In 2021, the Derby Community Foundation lost one of the organization’s founding members and the Derby area lost one of its most passionate advocates--Elizabeth Kinch. In order to ensure that Kinch’s legacy of generosity continues, the Derby Community Foundation, with support from the Derby Recreation Commission, announced in December 2021 the naming of an annual award in her honor– the Elizabeth Kinch Generosity Award presented by the Derby Community Foundation.
Inspiring vision and generosity have served as the guiding principles of the Derby Community Foundation since the organization’s inception in 1993. The story of how the DCF was created begins with a Duane Dyer, who was with the Kansas Health Foundation at the time, making a phone call to Kinch in late 1992. Dyer shared information with Kinch about this thing called a “community foundation” and asked if she was interested in creating one in Derby. Not only was she enthusiastic about being part of this new initiative, she shared her infectious enthusiasm with her friends and community leaders in order to create the founding group of the Derby Community Foundation.
Kinch was also a board member of the Derby Recreation Commission for many years. Frank Seitz, former DRC Superintendent, credits Kinch for helping to “clean up” state regulations for recreation commissions during her tenure as a member of the Kansas legislature. It came very easily to Kinch to ask people to support initiatives because of her passion for Derby and because of her generous spirit. Kinch’s longtime friend, Becky Loosen, said it best in an article that appeared in the Derby Informer:
“The one word that I think describes Elizabeth is that she was generous. She was generous with her time, she was generous with her financial assets, she was generous with her love, and that included her family, her friends and certainly the community of Derby. I would like for her to be remembered for her generous spirit, her love of the community and being a role model for what it means to give back to the community.”
The DRC assisted with renaming the award by designing/providing a plaque and an annual gift basket for the award recipient which includes a one-year family membership and Rock River Rapids season passes. The recipient also receives the opportunity to award a $500 grant to the charity of his/her choice.
“I am so pleased to honor the memory of my friend and mentor with this award,” said Theresa Hearn, DCF Executive Director. “She is the reason I serve in this position and is my inspiration for wanting to continue to enrich the quality of life in the Derby area through my work with the DCF.”