CEO's Column: We're on the Countdown!

sparkling_gold_tree.jpg My two boys are eight and four years old. At our house, we've been on a 365-day Christmas countdown since December 26, 2018! So, I don't feel like I'm being too invasive by talking about Christmas at CSL a mere 110 days ahead of that magical day.

I know we haven't dressed up for Halloween, and I know we haven't shared Thanksgiving with family and friends, but it's important for us to make plans for helping families during the Christmas season.

Annually, CSL provides more than 10,000 gifts to local children. In addition to brand new toys, we provide socks, underwear, other clothing, books, blankets, and puzzles. We also want every family to enjoy a great Christmas meal, so we provide 2,500 meal boxes to families that contain a turkey, ham, or chicken, along with potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fruit, and dessert.

This is a huge, community-wide effort, and we need your help! So, why the push in early September? We need your help so that we have at least 100 collections at churches, businesses, schools, neighborhoods, or civic organizations. For CSL to deliver 10,000 presents and 2,500 meal baskets on time, we need collections wrapped up and proceeds being delivered back to your local CSL office the first week of December. Here's a rough timeline:

September - collection partners finalize plans to host a Christmas drive
October - CSL supports those drives by providing collateral material, collection barrels, and gift tags
November - collections run the entire month
December - items collected are delivered to CSL no later than December 6

pile_of_presents.jpg To give you an example, our friends (and neighbors on the Independence Square) at the 1859 Jail Museum are offering free admission later this year, in exchange for a new toy donated to CSL. Collection drives can be fun and interactive, and are most effective when they are well-organized and promoted.

We are asking you to commit, today, as a Christmas Collection Partner, and show your support in making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year!

I know you are like me, and that your greatest joy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons is to find ways to support others. Please join us in being a 2019 Christmas Collection Partner by filling out this form. We promise it will bring you and your company, church, neighborhood, family, school, or civic organization great joy!

Contact CSL's Special Events Assistant, Sharon Wingate, at (816) 491-2015 or via email at for more information.

Thanks for all you do, all year long, to support CSL.


Doug Cowan
President & CEO
Sock Distribution Success
As we featured last month, CSL, thanks to the generosity of Bombas, is distributing 200,000 pairs of socks throughout the Kansas City area.

In August and September, we gave 90,000 pairs of socks to partner agencies and school districts that will give them to kids and adults in need. The socks went south (Olathe Public Schools), north (Park Hill School District), west (Kansas City, Kansas), east (Odessa), in the heart of KCMO to many agencies, and, of course, to dozens of agencies and school districts in Eastern Jackson County.

We are turning our attention for the remainder of 2019 to organizations that help the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness, and organizations that can provide socks as a Christmas gift. Can you help us? If so, please fill out this request form. In mid- to late-October, we'll have another pick-up time for partners that are selected to help.
Thanks to You, Kids are Back to School!
In August, CSL hosted Back to School Fairs in Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Independence, and Oak Grove. The events were again presented by Royals Charities and Comcast Internet Essentials.

Thanks to your support, 2,500 kids had the right supplies to go back to school. Through the Tennies for Kids program at CSL, every child also had a brand new pair of socks and shoes on his or her feet.

Sluggerrr, the Royals' mascot, came to our Independence Back to School Fair, and helped make going back to school very exciting!

Thank you for again giving so generously to help make these Back to School Fairs possible!
CSL Recognized by LISC!
Annually, Greater Kansas City LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) hosts its "Thrive" event. Thrive celebrates the best in Kansas City community development and honors those working towards making our neighborhoods better, safer, and healthier places to live and thrive. CSL is thrilled to be named the 2019 "Organization with Greatest Impact." We will receive the award at Thrive on November 15, 2019.

CSL participates as one of LISC's five Kansas City area Financial Opportunity Centers and we deliver the highly-successful programming called Bridges to Career Opportunities. We are grateful for LISC's partnership and their recognition!

Program Updates
- CSL's Rachel Barker (pictured to the right), who serves as our Vice President of Financial Coaching, recently gained certification as a HUD-certified Housing Counselor. She is certified to teach classes for first-time homebuyers, and, in fact, CSL will host a first-time homebuyer class on September 7. CSL's designation as a HUD-certified Housing Counseling Agency allows our staff to gain specific designation as certified counselors.

- Our Farview Food Pantry hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Saturday, August 17th. There were plenty of activities for the whole family, and guests toured the facility and learn how the Fort Osage School District, Mid-Continent Public Library, and Community Services League are bringing strong community resources to Northeast Independence! Click the link below to see a video recap of the open house. Thanks to our friends at the Local Investment Commission (LINC) for producing the video!

