For 100-plus years now, American Legion Family Post 408 has been taking on a number of efforts to support the Derby community. That includes helping the Derby Chamber of Commerce with its annual pancake feeds in support of local charities, putting on a toy run to benefit Derby Operation Holiday and a number of other endeavors.
Now, the organization has branched out to create even more community support – officially forming the John M. West American Legion Post 408 Foundation Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, to further its mission.
Foundation President Pat Kitterman noted the entity was formed in part due to the Legion running into issues getting donations from corporations. All the branches of Post 408 (American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, American Legion Riders, etc.) will continue to host fundraisers, but the foundation creates an opportunity to focus on grants, businesses and private donations from other 501c3 organizations – all in support of the Legion and its mission.
“Our goal is to support our veterans, community, and children and youth in the communities of Derby and Haysville,” Kitterman said. “We want to better serve the veterans, community, and the children and youth. As we become more established, our hope is to fund scholarships for the Derby-Haysville communities.”
While the John M. West American Legion Post 408 Foundation Inc. was officially formed last fall, the foundation recently launched its first true community support effort, currently holding a fundraiser to purchase a bulletproof vest for the Derby Police Department’s new K-9 officer (Jax).
The initial goal of the fundraiser is $2,000, with additional blade shields to be purchased for the vest if sufficient funds are donated. Donations can be made to the foundation through its website, americanlegionpost408foundation.org. All equipment will be approved by Derby PD and Jax’s handler, Officer Dylan Bible.
Beyond the initial Derby PD fundraiser, Kitterman noted there are plans for various types of fundraisers and grants to be sought in support of the communities Post 408 serves (Derby and Haysville).
Despite being its own entity, technically, the John M. West American Legion Post 408 Foundation Inc. will support the mission and pillars of the Legion, as well as focusing on the people the Legion serves.
“Our mission is in addressing issues and helping the community thrive, through strong partnerships with the city of Derby Police and Fire departments, chamber, Derby USD 260 and the Derby Recreation Commission. Plus, the possibility of forming new partnerships with local businesses,” Kitterman said. “We totally support the communities we serve and will do anything that will benefit them.”