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Kansas City nonprofits adapt to fundraising during a pandemic

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Posted at 3:00 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 07:30:21-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Third time is a charm for Matt Anthony. After calling off a bike ride fundraiser for his Kansas City, Missouri-based foundation called Head for the Cure in June 2020 and June 2021, the in-person event is scheduled to take place this Sunday, Nov. 7.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the risks it places on people attending large events forced many organization to cancel fundraisers over the past 18 months.

“When this thing started, it was pretty scary,” Anthony admitted.

Donations to the nonprofit, which funds brain cancer research and patient advocacy, dropped.

Head for the Cure quickly made its races virtual, but revenue didn’t match in-person events from previous years. Still, Anthony says beneficiaries like the University of Kansas Health System’s Cancer Center are happy with any donation.

“They have been so gracious,” Anthony said.

Across town, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum also made its annual race virtual in 2020 but canceled its Heart of America Hot Dog Festival.

“I was disappointed we couldn’t do those things, but I know in my heart they are the right things to do,” the museum's President Bob Kendrick said. “That being said, we still have to find creative ways in which we can try and keep people engaged with this museum and use that engagement to help raise funds for our organization.”

Later this month, the museum will host its first major, in-person event in 18 months - a 5K race to commemorate Buck O’Neil’s 110th birthday.

Both the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s race and Head for the Cure’s bike ride this month will offer virtual options. Many foundations plan to keep that strategy moving forward.

“We had a tremendous response [to the virtual race in 2020] from around the country,” Kendrick said. “What we’re seeing with virtual programming is it allows people who might not necessarily be in Kansas City to participate in some of these programs.”

Head for the Cure’s bike ride begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7 at Drexel Hall, 3301 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. You can register online using the foundation’s website.

Registration is also now open for the Negro League’s Baseball Museum’s run/walk set for 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13. Information is available on its website.