KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Police Foundation of Kansas City hosted its eighth annual “A Call for Backup” fundraising event on Friday, bringing in an impressive $1.2 million to supplement KCPD projects and initiatives.
The event at the historic Muehlebach Hotel included a cocktail reception, dinner and keynote speaker George F. Will, the legendary syndicated columnist whose work is featured in over 300 publications across 47 states and four countries.
“Our mission is to make Kansas City a safer community, a safer city,” President and CEO of the Police Foundation of Kansas City Tye Grant said. “We do that by raising funds and giving them back in the form of grants and initiatives to our Kansas City Police Department to help them make our city safer.”
“In this day and time when police departments around the country are not being appreciated like they should be,” says Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar, “I think you’re seeing what the grassroots are really feeling at this moment. They’re coming out in a big, big way to show their appreciation for the police department.”
Grant described A Call for Backup as a gala event where visitors can donate by sponsoring the event beforehand, or offering a contribution at the event.
Last year, $3 million from the foundation’s fundraising efforts were put to use by purchasing body cameras for the entire police department. The special project the foundation looked to fund this year was updating DNA-testing equipment at the KCPD crime laboratory to more efficiently solve violent crime cases and reduce the backlog of evidence waiting to be processed.
Updating the crime laboratory came with a hefty price tag of just over $500,000. However, the foundation comfortably surpassed that mark on Friday by hauling in almost $900,000 in sponsor donations and an additional $300,000 from contributions at the event.
“There was just an amazing amount of energy there and an amazing amount of support for the police department and what the foundation does,” Grant said. “We feel very blessed to be a part of this.”
The event hosted 800+ people and featured several displays in the hotel lobby showcasing different aspects of KCPD that were actually funded by the foundation. Displays included the K-9 unit, bomb and arson unit, SWAT, the crime lab and others – all funded with donations from events like A Call for Backup.
“All of those funds will be put back into our police department for projects that are intended to help them reduce violent crime in our city,” Grant said. “When (the police department) sees an opportunity to make a difference, we want to make sure they have the (financial) ability to consider it.”
Grant told The Heartlander that with other contributions and donation-matching, the total amount the Police Foundation of KC has raised for the KCPD totals over $1.7 million for the year.
“KCPD depends on the police foundation for a lot of extra things that the city cannot provide,” Loar said. “So we’re so thankful for the people that volunteer to do this and put on the annual gala. It’s a wonderful thing.”
“This event displays positive relationships that have real meaningful outcomes for the members of our community,” Chief of Police Rick Smith told The Heartlander. “I would like to say thank you. And to all the Foundation Board Members, your time, talents and generosity to support this police department are integral to the work we do.”