Last year, which—for many—is fading quickly in the rear view mirror, was certainly a challenge. But it also offered invaluable opportunities to learn and grow, lessons that should not be forgotten.

As nonprofit donors, volunteers and fundraisers, we discovered much about ourselves and our organizations in 2020. We learned up-close and personally (even while being distanced and virtual) that philanthropy has tremendous power to unite and propel people through their shared commitment and generosity.

As you begin the year, take time to reflect on and carry forward 2020’s valuable lessons.

We are resilient.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020—the first day of the stay-at-home order—none of us could have predicted how the year would unfold. Yes, it took a day or two to download Zoom and remember to hit mute to silence the dog’s barking when the delivery driver came to the door. But by week’s end, we were creating new ways to engage volunteers, present proposals and—yes—close gifts.

Optimism breeds creativity.

As we faced an unknown future, we were forced to make many decisions, but especially one: standing at the proverbial fork in the road, we had to choose whether we would retreat or move forward boldly. Of course, adaptations had to be made, but many of the changes we made led us to be inspired with even higher levels of creativity than we might otherwise have known.

Someone is always making money.

In every economic cycle, there are always people making money who want to express their gratitude and make a difference in the world. Last year was, with the 2020 tax benefits enabled by the CARES Act, one of the best seasons for donors to make gifts of significance.

Kinetic is a valuable partner.

Across the country and around the world, Kinetic is proud of the work of its team members. Working alongside organizations, donors and volunteers, together, they seek to unleash the Power of Philanthropy.

Here are a few of their success stories:

Boy Scouts of America Pacific Harbors Council (Tacoma, Wash.) raised $205,000 very quickly after starting its three-year, $18-million campaign, Adventures Ahead, in December 2020.

Fundamental Learning Center (Wichita, Kan.) raised $10.9 million in 2020 toward its campaign, Transforming Education. The organization has been generously gifted over $19 million and plans to exceed its $20-million goal in the coming months.

State Fair Community College Foundation (Sedalia, Mo.) is in its second year of a three-year, $7.1-million campaign: Stronger Workforce, Greater Community. The institution raised $3.05 million in 2020.

The National WWI Museum and Memorial (Kansas City) announced in 2020 a $500,000 gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee and a $155,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities toward the goal of digitizing the Museum’s entire collection.

Community School of the Arts (Fort Smith, Ark.) launched its five-year, Inspiring Excellence campaign at the end of 2019. The nonprofit raised $1.3 million in 2020 for its important arts project that will reach hundreds of students in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

KC CARE Health Center will begin its three-year, Advancing a Healthy KC campaign this year, but the organization has already raised $1.7 million toward its $6.98- million goal.

Like all gifts of meaning, the transformative philanthropy these organizations and others secured in 2020, the year of the pandemic, rarely happen on their own. Somewhere along the way, committed volunteers and fundraisers cultivated the ground, planted the seeds and, at the right time, gathered the harvest.

To all who played a role in unleashing the Power of Philanthropy last year, the entire Kinetic team says, “Well done!” Let’s retain the lessons we have learned and, together, make this a great year.

Matthew J. Beem, PhD, CFRE
Chairman and CEO

Kansas City

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