Thanks to generous support from the Kansas City community, MOCSA raised over $416,000 during the 29th Annual Community Luncheon at the Downtown Marriott Muehlebach Hotel on Friday, May 5, 2023.
Honorary Chairs Ann and Josh Rowland kicked off the event by sharing a story of how MOCSA is working to create change in the community by educating students in schools about consent and sexual violence.
“Prevention and culture-change often happen through such seemingly small, individual stories,” Ann said.
“The remarkable work of Keynote Speaker Jodi Kantor is a great example of how individual stories, when collected together and given a chance to be heard, can powerfully shift our culture,” Ann said.
Honorary Chairs Ann and Josh Rowland
Keynote Speaker Jodi Kantor
The room filled with excitement as Jodi Kantor, co-author of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for The New York Times, took the podium.
“The truth is dangerous,” Kantor said as she discussed how survivors uniting and telling their truth can evoke change. “During interviews I told them ‘I can’t change what happened to you, but together maybe we can take that pain and make it productive for others.'”
The message hit closer to home when MOCSA Board Member and Survivor Speaker Jessi Bixler shared her story and how therapy and family support guided her healing journey.
Jessi introduced a mini-documentary featuring her and six other Kansas City survivors — Helen Emmott, Monica Gray, Zachary Mallory, Aaron McGinn, Sarah Noble and Jenn Toro.
MOCSA Board Member and Survivor Speaker Jessi Bixler
Julie Donelon, MOCSA President & CEO
“While listening to Jodi Kantor and watching the mini-documentary featuring seven survivors’ journeys, it was apparent that all of them had one distinct message. Trauma will not define them,” Julie Donelon, MOCSA President & CEO, said.
The mini-documentary, created by Signal Theory, received a standing ovation and the event was praised by community, sponsors, and staff.
“The work MOCSA does is important,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
“The Luncheon was fantastic,” Elizabeth Danforth of Evergy, a Silver Sponsor, said. “I attend a few of these and I was captivated from start to finish. Every speaker was great.”
“The Community Luncheon is such a good reminder and celebration of the good work we do in the community,” Melanie Austin, MOCSA Vice President of Programs, said.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas
“I believe these courageous survivors who shared their experiences will let others know that they are not alone and there is a community here ready to believe and support them,” Julie Donelon, MOCSA President & CEO said.
Saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough to express our gratitude. We’re filled with love, hope, and good energy – because of the community. Because of the generous financial support, survivors will continue to receive MOCSA services free of charge.
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Thank you to our sponsors!
Event Underwriters ($50k)
Ann & Josh Rowland
The Quinn Foundation, Jennifer & Chuck Laue
Debra & Allen Parmet
Marlys & Michael Haverty
Lockton Family Foundation
The McDonnell Foundation
Kate & John Mitchell
Marny & John Sherman
Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company
Burns and McDonnell
Crestwood Midstream Partners
The DeBruce Foundation, Paul & Linda DeBruce
Hallmark Cards Inc.
JE Dunn Construction
Mark One Electric
G. Kenneth & Ann Baum Philanthropic Fund
Sarah & Jonathan Baum
Blue Cross Blue Shield of KC
BMO Harris Bank
Children’s Mercy Hospital
Julie & Brendan Donelon
Jenny & Warren Erdman
Melanie & Michael Fenske
David Hunt & Kathy Woodward
The Illig Family Foundation
Virginia & Greg Mattli
Mos Family Foundation
Gail & Ed Ossie
Shirley Neff Pryor
Reisler Family Foundation
Palle & Dennis Rilinger
UMB Financial Corporation