Spencer Fane Pledges $50,000 to Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey


November 6, 2017

Kansas City, Mo. – Spencer Fane LLP is making a three-year commitment to support Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA), a nonprofit whose mission is to make dance accessible to all people. Through performances and innovative arts education programs, KCFAA teaches more than 25,000 youth annually critical life skills through dance and models interracial and multicultural community partnerships.

KCFAA is the only presenter of New York’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II in Kansas City and is the official second home of the groundbreaking modern dance company. Spencer Fane will contribute $50,000 to KCFAA over the next three years as part of its ongoing support of arts organizations in the Kansas City area.

“The wonderfully generous support from Spencer Fane enables us to reach hundreds more area youth and support their overall health and well-being through the arts,” said Harlan Brownlee, CEO of KCFAA. “We’re very grateful to Spencer Fane for its commitment to our mission, to the arts, and to our children.”

In addition, Spencer Fane will serve as the presenting sponsor of the KCFAA Author Series, a new annual event designed to highlight artists whose work is timely and relevant to diversity, dance and the arts. Proceeds from the Author Series benefit KCFAA’s 11 educational and studio programs, including its six-week summer AileyCamp.

“KCFAA has improved the lives of countless young people and their families in our community, providing opportunities to learn the skills of creative communication, critical thinking and collaboration through dance,” said Pat Whalen, Chair of Spencer Fane. “As a firm dedicated to making a positive difference in our community, we are thrilled to be involved with KCFAA, and we want to help it thrive and remain a bright fixture in our arts community for years to come.”

The Spencer Fane and KCFAA collaboration is part of the firm’s overall Charitable Giving Program, which aims to provide significant support to select local nonprofit arts organizations through a $50,000 donation to each over the course of three years. The primary goal of the program is to encourage long-standing relationships with nonprofit organizations and provide Spencer Fane employees with additional opportunities to become involved and positively impact the community.

“By making this multi-year commitment, Spencer Fane provides our organization the opportunity to sustain our current programs and create new ways to inspire Kansas City youth,” said Godfrey Riddle, Director of Development for KCFAA. “We are excited about working with Spencer Fane to bring the arts to more people in our region.”


About Spencer Fane
Spencer Fane is a full-service business law firm focused on providing results that move clients and their businesses forward. With direct access to firm leadership and a different approach to client engagement, its attorneys instill confidence and certainty that the clients’ interests are the firm’s priority. The firm has offices in Colorado Springs and Denver, Colo.; Overland Park, Kan.; Jefferson City, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, Springfield and St. Louis, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz., and Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit spencerfane.com or follow @spencerfane on Twitter.

About Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey began his relationship with Kansas City in 1968, when he first brought his groundbreaking modern dance company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) to the city for performances.  As he shared his developing vision of a second home for his growing company, Kansas City community organizations, civic leaders, arts groups and financial partners responded. In 1984, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) was created as the official second home to this remarkable company.

KCFAA encourages diversity of people and ideas through its organizational structure, uniting people across racial, ethnic and social barriers to promote awareness, respect, friendship, and ultimately, community-wide social change. Through performances and educational programs, KCFAA has reached more than 1 million people in the Kansas City community.

Contact: Pam Hausner | pam@kcfaa.org

Ms. Debbie Allen, our first Race, Place & Diversity Award recipient.


This year, as a part of our annual Symposium Series, we are thrilled to include a new Award Dinner to celebrate those who advocate for diversity and inclusion in our country. Our first honoree is Ms. Debbie Allen. Her work as an executive producer, director, actor, choreographer, and dancer has positioned her to make a profound impact and open dialogue for understanding and change.

Learn how you can join us in celebrating Ms. Allen’s work and support the efforts of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

Leadership with Grace: Elaina has a KCFAA Anniversary

KCFAA is blessed with dedicated staff and this week we celebrate the 7-year work anniversary of Elaina [Levingston] Thomas. Elaina (a former AileyCamper) is an Artistic Instructor trained in Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, and African. She has worked with top choreographers like Debbie Allen (who will be with us in November!) and toured internationally including China and Italy.

Elaina says, “One of the biggest rewards for me is simply waking up to do what I love everyday—inspiring our youth through the art of Dance!” That dedication clearly is reflected in Elaina’s interaction with the students, who often clamor to speak with her and find creative ways to show their admiration and appreciation for her mentorship in their lives.

Thank you, Elaina, for your faithful work with KCFAA. We look forward to many more years to come!

First Friday, October 6: Two Locations for Twice the Fun!

We’re excited to be partnering with Helix Architecture, 1629 Walnut Street, for a fun First Friday. Helix has generously offered their beautiful space to host KCFAA for food, drink, and a presentation of AileyCamp the Group.

From 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., we’ll be living it up in the Crossroads with Helix. If you plan to come, please RSVP to help us plan enough refreshments for everyone!

Back at 18th & Vine, we’ll still be offering our regular First Friday FREE hip-hop classes at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., taught by D’Eirre Jackson in our studio.

Then, from 7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. you can join us and De Barker (Kansas City’s Queen of Line Dance” on 18th Street between Highland and Vine for an explosion of dance. Learn some of the classics and what’s new in Line Dance!

Contest to Win FREE Ticket to Symposium

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Enter the contest to win a FREE TICKET to attend our annual Symposium on Race, Place, and Diversity!

In a few weeks, we’ll begin promoting the 2017 Symposium on Race, Place, and Diversity presented by Great West Financial and Empower Retirement. Attendance at the daytime event with lunch and panel discussions will cost $60, but you might be able to participate for FREE!

How? Download our new KCFAA app! Be the first to learn of news and upcoming events, access exclusive and behind-the-scenes content.

TO ENTER THE DRAWING: After downloading the app, simply fill in the 2017 Symposium Contest form to be entered in the drawing for a FREE ticket!

Available on Google Play and iTunes!

Or search for “KCFAA” in your app store.

Download the KCFAA app today and Enter to Win!

Winner will be selected on October 9, 2017 and will be notified within 48 hours.

She Did It

The most unique thing in the world…

Change is the Law of Life*

I have learned that change is really the only thing we can know for certain. Saying that is one thing, learning to live it is another and means that we must often find ways to let go of the past and present, so we may be free to embrace the future.


In Richard Bach’s bestseller, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” there is a wonderful story that has always stuck with me despite the fact I read the book some thirty years ago.  It describes a village of river creatures that struggle with a swift current that is so strong that they must hang on to the bottom of the river for fear of being tossed among the rocks.  However, there is one creature that learns to let go of the bottom and ends up flying in the river.  Further downstream the flying creature comes upon another village of astonished river creatures who proclaim that this creature is the messiah.  The flying creature simply responds by telling them, “I am no more messiah than you, the river delights to lift us free if we only dare let go.”

I tell you this story because it serves as a metaphor for the unacceptable hatred and violence we see from groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists.  It reminds us that there are those among us who cannot and will not accept the inevitability that the world is changing and they are desperately hanging on to the way things are.  But we all must learn to let go and accept one another for all the wonderful and sometimes confusing differences we possess. It isn’t easy. Teaching and learning tolerance and acceptance, understanding that diversity is our true strength, and recognizing that we must stand up for what is right, is how we will find freedom and peace at home, in our communities, and in this lifetime.

*  Title inspired by John F. Kennedy.

2017 Symposium Date Announcement


We are happy to announce that our 2017 Symposium on Race, Place, and Diversity will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2017. Please register at https://www.kcfaa.org/symposium/.