Through donations of all sizes, citizens help the Leawood Foundation fund cultural and educational projects that make our community unique.
Do you ever stroll by the fire pit and Havdalah Garden in Gezer Park, rest on the park benches near the Prairie Lesson sculpture in Ironwoods Park, or visit the historic Oxford one-room schoolhouse? If not for private donations and creative collaboration between Leawood Foundation volunteers and city representatives, these projects may not have come to life through tax dollars alone.
We can thank a “small band of committed citizens,” to quote Margaret Mead, who meet regularly to explore ways to beautify our parks and public areas, educate our young people, support historic preservation and promote accessibility and safety throughout our city.
“The relationship the Parks & Recreation Department has with the Leawood Foundation has provided so many important amenities to the community which, without their tireless efforts, would not have been possible,” says Chris Claxton, department director. Long-time Leawood resident, Alice Hawk, chairs the Foundation.
Goals for 2015 include:
• Reconfigure playground equipment at City Park to make it inclusive for children of all abilities
• Enhance signage and other educational features at Gezer and I-Lan Parks, two recreational areas designed to celebrate and educate visitors about Leawood’s sister cities in Israel and Taiwan
• Provide additional sheltered seating areas for canines and their masters at the new Leawoof Dog Park.
In June, Leawood’s AMC Town Center 20 hosted a private showing of the movie “Jayhawkers” to provide seed money for the playground accessibility project. Leawood resident Kip Niven portrays Coach Phog Allen and former Kansas University basketball player Justice Wesley portrays Wilt Chamberlain. The movie was produced by University of Kansas Professor Kevin Willmott.
If you missed the June fundraiser, it is easy to get involved and contribute to community enhancement projects like these year round. Donations are tax deductible and can be designated to specific project(s). Visit the foundation’s new website at LeawoodFoundation.org. Ninety-nine percent of your donation is directed toward foundation projects, you’ll receive quarterly email updates and invitations to grand openings when projects are complete.