KC Magazine City’s Best 2015: Philanthropy

There’s good reason why Kansas City is known as one of the most philanthropic in the nation: We have people with big hearts and organizations that make us want to jump in and get involved on the front lines.



As the largest no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, and the third largest open-admission shelter in the U.S. to achieve no-kill status, it’s safe to say that KC Pet Project stays busy—really busy. KC Pet Project cares for more than 9,000 animals a year, a job that requires a lot of dedication—and a lot of volunteer effort.

KC Pet Project collectively tugged on the city’s heartstrings by taking in and helping Roadrunner, a Tibetan spaniel who was severely abused, thrown off a third-floor balcony and left for dead. Although Roadrunner lost his eyes, he gained an abundance of loving care from KC Pet Project and, on February 11, 2015, was adopted by his foster family. Thank you, KC Pet Project. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need Kleenex.

2nd Place: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City  |  3rd Place: Global Health Innovations




Photo by Chandra Ramey

Each year, charitably minded Kansas Citians take a walk on the wild side during Jazzoo, which raises money to fund children’s educational programming and assist the Kansas City Zoo’s feeding program. The themed event always offers prime style watching, thanks to the creative black tie dress code. And with vendor booths that represent a veritable who’s who of the Kansas City culinary and cocktail scene, it’s easy to spend equal amounts of time sampling, sipping and celebrating.

2nd Place: Hoops for Hounds  |  3rd Place: Symphony Ball




Kansas City quite literally wouldn’t be the same without Shirley Helzberg. One of the city’s most vocal champions of the arts, Helzberg’s philanthropic leadership resume is nothing short of impressive. In a determined effort to further improve the community, she’s restored and repurposed several buildings in the Crossroads Arts District, a neighborhood that’s triumphantly emerged as one of the vibrant leaders of downtown Kansas City’s continued revitalization. We’re not sure if Helzberg gets any sleep—but we’re all indebted to everything she’s done—and continues to do—for our beloved city.

2nd Place: Julia Irene Kauffman  |  3rd Place: Henry W. Bloch