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KC Made: Get a behind the scenes look at local nonprofit Unbound

Unbound is a KC nonprofit with a global stage, helping families living in poverty reach their fullest potential.

Unbound KCtoday

Step inside the Unbound Experience Center to see the story unfold in person.

Photo by KCtoday

Table of Contents

Local gone global. Meet Unbound, a KC nonprofit helping families living in poverty become self-sufficient and fulfill their potential. Editor Bella sat down with the Unbound staff to chat about the nonprofit’s mission, goals, and team.

Fast facts

  • Founded in 1981 by siblings Bob, Bud, and Jim Hentzen and Nadine Hentzen Pearce
  • Headquarters located at 1 Elmwood Ave., KCK
  • In 2022, 91.4% of Unbound’s expenses went toward program support, with over $115 million in direct assistance to global programs.
Unbound KC

See the dedication of the staff, founders, and volunteers.

Photo by KCtoday

Where it all began

Unbound is no stranger to the Kansas City community, laying its foundations in KCK in 1981. The siblings and their friend Jerry Tolle came together after Bob and Jerry witnessed the devastating effects of poverty on families struggling heroically to make better lives for their children.

The co-founders envisioned a program that would invite people to partner with families to support, encourage, and empower them.

How it works

Unbound utilizes a sponsorship model, connecting two individuals across geographic, economic, and social boundaries, to develop a unique relationship based on listening, encouragement, and mutual respect. The organization also accepts monetary donations.

“About half of the world’s population lives on less than $6.70 a day,” Senior Director, Market Development Tara Hefner told us. “That sobering reality makes global poverty seem like a problem too big to solve and one that is too far away for us to make a real impact.”

Unbound doesn’t think so.

“At Unbound, we put the needs of the vulnerable first and believe the surest path out of poverty is a self-directed one.”

Unbound KCtoday

This is the sponsor wall where visitors can read about the families in need and sign up to sponsor.

Photo by KCtoday

Calling Kansas City home

While Unbound reaches a global audience, its roots here in Kansas City are special.

“We have a rich history in Kansas City and couldn’t imagine doing the work we do from anywhere else. From our local donors to the many corporations and organizations that volunteer at our headquarters, we appreciate those in our community who have helped us serve and meet the needs of those who are marginalized and vulnerable around the world,” Hefner said.

Memories from the CEO

We asked the team to share a favorite Unbound memory, and CEO Ashley Hufft delivered.

“My favorite Unbound memory is from this past June, when I visited three Unbound field offices in Kenya (Nairobi, Meru and Kisumu) with my 12-year-old son. It was amazing to watch him interact with our teams and sponsored families,” Hufft shared. “I think it was truly transformative for him being able to spend time listening and learning about other people’s lives — their hopes and dreams, as well as worries and challenges.”

Get involved

Now that you know the Unbound story, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

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