LIBERTY — Like other organizations, the Liberty Giving Circle saw a decline in giving recently because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the group of philanthropic and civic-minded women dedicated to the well-being of Liberty area residents have plenty to celebrate this year as the group hit a milestone of $500,000 in donations made to date. The group uses these donations for grants to area nonprofits.
To apply for grants from the circle, nonprofits must have a Liberty mailing address and serve the Liberty community. Preference is given to nonprofits focusing on aging, arts and culture, community development, education and youth services, health and life sciences and social sciences.
Rebuilding Together Kansas City received this year’s grant from the Giving Circle. Under the old name of Rebuilding Together Clay County, the nonprofit also received grants in 2010 and 2015.
Rebuilding’s mission is to repair homes, revitalize communities and rebuild lives.
Two of the Liberty Giving Circle’s cofounders, Dianne Ferrell and Debbie Feldhaus, managed to surprise Clay McQuerry, Rebuilding Together’s executive director, with this year’s $12,000 grant.
“It’s a great way to end 2020,” said McQuerry. “We feel very fortunate to be honored again. I know all the places that applied are well-deserving, too.”
McQuerry said this year has been challenging with fewer donations and restrictions on volunteers to keep them safe because of COVID-19.
“These funds will help us make critical repairs at this time of the year,” he said. “The funds will be used to help restore heat or deal with frozen pipes. We will be able to get those critical repairs made for several families. These are critical needs they can’t afford and have no resources.”
For Ferrell, helping lead the Liberty Giving Circle and making the annual presentation is a personal highlight each year.
“It is so exciting to give and I love to give,” she said. “I love to see the nonprofits’ directors and see their faces. These grants are given because of those directors’ passions.”
The circle’s first gift, back in 2007, went to Hillcrest Hope, a transformational housing program focused on ending homelessness. Over the years, other grants have gone to other groups such as Clay County African-American Legacy Inc., Warrior’s Best Friend and the Liberty Women’s Clinic.
“This year is down some, but I am pleased,” Ferrell said of donations made to the circle for grants. “My hope is that the giving circle continues and grows in membership. It makes a difference in Liberty. We have some active charities with important needs. I am hoping that other women will want to be part of the group. It’s a group where you give some money and multiply when women come together to make a difference. ... It’s incredible to be part of something that shows kindness and generosity; that’s what is important in life.”