12 Sep McPherson County Philanthropist of the year announced
MCPHERSON, KAN. —- The McPherson County Community Foundation (MCCF) announced the winners of the Philanthropist of the Year award Thursday, Nov. 11. The announcement was made by a video in which all nominations were introduced. Jeff and Danielle Black took the award home along with $1000 to give to the charity of their choice.
Jeff and Danielle Black were nominated by Denise O’Connor-Munsey. In her nomination O’Connor-Munsey described how the Blacks have used their platforms as pastors of the McPherson Nazarene Church to help those who struggle with the disease of addiction.
“I have personally experienced the grief an isolation created by this family disease of addiction,” O’Connor-Munsey said, during her nomination speech. “I am amazed and awed by the work that Jeff and Danielle (Black) have undertaken to minister to this underserved and unrecognized sector of our community.”
The Blacks renovated a building to serve the purpose of giving safe gathering places for recovery group meeting. The facility also serves for those without, giving them the ability to shower and rest on a real bed. The current project the Blacks are undertaking is creating a space for teenagers can gather to hang out, watch television and play games. This is to create a safe and supervised environment free of drugs and alcohol where teens can be teens.
“Danielle and I were both raised in churches that had some form of giving back to the community growing up.” Jeff Black said, “When we finally moved into the positions of pastors, we knew we wanted to be a part of a church that did the same thing.”
Terry and Lilly Hedlund were the first runners up for the award and received $750 to give the charity of their choice. The Hedlunds were nominated by the Judy Casey of the McPherson Opera House. The Hedlunds made contributions that allowed the Opera House the ability to perform much needed maintenance work. The Hedlunds also bought and refurbished McPhersons first fire truck with the plan to present it at community events.
RoJean Loucks was the second runner up for the award and received $500 to give to the charity of her choice. Loucks was nominated by Lucas Neece of the Sprout House Learning Center. Loucks played a vital role in the planning process for the construction of Sprout House Learning Center. Loucks also reentered to work force to serve as interim executive director when the position was open.
“A philanthropist is someone who gives back to our communities through their time, talents, and treasurers. They give because they think it’s the right thing to do.” Becky Goss, President of the MCCF said, “Although recognition is not what they seek, we have felt giving a grant in their name to organizations they support is good for our community as a whole.”
While the awards took place virtually the plan is to have the event back in person going forward. Next years awards will take place Nov. 17, 2022.
In 2001, the McPherson County Community Foundation (MCCF) was established to build charitable endowments and serve donors. MCCF strives to help donors create funds that reflect their charitable goals. Through long-term investment of capital given by individuals, organizations, and corporations, MCCF makes grants to enhance the quality of life in the community. Grants may benefit youth, education, arts and culture, human services, health care, or other charitable purposes as designated by donors. People give through, not to, the community foundation.