Here’s to the Givers

December 2021


By Joe Sweeney


It’s a bit hard to believe the Philanthropy Special Edition you’re reading represents Ingram’s 25th annual installment.

Our small but talented and passionate team produces and manages a large portfolio of projects each year, as well as a variety of competitions, events and special projects and publications we research, write and publish (see Page 63). There is one project, however, that may serve as the foundation of our mission at Ingram’s.

And that is serving the needs of our community.

The Kansas City region is not dissimilar to others cities in its varied socioeconomic classes. The differentiator between KC and other cities, however, may be the remarkably high level of engagement and willingness of a high percentage of citizens here to give of their resources and time to serve the needs of our community. Growing up in Kansas City and being involved in many philanthropic initiatives, I’ve been privileged to witness the level of giving, the amount of gifts and the extraordinary level of volunteerism throughout nearly every business and household here. It really does place Kansas City in the heart of our great nation.

We purchased Ingram’s in February 1997 during an uncomfortable and turbulent era of the publication’s history, when staffers believed the magazine would in part be gifted to them. The reality is that Ingram’s and a couple of radio stations were contracted and sold to Heritage Media from Dallas. Our purchase from Heritage Media represented an immediate return of this publication to local ownership. Michelle and I occasionally reflect on that experience and she’ll say today, as she did then, “Perhaps we’re not the smartest, best or most qualified publishers, but maybe God put us in a position to publish this magazine for a reason.” 

And perhaps one of those reasons may be to establish a mechanism to amplify the goodness of this great city and to recognize extraordinary individuals and corporate citizens who dedicate their resources to serving the needs of our citizens. That’s why we published Ingram’s first annual Philanthropy Edition in December 1997, and it remains today the mechanism by which we thank those deserving of that recognition. 

I read an article recently in The Kansas City Star that reflected  the views of that publication’s editorial board and their self-righteous call to oust Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith. “We have the votes to remove him,” was a quote from a City Council member, a view that was amplified in and supported by The Star.

Let me be clear: A journalist’s role, in my belief, is to report the news and bring factual information forward for the reader, listener and viewer so consumers of such media may come to their own conclusions. It is not the place of a media property to impose its stance in its pages, and it sure as hell isn’t their role to serve from  a bully pulpit to intimidate and demand. Chief Smith, in my opinion, is a very fine person and an extraordinary civil servant. Respectful to many police chiefs that served before him, I believe Chief Smith is a strong and effective leader, perhaps the best police chief this city has had in decades. Respectful to the need for collegiality, this city deserves better from a newspaper deeply rooted in the history of our city. What remains of The Star today are a few survivors gathered on the bow of a sinking ship, attempting to bully and impose editorial views on the rest of us. It’s far from the newspaper William Rockhill Nelson established in 1880. 

 

The Greater Good

The past two years have cast a long and dark shadow across cities and communities across America. The civil unrest ignited by the unnecessary and unfortunate death of George Floyd, followed by protests, vandalism, riots and looting, has tarnished our country and tainted our souls.

We as Missourians and Kansans have  an opportunity to move our cities and communities forward, and it begins with leadership. I’m tired of the whining broadcasts every day and the negativism from mainstream to new media. We may never earn a Pulitzer Prize at Ingram’s for sensationalizing a story, but we hope the service we provide, especially that of focusing on the good in people moved to action, helps in some way contribute to a city we can love, care for and continue to build. 

Like most businesses, we’ve worked harder than ever to endure the past two years, support our staffers and their families and maintain operations. I believe that, while we’re not entirely out of the woods as it relates to the pandemic, it is time to focus forward and invest energy in building our operation for the future. We held off from hiring since March 2020, and it’s time now to hire several talented journalists at Ingram’s. I mention this as our journalistic philosophy may vary from other media. As independent as Ingram’s has remained, we feel blessed to have tens of thousands on our board of advisers—our readers—and we appreciate and value their recommendations on how to better serve this region. In this solemn season, we wish each of you the happiest and healthiest of holidays and a prosperous and healthy new year to come.

About the author

joesweeneysig

Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher

JSweeney@Ingrams.com

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