Toews named 2014 Philanthropist of the Year

By Nick Gosnell
November 18, 2014
Nick Gosnell

The McPherson County Community Foundation held its 2014 Philanthropist of the Year event Tuesday evening in the McPherson Opera House auditorium. Prior to the presentation of the awards, Community Foundation President/CEO Becky Goss outlined some of the Foundation's achievements in the past year.

Goss said, "From September of 2013 to August of 2014, we received $2.16 million in donations. That was from 1,330 different donors. It's basically a 53 percent increase from the previous year."

Goss also noted that the Foundation added thirty new funds to its administration portfolio, bringing the total to 229 different funds to provide grants to organizations, individuals and programs in McPherson County. 554 grants were awarded in the past fiscal year, totaling $851,000.

Goss said, "That brings our total of grants that we have awarded since we were established in 2001 to $4.1 million."

Following Goss' presentation, 2012 Philanthropist of the Year recipient Lavon Ediger spoke about the foundation and its role in assisting the ReUse It Center in McPherson.

A $1000 grant was awarded to the ReUse It Center in 2012 as part of the presentation to Ediger. He said Tuesday, "We were able to use the thousand dollars to design and purchase the sign that you might see out in the front yard of our business at 1060 West Kansas."

Ediger added, "I want to thank the Foundation for the model, and assisting all the charities within the community."

The award winners for 2014 were, in a tie for third place, Ralph Vogel with the Inman Museum, and Steve Burghart with St. Joseph Catholic School.  Vogel's tireless work to create and keep up the Museum exhibits was recognized, and Burghart's role in IT support for the St. Joseph Catholic School was highlighted. Each organization receives a $500 grant.

The second place recipient was Pat Bruce with the McPherson Hospital Volunteers. Bruce said, "These awards aren't really about me, or the other recipients. It's about the teams that we have that are willing to up the ante a little bit and do extra. I mean, it's just simply amazing to me." A $750 grant was awarded to the Hospital Volunteers.

The first place winner in 2014 was Bill Toews for his work with Special Olympics. Toews said, "I would like to share this award with the coaches and athletes of McPherson Special Olympics."

At the present time, there are approximately 27 coaches who have renewed their protective behaviors and Class A registration to be eligible to coach this year. Also, 113 athletes have properly filed their physicals to be able to compete.

Toews added, "I became interested in Special Olympics approximately 20 years ago, when my two sons, who have an intellectual disability, wanted to play basketball. I have officiated, coached and been a fundraiser for Special Olympics."

Special Olympics will receive a $1000 grant in recognition of Toews' selection.