Farview Food Pantry and Library Opens in Independence
Farview Food Pantry and Library Opens in Independence

- Do you sometimes wonder how CSL's services work? We take a deep dive into our programs through our blog stories, and you can always read past news stories!
CSL's BlendWell Community Cafe - The Perfect Place for Your Holiday Gathering!

Fall and Winter are festive times to gather with friends, family, and colleagues. We all know how quickly the calendar fills up with events. This year, make it easy on yourself, and host your event at CSL's BlendWell Community Cafe!

We have lots of experience with baby showers, Christmas parties, company holiday/year-end gatherings, family events, etc. If you're interested in using BlendWell for a gathering place, please contact Ana at, and she'll work with you to create the perfect event, and will make sure you get your date on the calendar. 

We can provide food for your event, or you can bring in your own food and we'll charge a reasonable room rental fee. Whether your event is 15 people or 150, we can work with you to make it great. Plus, your event provides revenue to CSL that will help support meaningful and lasting change for our neighbors assisted by our programs and services!
Monthly Giving. Monthly Good. 
The 1916 Club is CSL's monthly giving program that allows supporters to make sustained gifts through monthly credit card charges or checking/savings account withdrawals.

In 1916, a group of 22 forward-thinking women founded CSL as a way to support children and families in need in our community. More than 103 years later, members of the 1916 Club share the same vision and provide monthly support to ensure that the mission of CSL is met every day.

By joining the 1916 Club, you can be assured that you're doing your part to make our Eastern Jackson County community a better place to live by providing resources for families to achieve economic stability.
Merideth Parrish, Independence School District and CSL Board Member
The Coalition of Women Helping Children's 10th annual event, "Fashion for Compassion" Fashion Show and Brunch on Saturday, August 24th  benefitting CSL's Children's Services was a smashing success with record attendance of more than 420 guests, and revenues exceeding $33,000!  

Donna Pitman,  KMBC9, served as this year's emcee and the show featured community models in the latest fall fashions from Dillard's at Independence Center ! Thank you to the Steering Committee for planning an outstanding event: Sharon Alexander, Cara Anger, Irene Baltrusaitis, Carol Sue Bass, Janice Crozier, Colleen Foudree, Lori Harp, Helen Hatridge, Peggy Howe, Sherri Mullins, Lori Ross, Donna Siegel, and Betty Snapp. Several have served on the Steering Committee for all 10 events!

We also are grateful for the continued support of
St. Mary's Medical Center , the Presenting Sponsor for the third year, along with Silver Sponsor CBD American Shaman , Bronze Sponsors Truman Medical Center and Lori & Francis Ross, and Table Sponsors Stewardship Capital , Foster Dental Care, Speaks Family Legacy Chapels  and Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co.  Check out pictures from this year's event! 
Fore! Only a few spots remain for the sixth annual CSL Golf Classic on  Monday, September 23rd  at   Winterstone Golf Course in Independence. Make plans now for a fantastic day at the links supporting your neighbors in need. The tournament features a scramble format, with separate flights and contests for women and men, a full breakfast compliments of Sandy's Restaurant, Blue Springs and a delicious lunch. Sign up today for what promises to be a spectacular day!

We are grateful to Central Bank of the Midwest,  Presenting Sponsor for the third consecutive year, Platinum Sponsor,  St. Mary's Medical Center , Gold Sponsors CBD American Shaman, Comcast and Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, Silver Sponsor  Pathways to Reading/Dennis Clinefelter , and Bronze Sponsors Edward Jones Investments, H. Ross Morrison, D.D.S.,P.C., Academy Mortgage, Grant and Kimberly Cowan, Edward Jones Investments, IAFF Local #781, Independence Fraternal Order of Police, NetMotion Software and JE Dunn . It's not too late to be a sponsor.  There are opportunities both with and without teams.  Check them out today!

Sponsorship and Player Information
Luminous - lighting pathways to change, presented by Edward Jones, is slated for Saturday, November 9, 2019 at the Intercontinental Hotel at the Plaza. Plan now to join us for a magical night celebrating Community Services League. Emceed by Kris Ketz, KMBC9, the evening includes a delicious dinner, drinks, an exclusive Live Auction and dancing to the sounds of Lost Wax. 

St. Mary's Medical Center is this year's new Welcome Reception Sponsor, Foster Dental Care  is sponsoring the  VIP Sponsor Reception,   CBD American Shaman  will sponsor the After Party,  and Centerpoint Medical Center  is sponsoring the Impact Story.  We are grateful for  all of our sponsors and community supporters.   Don't miss out!   Sponsorship and ticket information now available.  
Interested in sponsoring a specific event in 2019, or supporting CSL throughout the year? Contact us today for a customized sponsorship package.

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