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Gift Planning

World Traveler Makes Big Impact at Home: Don Kahan

Don KahanDon Kahan spent much of his early life going places. The rest of his life has been spent helping others go places.

During his college years, Don took time off from Tulane to travel abroad, riding a BSA motorcycle around Europe and staying in youth hostels. He was overseas when the Korean War broke out in 1950 and got drafted shortly afterward.

After serving his country as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, Don went back to college and finished his degree at UCLA. Then he went to work for Feld Chevrolet in Kansas City, Kansas, where he learned the transportation business from the ground up.

"The dealer handed me a mop and said good luck," Don recalls with a chuckle. "I think that is the best thing anybody can do for kids if they're in the business is to start them out that way. It was a matter of snooping around, looking over everybody's shoulder and trying to learn as much as you can."

In addition to understanding automotive sales and service, Don's association with the Feld family also expanded his knowledge about philanthropy and eventually led him to serve on the boards of their various charitable trusts. Those trusts have generously supported Children's Mercy over the years, along with many other area charities.

After a few years, the travel bug bit him again and he spent a year-and-a-half traveling around the world. Among his favorite places was New Zealand because the people there were so friendly. He spent lambing season on a sheep farm with a guy he met in Tahiti, and when the adjoining estate came up for sale, they put a bid on it.

"We came within $1,500 American," said Don. "If we'd gotten it, I might still be there!"

What made the biggest impression on him, though, was visiting impoverished countries such as Burma and India.

"After you saw the poverty there and the terrible, terrible conditions," says Don, "you can never feel sorry for yourself again."

Don settled in Lee's Summit in 1965, taking over a dealership after the previous owner died. By helping others go places, he built Don Kahan Chevrolet into a successful and respected dealership over the next 45 years.

During General Motors' recent financial difficulties, Kahan and the company parted ways when GM did not renew thousands of dealer franchises nationwide. Now he's focusing on a new way to help people get where they want to go—electric cars and trucks. Don Kahan Motors at 505 NW Blue Parkway will be the first all-electric car dealership in the Kansas City area as soon as the inventory is delivered. A second store will be located at 79th & Metcalf in Overland Park.

This cutting edge business isn't the only way that Don is looking to the future. He has included Children's Mercy in his estate plans. You might say that he's helping sick kids get where they want to go, just in a different way.

"Children's Mercy has been a top rung charity forever," says Don. "The work they do is terrific. I think everyone should support Children's Mercy."

Whether it's volunteering for nonprofit and civic organizations, serving on foundation boards or his own personal giving, the logic behind his philanthropy is straightforward.

"You make your living from the community, so there's got to be give-back," says Don. "You receive. You give back. It's pretty simple."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Children's Mercy a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Children's Mercy, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Kansas City, MO, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Children's Mercy or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Children's Mercy where you agree to make a gift to Children's Mercy and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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