Jake Jacobson, Colby Jones, Sloane Simmons and Casey Simmons mingle at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon.

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Sunderland Foundation will give $15M to five UMKC projects

The Sunderland Foundation is giving $15 million to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to go toward renovations and improvements to campus buildings, the school announced Thursday.

The $15 million gift will be spread across five projects on UMKC's main campus and the health sciences campus. The largest portion — $5 million — will support the renovation of Bloch Heritage Hall at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management.

The School of Law and the Miller Nichols Library each will receive $3 million. The gift to the law school will go toward student services and classroom renovations. The library gift will support the renovation of the building's third floor, which will become home to the State Historical Society of Missouri's Kansas City office.

The School of Dentistry and the School of Computing and Engineering each will receive $2 million for renovations.

The Sunderland Foundation was established by the Ash Grove Cement Co.'s long-serving president, Lester Sunderland, in 1945.

The foundation has a focus on supporting construction and renovation. Current foundation President Kent Sunderland also has served as the president of the UMKC Foundation.

"We focus on capital funding because building was at the heart of our business when my family owned Ash Grove Cement," Sunderland said in the school's release. "We understand the value of buildings that work for people. Providing resources for organizations that enhance Kansas City is integral to our family's foundation mission."

UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said in the release that the Sunderland Foundation has supported the school for more than three decades.

"We are honored and excited that it continues to invest in our growth and recognize that improving the function of existing resources furthers the university's ability to engage students and the community and support research and development of new technology," he said.

The Sunderland Foundation has been a prolific and big-dollar donor in the metro area. It made two huge donations in the health care industry: a $75 million gift in January 2018 to help make Children's Mercy's new research tower a reality and a $66 million gift in September 2018 to The University of Kansas Health System to complete its Cambridge Tower.

Other notable donations include $10 million in April to jump-start Truman Medical Centers' NICU expansion and a $5 million pledge the same month to help William Jewell College get a head start on raising money for a new fitness and sports center.

The foundation received a significant boost in 2017, when Ash Grove Cement, owned by the Sunderland family, sold for $3.5 billion, with about 35% of the sale proceeds going to the foundation.

See article here: https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2019/07/31/sunderland-foundation-umkc-15-million-donation.html