Assistance League of Kansas City serves people of all ages, helps individuals and families and addresses a wide variety of needs – all while being completely run by volunteers, so every dollar of every donation goes directly back the community.
For more than 30 years, Assistance League of Kansas City has provided a broad range of direct services to those in need and at-risk in Kansas City. A member of the national Assistance League organization formally organized in 1935, the Kansas City chapter is part of the first nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization founded in the West to recognize the potential of volunteers in helping those less fortunate. Today, there are more than 26,000 members across 120 chapters nationwide.
In the early 1980s, feeling a desire to serve their neighbors in need, a group of 13 women in the Northland reached out to representatives from the National Assistance League to learn more about its philanthropic mission. This group soon grew to 114 members, a Resolution to Organize was granted in 1983 and the first officers were elected that June.
Today, more than 300 members give more than 35,000 volunteer hours each year, serving more than 15,000 children and adults in Kansas City through 10 philanthropic programs. Assistance League of Kansas City is best known for Operation School Bell® and THE ReSALE SHOP. A nationally-recognized program, Operation School Bell® provides new clothing and supplies to local school children, and since 1992, has served more than 20,000 area children in need. An affordable retail outlet, THE ReSALE SHOP provides a full range of clothing and household goods to an average of 173 customers per day (many of whom are regular clientele) and is also a source of revenue to the organization.
Ever mindful of its vision, “Together…making our community better”, Assistance League leadership defined its single priority as serving more people. The organization knew it needed to increase its programs and funding to meet its community’s growing demand for services.
With the purchase of a new facility in 2012, Assistance League of Kansas City combined Operation School Bell® and THE ReSALE SHOP into one location, enabling the organization to build equity, minimize annual operating expenses, increase operational efficiency and ̶ most importantly ̶ put more resources directly into serving the community.
But at least 200 at-risk children were not served in 2012-2013, because Assistance League simply ran out of clothes and school supplies. For the first time in its history, Operation School Bell® had to turn 65 families away. And while the building was in good condition with improvements made by volunteers, further improvements would be necessary to accommodate growth. Its current service center built in 2000 had limited availability and storage space.
The bottom line: by taking care of capital and programmatic needs, Assistance League would better address the growing needs of the organization and its community.
Seeking guidance and assistance in undertaking such a major initiative, Assistance League reached out to Jeffrey Byrne + Associates to help them plan for and undertake a capital campaign for building renovations, programs and technological enhancements. A Feasibility Study in the Spring of 2013 led to a campaign launching that Fall. In just a little more than a year, the $1,000,000 campaign goal was surpassed. Underscoring the importance of stewardship, the lead donor, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation and a local Kansas City Foundation who had supported a previous campaign in 2000 all made repeat gifts to this campaign. Strong support from the Kansas City philanthropic community along with more than 35% of the funds raised coming from current or past members of the Chapter, helped position Assistance League for fundraising success.
Jeffrey Byrne + Associates is proud to have partnered with this truly remarkable and unique organization ̶ managed by tireless volunteers who are utterly committed to its mission and display an unwavering spirit in getting the job done.
“During our campaign, Jeffrey Byrne + Associates was key. As an all-volunteer organization, they brought Assistance League the skill set and support we needed for a successful campaign. Jeffrey Byrne and Judy Keller enhanced our credibility and opened doors for us. We could never have gotten to this point without them.”
– Libby Blair and Pat Reinier
Campaign Co-Chairs, Assistance League Kansas City