By Joe Sweeney
The good news, in terms of U.S. philanthropy, is that Americans gave an estimated $358.38 billion to charities last year, surpassing the peak last seen before the Great Recession. So say the folks at Giving USA in their most recent annual report on philanthropy.
From a regional perspective, then, the less-encouraging news is that non-profits in the Kansas City region have had a harder time bouncing back. Even though giving to some superstar organizations here was up last year—and in some cases, well up—figures published in this edition’s list of Top Area Non-Profit Organizations show that 20 percent of our Top 25 non-profits actually saw their revenues decline from the previous year.
It’s also worth noting the key role that business plays in add-ressing those needs, through this region’s well-established record of corporate philanthropy, which we also celebrate in this edition. That’s just one more reason why it’s important that we have a business climate that is conducive to commercial success.
That’s just a couple of observations that come to me during a time of year when many of us pause to take stock of our lives, our relationships and, in the business community, the respective health of our organizations.
While I’m doing all that stock-taking, of course, it’s worth looking at where Ingram’s is as 2015 winds down. The coming year will be the magazine’s 43rd as the region’s leading business publication, and our 19th as owners. It’s been quite a journey. And one that’s positioned us for some intriguing miles to go.
First, let’s recap a few things. One of the highlights of our association with the magazine has been the December edition itself. Each year, we’ve dedicated the final issue to philanthropy in Kansas City, and the vital role that business plays in making this one of the nation’s most philanthropic communities.
I can’t fully express the satisfaction I feel in knowing that, through our association with the Alliance of Area Business Publications, roughly 90 peer business magazines and newspapers have embraced the same tactic, helping place a nationwide focus on this important topic. We’ve been coaching colleagues throughout North America regarding what we do in KC for years.
Our ties to philanthropy have also allowed us to partner with hundreds of organizations’ executives with the CEOpen Executive Golf Tournament, a fund-raiser that in its eight years generated $550,000 for 32 non-profit organizations in the region. And we’ve been able to rally the entrepreneurship and compassion of KC’s business community in times of crisis, partnering with our good friends at Meara, Welch, Browne to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and tons of supplies in relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina and the tornadoes in Greensburg and Joplin.
These efforts reinforce our belief that we exist to make a difference, and bolster our hopes that we’re doing just that.
Taking stock of what’s to come, we look to 2016 with a sense of anticipation of profound changes. We’ll soon raise the curtain on our new Ingrams.com, a project that has been enormously complex and complicated, but one that we believe will set a new standard for business intelligence-gathering and dissemination.
Like other print media that have been challenged in the on-line era, we’re taking our business model in a new direction, but we’re confident that the new readers and users of Ingrams.com will find a new relevance in a reliable brand. Some things won’t change: The printed product will still set standards for excellence with our selection of honorees in longstanding recognition programs like 40 Under Forty, Top Doctors, Icons of Education, Best of Business and many more.
One reason for that confidence is what we think is our special advantage. Because Ingram’s is locally owned, and demonstrably committed to the region, we can apply a singular focus to business news, analysis and information. Unlike some national publications that impose cookie-cutter operations on wildly diverse markets and business communities, we’re committed—is “devoted” a more appropriate word?—to this region’s business community, and with extended reach coming on-line, to the broader communities across Missouri and Kansas.
It’s our hope that our corporate partners will feel that love, and align with us in 2016 and beyond to strengthen the unique programs that Ingram’s brings to this region. And that our loyal subscribers will continue to find value in our content.
And, finally, that all will have a blessed Christmas and a new year that is both happy, and prosperous. Thanks for joining us on this ride.
Editor-In-Chief & Publisher