fundraiser.
After more than twelve years leading policy efforts for KC Healthy Kids and serving as director of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, Beth Low-Smith has tendered her resignation to begin the next chapter of her career. She will leave her post in late April.
Since joining KC Healthy Kids in 2010, Beth has assembled a talented team, forged strong partnerships and led innovative policy initiatives. She is committed to working closely with partners and staff to ensure a smooth transition and secure this legacy.
“We are grateful for Beth and the contributions she has made to KC Healthy Kids, from her incredible depth of expertise in food policy and community engagement to her commitment to supporting racial equity," Danielle Robbins-Gregory, president/CEO said.
Following are some highlights from Beth’s leadership we’re especially proud of:
We hope our funders, partners and stakeholders will join us in wishing Beth the very best in her new endeavors.
We like to put a spin on Giving Tuesday and use the day to show our appreciation for the people and organizations who help us connect communities for better health through Good Food Policy, Local Food, Mental Heath, Youth Advocacy and Active Communities. We're so grateful for all of you!
Special thanks go to our board of directors for supporting KC Healthy Kids as volunteers and donors (denoted with an asterisk).
The epidemic of violence in this country is a public health crisis. It shatters families and impacts our sense of safety and overall health and well-being, including the ways we access food, physical activity, community, school and work.
KC Healthy Kids emphatically condemns and remains committed to confronting violence and oppression which create barriers for many who want to access the community-based solutions KC Healthy Kids promotes: youth advocacy, mental health, good food policy, local food, and active communities.
As we work to advance the health and well-being of kids and their communities, we strive to recognize and support the incredible resilience communities demonstrate in the face of violence and to remember to start by listening
Here are some things we’re doing now. We’ve provided links so you can learn more and take action too.
Wow. 2020. What a year. The struggle and pain has been like nothing we’ve seen before. But we’re also seeing people reach out and help one another, speak out for others, lend a hand and give a little extra if they can.
This #GivingTuesday, we want to say how grateful we are for the power of community and for those who give their time, lend their voice and donate to KC Healthy Kids.
We also want to show our appreciation to the coalition of charitable, government and business partners who have created the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to address Kansas City needs during the pandemic. The Kansas City region is known for its philanthropy and industry-leading best practices. This coalition is another example of Kansas City metropolitan area generosity.
Thank you to our board of directors for supporting KC Healthy Kids as volunteers and donors, denoted with an asterisk.
We cannot advance the health and well-being of kids and their communities — our mission — if we do not address systemic racism and White supremacy culture.
This work starts within our agency. We understand that it is possible to do harm unintentionally, even when we believe we are doing good. Further, we understand that although our work has always aimed to further equity, we have also been complicit in systemic racism by, for example: failing to examine how the structure of our initiatives can privilege White voices and interests, failing to consistently and explicitly name policies and systems as racist when they have disparate impacts, and failing to challenge inequities in how nonprofits are funded.
We want to do better. In our statement issued on June 6, 2020, we committed to doing so in at least 4 ways. In this, our second statement, we describe how we are following through on this commitment. We are preparing additional updates which will explore the many ways we are taking action in yet more detail.
The urgency and impact of racial injustice in our work demands both immediate action and lasting efforts. We are therefore making a durable commitment to this work by evaluating and updating the guiding documents, including: Employee Handbook, Finance Manual, Strategic Plan and others to include specific policies, methods and goals for building an anti-racist agency culture and improving racial equity within our agency and through our initiatives.
This is not a one time commitment; it includes annually defining the tactics, milestones and frequency for strategies outlined below. We will complete the first round of this process by year end, 2020.
Learn: Increase staff and board knowledge and skills, and build an anti-racist agency culture committed to advancing racial equity.
Assess: Conduct self-assessments and accountable evaluations to understand, monitor and adapt our efforts at advancing racial equity.
Action: Identify short- and long-term actions for us as an organization, and in our initiatives which:
Although some of this work will take months to complete, and nearly all of it will be ongoing, we have already begun to take action. Here are a few highlights about those efforts, which we’ll expand upon in forthcoming articles.
Photos: A grocery worker talks with Jane Philbrook, Kansas City, Kansas Commissioner; Maxine Drew, board president of Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools meets with students from her district; Marquita Williams, an early education professional, encourages children to use their gross motor skills; Jamesha Price, a former teacher at M.E Pearson, shows children how to plant seeds at Splitlog Farm and Orchard.
KC Healthy Kids shares the sadness, frustration and outrage expressed by protesters over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody, as well as other Black people who have met similar fates throughout the nation, including in our community. These events are not isolated; they are part of four centuries of violent and systemic racism in our nation. We stand with civil rights leaders in calling for significant reforms needed to achieve racial, economic and health equity.
We know that words of sympathy and solidarity are meaningless without concrete action. In order to confront and dismantle pervasive racism, we must adapt and grow, as an agency and as individuals.
We are looking at all of the ways we operate our agency, our programs and our policy efforts. Each member of our staff is being encouraged to give input based on their unique roles and perspectives. Then we’ll take time to thoughtfully evaluate what is needed in our organization and what we are well-positioned to contribute amidst the current crises and going forward.
In the following week, we’ll post an article detailing ways in which we are taking action to match our words, and will identify actions our partners and supporters can take as well.
Here is our commitment: We will…
…Seek out and listen to the advice, perspectives and leadership of people of color and ensure effectiveness and accountability as we continue critical self-assessment.
…Continue to foster a culture where staff can respectfully discuss racial equity and hold each other accountable, while recognizing it’s not the job of team members who are Black or People of Color to teach White peers how to be better.
…We’ve always fought against policies that create health and economic disparities. Now we’ll explicitly identify them as racist.
…Encourage our partners and supporters to make a similar commitment. We say to you: your progress and growth is essential to our collective ability to advance equity. Let’s make this a part of every project we enter into together.
We are working to be better. For those who want to do the same, here are some excellent resources: