I have to admit, this is my favorite article to write each year. It’s not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy writing articles about tax-smart giving and donor advised funds because I actually do. But May is the month where I get to introduce you to Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s Toast to Our Towns honorees and share their inspiring stories of philanthropy with you.

Phil Hanson


It truly is a challenge for our Board of Directors to choose a small handful from among so many deserving nominees. Our community is made up of some truly thoughtful, generous, and caring individuals and companies. This year’s honorees are no exception. They have each gone above and beyond to create positive change in communities throughout the region. And they have compounded their efforts by inspiring those around them to do the same.

Heartland Humanitarians of the Year: Joan and Steve Israelite

Both Joan and Steve are positive, energetic, insightful, and selfless in their lifelong goal of bettering the community. Whether it be the impact of art, urban revitalization, empowerment through education, or Jewish heritage, Steve and Joan are dedicated to helping others by giving of themselves. Promoting Englewood Arts is their current project and they have introduced countless people in their extensive network to Englewood Arts and its vision of “a diverse and sustainable community in harmony with the arts”.

Heartland Corporate Citizen of the Year: Summit Homes

Summit Homes is the largest new home builder in Kansas City. They are a Berkshire-Hathaway-backed team that has built more than 2,000 beautiful homes since opening in 2002. The Summit Homes team has won more than 120 awards for industry excellence, but the company’s real heart lies in its commitment to building and supporting strong and healthy children and communities. Summit Homes is a key supporter of Drumm Farm Center for Children, Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City, Wayside Waifs, and Harvesters to name a few.

Dr. Paul M. Thomson Professional Advisor of the Year Award: Clint Anderson

Clint Anderson is the First Vice President of Investments at Stifel Financial Corp. Over the past four years, he has proven to be a truly exceptional advocate for Truman Heartland Community Foundation, referring his philanthropic clients to us to establish charitable funds. He is deeply committed to assisting his clients in giving back to the causes they are most passionate about while managing overall investment and retirement goals.

It will be the Foundation’s honor to recognize Joan and Steve Israelite, Summit Homes, and Clint Anderson at the 2022 Toast of Our Towns Gala on September 24 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.

In addition, area Mayors will present their citizens of the Year, individuals from their city who lend their time and talents to promote the community. You will hear about the Citizens in a future column. It will be a very special night for everyone as we celebrate 40 years of private giving for the public good.

I want to thank our long-time partner, Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co., for being the Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 Toast to Our Towns Gala again this year. Truckmovers is also back with us as our pre-gala Cocktail Reception Sponsor, and Centerpoint will again be our Citizens’ Reception Sponsor. Community America Credit Union has joined us as a major sponsor this year and will sponsor our ever-popular Mix, Mingle and Music, after-party event providing cool jazz and hot coffee to wrap up the evening.

Visit www.thcf.org/gala for more information about our 2022 honorees, available sponsorships, and past award winners.

Editor's Note: Phil Hanson is the CEO and President of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, its employees or any other guest contributors.

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