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The purpose of the Parade of Hearts is to make our region stronger together by providing grants to organizations who have been greatly affected by the events of the last few years and today: Health & Wellness (The University of Kansas Health System), Education (MARC), Small/Minority Owned Businesses (AltCap), Arts & Culture (Local Artists), and Hospitality & Tourism (Visit KC).

The University of Kansas Health System

The University of Kansas Health System is a premier academic health system, providing a full range of care for the region and the state of Kansas. It includes The University of Kansas Physicians, the largest multispecialty physician group in the region. The health system receives no state or local appropriations, instead relying on operating revenue, bonding authority and philanthropy.

The University of Kansas Health System cardiovascular service line plans to utilize any Parade of Hearts funding for the purchase of imaging equipment which will be an important tool during and following the COVID-19 pandemic as we continue to study and treat the impact of the virus on the heart. Imaging can determine if the heart has been damaged by the virus, requiring advanced treatment by a cardiologist. For more information, visit kansashealthsystem.com.

Mid-America Regional Council

MARC will ensure that all dollars raised and received from Parade of Hearts will be returned to the community, through a grant process, to support the education and care of young children. MARC is well poised to act in this capacity and has a history of working with programs/ agencies to enhance their work in the field of early care and education.

Immediate Need—Over the course of the past 11 months, our region has seen over 2,000 child care slots disappear due to program closure, both temporary and permanent. It is imperative that rebuilding and expanding available child care slots be included as part of the COVID recovery response. Funds generated through the Parade of Hearts will be utilized by MARC to award small grants to non-profit early childhood centers, serving low to moderate income families, with the tools they need to successfully reopen, continue, or expand services.

AltCap

AltCap is a local leader in equitable lender and ally to underestimated entrepreneurs. We pair financing expertise and on-the-ground advocacy to give small business owners access to the affordable, patient capital they need to start, grow and thrive. Our lending isn’t a handout, it’s a community and economic catalyst. By igniting the entrepreneurship potential that traditional lenders may overlook, we empower entrepreneurs throughout our communities to build a more inclusive, vibrant local economy.

We are proud to partner with the Kansas City Parade of Hearts. Funds raised through this initiative will provide direct grants and business advisory services for minority and women-owned small businesses, giving them the tools and resources for recovery and growth.

Visit KC Foundation

The Visit KC Foundation is a 501(c)3 entity associated with the region’s destination management organization. Through important local programming such as Kansas City Restaurant Week, The Community Meals Project and the Visitor Influencer Program, the Foundation enhances the quality of life for the Kansas City region through education, diversity programming, tourism advocacy and workforce preservation/development. With COVID-19 dramatically impacting the travel and tourism industry—and the economic impact it delivers to our community—funds allocated to the Visit KC Foundation would go towards supporting local hospitality partners who were impacted most. These initiatives are crucial as our destination works to rebound and rebuild our hard-hit hospitality industry, particularly through the promotion of safe meetings and responsible tourism.

COVID-19 delivered a swift blow to the travel and tourism industry, sending the industry’s national unemployment to Depression levels. Kansas City’s hospitality community felt that impact immensely, witnessing a steep decline in tourism revenues and the shuttering of several local businesses. It’s estimated that a full recovery will take years.

Created in 2005, the Visit KC Foundation is a 501(c)3 entity associated with the region’s destination management organization, supporting causes on both sides of the state line. Funds allocated to the Visit KC Foundation would go towards supporting local hospitality partners who were impacted most. These initiatives are crucial as our destination works to rebound and rebuild our hard-hit hospitality industry, particularly through the promotion of safe meetings and responsible tourism. Recent successes: Launch partner of 2020’s Community Meals Project, which enabled two community kitchens to feed 7,000 Kansas Citians each week during the pandemic’s peak; Underwriting support to allow for MBEs and other hard-hit restaurants to take part in Kansas City Restaurant Week, a key driver for winter sales; and a five-part diversity education series in partnership with Sophic Solutions to address DEI practices, representation and equity within our local tourism community Potential areas of funding support: Continuation of the above programs, as well as general workforce preservation and hospitality career development programs for the 48,000 Kansas Citians who work in hospitality; food, grants and other resources for displaced hospitality workers and other at-risk local audiences; and potential transportation solutions for entry level workers with difficulty making ends meet. These are just a few examples.

Arts + Culture

Parade of Hearts directly impacts the chosen artists in the area:
• Artists will receive a stipend for their heart design
• Artists will be featured in the Parade of Hearts App along with the story behind their design.