2018 SKCC Community Impact Award Winners 

Recognizing organizations who positively impact South Kansas City 


In 2017, Avila University changed the higher-education financing game by creating “The Avila Promise,” a set of initiatives designed to give students a clearer, more affordable path to their futures. The Avila Promise addresses concerns most college students face today: 1. College affordability and confusion over college costs, 2. On-time graduation and student debt, 3. Securing desirable experiences outside of the classroom, and 4. Access to global perspectives.

Avila University is the first college or university in the Kansas City metro area to reset their tuition. And while 33 other institutions around the country have also moved away from the high-price, high-discount pricing model, Avila is the only university to include value expectations along with lowering the tuition price. With an anticipated increase in enrollment, this new initiative also promises to positively impact the faculty, staff and administration of the university and will be felt by every full-time, undergraduate resident student enrolled at the university, many of whom are from south KC.


The Center Impact Program is a network of mentors willing to spend an enormous amount of time with students in order to impact their attitudes about society, adults, jobs, school, and more. From professional job-oriented conversations with doctors, attorneys and engineers, to white public safety officers sharing stories and commonalities with African-American students, Center Impact volunteers are making a huge difference in the lives of many young people in south KC.


Ozanam serves hard-to-reach kids dealing with a variety of life challenges. The majority of youth at Ozanam have had significant trauma in their histories and their defense mechanisms may be to avoid relationships or act out at home or at school. The staff at Ozanam helps them learn to rebuild trust and self-esteem, and one of the ways they do that is by not leaving. The current president, Rob Whitten, one of only four since 1948, has been with the organization for over 20 years, and most of the staff has remained in tact for more than 10-15 years. Ozanam has helped more than 6,000 children get their lives back on track.

Ozanam School offers both educational programming and therapy services to help students and families manage traumas and stressors that hinder success in school. In the Greenhouse, a horticulture therapist works with Ozanam kids year-round to teach them how to care for other living things, take responsibility for their decisions, and learn how to care for themselves and others. Spending time in the greenhouse gives students an opportunity to develop a sense of accomplishment watching their plants grow and flourish, and each year, Ozanam’s “Thyme for Kids” annual plant sale helps them gain work experience and feel a sense of pride as they witness the community’s support for their efforts. The plant sale is open to the public, and all proceeds go back into Ozanam’s Horticultural Therapy Program.


First Call is making a big impact in south KC by providing a life-saving crisis call network and community support and education for families dealing with substance use. In 2017, First Call saw an increase in individuals in Kansas City impacted by addiction so they responded to the need by finding resources to increase family service programs by 76% and prevention programs by 233%!


Community Assistance Council (CAC) is a social service agency in south KC that empowers individuals and families to self-sufficiency through the delivery of direct emergency assistance, education and advocacy. At a time when CAC was desperately in need of food, Grade A Tree stepped up to host a food drive in which they matched one for one, every can of food donated. They collected enough food to provide 5,035 meals! After Christmas, Grade A Tree allowed people to drop off Christmas trees at their Martin City location in exchange for a donation of at least one can of food for CAC. Owner, Phil Giordano and his son Nick also volunteer as CAC Meals on Wheels drivers, delivering meals to 10 elderly south KC residents each week.


Hanger’s Cleaners has partnered with more than 23 schools and 5 active charities to allow customers to donate 10% of their dry cleaning charges back to the school or charity of their choice. They also volunteer to clean all the donated coats from local charity coat drives for free so more kids receive coats that feel like new! Hanger’s partnered with Grade A Tree Care on their food drive for Community Assistance Council, helping them provide more than five thousand meals to needy families.


Martin City Telegraph impacts the citizens of south KC by providing quality information about politics, schools, churches, community events, businesses, restaurants, entertainment and more. The paper was started a little over two years ago by Kathy Feist as a south KC 8-page community newspaper and now has a circulation of nearly 10,000 subscribers with 12-16 pages covering critical south KC topics. The paper also gives businesses who want to specifically target south KC residents an economical way to advertise.

Outside of covering stories, The Martin City Telegraph has consistently supported south KC community events, schools, and initiatives, and has the opportunity to make an impact for everyone in the region every time they gain a new subscriber!


In 2017, founder Jeff Morgan volunteered to go to Haiti to help install plumbing in a new hospital. MMP also volunteered to install plumbing in a Wounded Warriors’ home as part of the tv show, Military Makeover; install plumbing in a Habitat for Humanity House; donate and install new toilets at the Grandview Assistance Program, and donate and install a new water heater for the winner of Country Home Motor’s “Season of Giving” event.

MMP employees are strongly encouraged to contribute to the community in their own ways. A “Wiping Out the Need” event in which employees collected toilet paper for Community Assistance Council was held in 2017, and the team also helped organize a clean-up day in Grandview where citizens and businesses came out to pick up trash throughout the city. One employee recently participated in the Polar Bear Plunge to help raise funds for kids with intellectual disabilities, and MMP was a sponsor of the 2017 Aids Walk in Kansas City.

To get to know their neighbors better, MMP partnered with Betty Rae’s Ice Cream truck to host a neighborhood ice cream party for all the company’s in the neighborhood. They also hosted several Global Entrepreneurship Week events to help other companies learn, and conducted an “Invoice Roundup” where customers were encouraged to round their invoices up to the nearest dollar so a donation could be made to Cornerstones of Care, a south KC organization who provides education and support services for children and families.


As a business, PRIER is a tithing company and has made it a company policy to donate at least 10% of the previous year’s profits to worthy charitable causes. Funding decisions are guided by employees with the criteria the charity must do something to enrich people’s lives.

PRIER cares deeply about the environment and recycles 99% of all the plastic bottles and aluminum generated within their facilities. As a result, their recycling efforts kept almost 50 tons of waste out of landfills in 2017.

Prier recently created a savings program - Onward Savings - to encourage employees to save money. The program allows the company to match a certain amount of employee savings and allows employees to borrow against saved funds at a lower interest rate. Prier is also working with Jewish Vocational Services to hire refugees from Sudan and Somalia, and with the Good Samaritan program to hire recently-released ex-convicts.


Patients 65 years and older have unique medical needs and St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) in south KC has proactively been taking steps to make their lives easier. The new inpatient/outpatient senior program at SJMC offers patients coordinated medical services, a specialized geriatric emergency room, expertise from geriatric trained nurses and physicians, free health screenings, educational services like computer classes and CPR for seniors, Parkinson’s and other health related support groups, YMCA Silver Sneakers classes, and more, all in one convenient setting. Transportation to the clinic is provided at no cost to patients.

The Senior Suites Inpatient Unit is a specialized block of rooms that has been modified to include large print, easy-to-read signs and clocks, pressure reducing mattresses, handrails, and more to ease the environment for geriatric patients. In the the fall 2018, Caregiver Bed will be providing Tempurpedic beds for caregivers who stay with patients during their hospitalization.

South KC Chamber Annual Dinner/ Community Impact Awards

Thursday, February, 8th
5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Armacost Car Museum

Buy Tickets Here

Sponsored by

South KC Chamber of Commerce

406 E. Bannister Road, Suite F
Kansas City, MO 64131-3028

Phone: (816) 761-7660
Fax: (816) 761-7340





South Kansas City is one of the fastest growing areas in the KCMO metropolitan area. Millions of investment dollars are being spent in this region, which makes it a prime location for businesses to grow and prosper. 

The South KC Chamber is dedicated to working with KCMO's city leadership, our business members, and local community organizations to create a positive, growth-oriented business environment in South Kansas City. We would love to support your company's growth too! 


Copyright 2019 South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software