In 1995 the wheels were set in motion to establish the Parsons Area Community Foundation for the purpose of providing improvements and enrichments to the community beyond what tax dollars supplied. It would be funded through contributions of those wanting to give back to the community.
Prior to the establishment of the Foundation, a long time resident of Parsons died leaving a sizable estate. She would have been thrilled to have left the money for the betterment of Parsons if there had been such a vehicle as a city foundation in existence. As it was, the money was left to a distant cousin who was independently wealthy and over 80 years old. This was the catalyst for creating the Parsons Community Foundation.
Mary and I have a donor-advised fund at the Foundation. We are able to direct income from the investments of this fund to support the projects we value for the community. We can do this for our lifetimes and, if we choose, our children and grandchildren may continue with their direction. Since this fund is endowed, the principal always remains, and the income from the fund may be used to benefit generations to come. What a perfect way to support our local community. And all gifts are tax deductible! (Pete Hughes)
In 2008 Sonny and Sophia Zetmeir established a fund that would benefit both Labette Community College and the Parsons Area Community Foundation. Over time, the Zetmeirs made contributions to the fund designating the principal to be granted to the college once construction was begun for a new Labette Community College Health Science Building. In the meantime, the interest earned from the fund would be distributed to the Parsons Area Community Foundation. In 2013 the fund was closed with the principal granted to the college, and the community foundation receiving the balance. Pictured above at the groundbreaking ceremony are LCC College President Dr. George Knox, Montie Taylor, Sophia Zetmeir, Dr. Jerry Bouman, and Sonny Zetmeir.
In 2010, Ginny attended a planned giving seminar presented by the Labette Health Foundation, Labette Community College Foundation, and Parsons Area Community Foundation. She was intrigued by information regarding Charitable Gift Annuities.
A CGA is a contract between a donor and a charity whereby the donor transfers cash or property to the charity in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of annual income from the charity. When the donor passes away, the remainder of the gift will be used by the charity.
In Ginny’s case, the ability for her gift to eventually benefit multiple charitable causes through the community foundation, while providing a fixed income stream during her lifetime, was the perfect fit.
When Charlene Taylor was asked to tell the story of why the Parsons Area Community Foundation was chosen to establish the Taylor Family Fund, this was her answer: “The city of Parsons, and the workers in our company from this area, had been good to our family. With the sale of our company, we had an opportunity to give back to the community. In exploring the best way to do that, we felt establishing a fund at the community foundation would benefit the most people over time. The benefits that we have seen since starting the fund have been numerous and will be long lasting.”
Here is a short history of this amazing fund. The Taylor Family Fund was established in 1997 with gifts of $2,000,000. The terms were for 80% of the income from the fund to be used for grants at the board’s discretion, and 20% of the fund earnings designated for St. Patrick’s Catholic School. Grants began coming off this fund in 1998, and to date it has given local grants with a cumulative total of 1.7 million dollars. And here is the even more amazing part: Financial growth from the investment of this fund has not only enabled it to give 1.7 million dollars toward the betterment of our communities, but the balance of the fund as of the end of April, 2013, remains just over 3 million. What a tremendous gift this family has given our area, and through the power of endowment, it is a gift that will just keep giving.
Shaun Hill, quarterback for the Detroit Lions, established a donor advised fund at the Foundation in 2009. “PASS” stands for Parsons Area Support System.
We asked Shaun why he chose the Foundation and were given these reasons:
- To meet needs in my home community, especially for its youth
- By taking away the barrier of lack of money, engage all interested kids in activities at a young age to hopefully propel them into participation on into their high school years
- Keep sport programs alive in schools despite cuts to education funding
- The Parsons Community is very giving. This fund gives people the opportunity to add to the fund through tax deductible gifts
With a donor advised fund, Shaun is eligible for NFL charity grants to the fund. How very fortunate Parsons is to have Shaun’s support!
As a bequest, the Oden Endowed Fund was established at the Foundation with the direction of using the income from the fund to give $1000 each year to the Stella Wells Christmas Basket organization with the balance to be used in a wise and prudent manner to help the needy people in the community of Parsons, Kansas. Commercial Bank managed Mrs. Oden’s trust and transferred the amount bequested to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation for investment along with other Parsons Area Community Foundation funds invested in the Kansas City Foundation pools. However, the Parsons Area Community Foundation board subsequently voted to return the Oden Fund to Commercial Bank’s Trust Department for investment. All funds established with the Foundation have the option of being invested elsewhere with an approved fiduaciary manager, and since Mrs. Oden had known and trusted the officers at the bank, the Foundation board felt this would be the most appropriate.
Bonnie Oden worked for thirty years as a secretary at the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center, living frugally and saving her money. People who knew Bonnie well want others to know she was a kind, gentle woman, and the money she gifted was because she did without the extras to save her hard-earned money.
Since this fund is endowed, only the earnings on the fund will be distributed for grants. However, this year alone $1,000 was given to Stella Wells Christmas Baskets and $15,000 to the Labette Assistance Center. The wonder of an endowed gift is this will continue into perpetuity! What a remarkable woman, and what a difference her gift will make in years to come.
Our Aunt Hazel Wall was a longtime teacher at Washington Elementary School in Parsons. She died in 2001, a few months after her 90th birthday. We chose her church and the community foundation to be the recipients of memorial donations.
Later I discussed with other nieces and nephews the possibility of each of us making additional contributions to bring her memorial fund with the Parsons Area Community Foundation to the $10,000 amount necessary to be a permanently endowed fund. We decided income from this fund would provide an annual scholarship to assist a student attending Labette Community College, with the goal of becoming a teacher.
We are so pleased to have Hazel remembered for years to come through this scholarship. (Gary Wall)