Once a Resident, Always an Advocate
August 29, 2019
This September 6th, CHWC will host a rooftop party to honor long-time volunteer and Wyandotte County native Jeff Lipp with the Monsignor Tom Tank Continue the Legacy, Center Circle Award. Past recipients of this award include Monsignor Tom Tank, Joe Reardon, Craig and Karen Gaffney, Jim Owens, Susan Carroll, and Tom Bickimer.
Over the years, Jeff has dedicated much time and energy to helping CHWC strengthen its impact. Jeff grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. He loved the small-town feel that neighborhoods like St. Peters, Prescott, and Riverview enjoy. But in the 1980s, not long after Jeff graduated from Bishop Ward High School, the community began showing signs of disinvestment and disrepair.
At the time, Monsignor Tom Tank served as pastor of Jeff’s church, the Cathedral of St. Peter, and was deeply invested in the well-being of the community. It was through his efforts that CHWC was established in 1998. By the mid-2000s, CHWC had renovated nearly 100 homes in Wyandotte County neighborhoods.
In 2009, Jeff was invited to tour CHWC’s neighborhoods, and was soon invited to volunteer as a Board member. Impressed and encouraged by the visible progress CHWC had made to restore his home town, he later took on more responsibility as Board Chair.
During the years that Jeff led the Board, he helped grow CHWC’s neighborhood development initiatives. The organization expanded the construction of high-quality affordable housing on the Grandview corridor, revitalized Waterway Park, and worked with the city to facilitate the building of McKinley Elementary School, drawing many new families to the neighborhood.
Jeff also helped to grow CHWC’s Community Building & Engagement efforts, working with staff to jumpstart several programs that still serve KCK neighborhoods today. Among these are the EPIC Arts Center; Splitlog Farm, which provides free fresh produce to nearby M.E. Pearson Elementary and the larger Bethany neighborhood; and many graffiti abatement programs.
While he ended his board service in 2018, Jeff continues to be invested in Wyandotte County and CHWC. He played an integral role in securing $30,000 of crucial grants from the foundation of HDR, his employer. The grants served to enable Splitlog Farm to grow and distribute more fruits and vegetables to an area that lacks immediate access to healthy fresh foods. Jeff was awarded the 2019 United Way Volunteer of the Year Award for his advocacy.
Those who worked with Jeff during his time at CHWC still recognize his impact, both past and present. “Jeff is a person you can always be proud to say you know,” affirmed former CHWC Board Chair Susan Carroll. Susan served alongside Jeff for several years; they both continue to volunteer as committee members and advocates for CHWC. “His roots in KCK are deep and lasting. If I could use three words to describe him, it would be humble, servant leader.”
HDR President Doug Lisak, Jeff’s boss, agreed. He’s known Jeff for 20 years, and in that time has appreciated above all his caring nature and desire to keep everyone’s best interests at heart. On Jeff’s commitment to CHWC, Doug remarked that Jeff takes pride in the visible renewal of his home neighborhoods.
CHWC looks forward to celebrating Jeff with all of our friends and supporters. We hope you’ll come join us to honor this long-time leader and advocate for our neighborhoods!