Unity Temple on the Plaza
707 West 47th St.
Kansas City MO 64113
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 561-4466
Mission Statement
Our Mission is to be a continual source of nourishment for the increase of spiritual awareness by providing support and encouragement to the people of the community, for the increase of peace and harmony in their lives, and to encourage the people who come to this center to collectively join together to further peace and harmony in the world.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Duke Tufty
Board Chair Professor Winifrid Dunn Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Kansas University Medical Center
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1903
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement Our Mission is to be a continual source of nourishment for the increase of spiritual awareness by providing support and encouragement to the people of the community, for the increase of peace and harmony in their lives, and to encourage the people who come to this center to collectively join together to further peace and harmony in the world.
Background Statement

Real estate developer Charles Fillmore and his wife, Myrtle, founded Unity in Kansas City in 1889. Suffering from ill health, the two used prayer and affirmation to help them heal. Soon friends joined them in affirmative prayer and the Fillmores began writing about their metaphysical beliefs and experiences. In the beginning the Fillmores were interested in giving people practical tools in Christianity to improve their lives. Thus, the Unity Movement began.


§ 1889 - Charles and Myrtle Fillmore publish Modern Thought (later Unity Magazine)

§ 1903 - Unity Society of Practical Christianity (Unity Temple on the Plaza) incorporated

§ 1906 - First permanent home found for Unity Congregation at 913 Tracy Avenue

§ 1914 - Unity School of Christianity founded

§ 1928 - Property on Country Club Plaza purchased

§ 1931 - Myrtle Fillmore dies

§ 1933 - Charles Fillmore retires

§ 1948 - Charles Fillmore dies

§ 1948 - Unity Temple on the Plaza opens

§ 1950 - Unity Temple on the Plaza completed

§ 1960 - Construction debt on Unity Temple completely retired

§ 1984 - Founding of Plaza Lights School, later to become the Global Montessori Academy

§ 1991 - Unity Temple merges with the Myrtle Fillmore Center

§ 1991 - Duke Tufty assumes leadership; Cornerstone Foundation is founded

§ 1994 - Vegetarian restaurant Eden Alley opens and later is awarded best vegetarian restaurant in KC

§ 1995 - 90th anniversary of the Unity Temple Women's Auxiliary

§ 1996 - Buddhist Center founded at Unity Temple

§ 1999 - 100 years of Unity celebrated

§ 2007 - 2010 Capital Campaign begun to restore Unity Temple

§ 2008 - Main Sanctuary repainted

§ 2009 - All sanctuary seating is refinished

Impact Statement

With recognition that the whole person is comprised of interdependent systems which each need to be functioning optimally in order for the individual to achieve his or her full potential, we have divided over seventy (70) programs housed within Unity Temple on the Plaza (UToP) into five broad program areas. Three of these programs are described later.

Yet within the community there are populations that are unable to come to our facility, so one of our goals is to increase our outreach efforts with volunteer members. Over the past year we have developed a program to visit incarcerated groups at the private, state, and federal correctional facilities to discuss social, spiritual, and philosophical issues. We currently visit over 3000 man-hours per year.

We have also instituted a program to provide volunteers to a local elementary school to help with tutoring and reading, and to add age-appropriate books to the classrooms. In this first year approximately 120 child-hours per month receive our classroom help.

The popular press has helped increase awareness of the beneficial effects of meditation and mindfulness, and as a well known center of contemplative arts in Kansas City we have received many inquiries about that practice. In response we have increased free, non-sectarian meditation instruction and practice to twice daily, every day of the week. During lunch hour and after work we host 30-minute sessions of guided meditation to the public who attend this practice at a rate of over 400 people per week.

We have also observed an increased inquiry about a “12-Step” program based in the Buddhist philosophy, and our goal is to accommodate that need by expanding the program.

Another goal is to launch a reading program for literacy-challenged adults. Those with limited ability to read have fallen through the education cracks, and have narrowed opportunities. Our Plaza location, close to midtown, offers a convenient, less-formal setting than an educational institution.

Needs Statement

While the boiler and air conditioning units in the building are less than 15 years old and are in good shape, the delivery system (ducting) is 65 years old, is partially wrapped in asbestos insulation, and provides no mechanism to regulate heating and cooling to specific functional areas. This results in a utility cost of over $86,000 per year. There is a great need to more efficiently utilize our natural resources in a safe, environmentally conscious manner by replacing ducts and insulation, and installing control systems to selectively heat or cool only those areas of the building that are occupied.

There is also a need to replace external doors and windows that were installed in 1949, and currently offer little in the way of insulation and protection from the elements. With window and door replacement we anticipate significant energy savings over the next 65 years.

A fourth important need is to finish plumbing and electrical upgrades, from the original systems built in 1949, which were partially completed in the 2010 capital campaign.

A fifth need is installation of a 75 kW solar panel array to deliver electricity to the building. As responsible users of natural resources we need to conserve and protect the environment for our future generations.
Service Categories
Community & Neighbourhood Development
Interfaith Coalitions
Substance Abuse Dependency, Prevention & Treatment
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
KS - Johnson County
KS - Leavenworth County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
MO - Cass County
MO - Clay County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
MO - Platte County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

As Chair of the Board and in consideration of the comments from so many that are involved at Unity during the planning for the current capital campaign, I remain surprised at the relative anonymity in the general community of the good works that are in place at Unity. It seems we at Unity are considered a “Church” like so many other churches, yet our building houses programs for the arts, healing & well being, culture and multiple spiritual beliefs such that many citizens of Kansas City benefit from this facility. It is my mission and that of our Board to help educate the community about the communal involvement and citywide use of this structure during the coming years.

I have attended Unity Temple for more than a dozen years, have served on the Board of Directors and on the Endowment Board, and have watched Unity Temple grow and expand services for the community. The Unity services on Sunday and Wednesday have been ongoing, and the Temple Buddhist Center has been growing each year. One of my favorite statistics is that more than 5,000 people come through our doors each week; this speaks to the other community services we provide space for, including recovery program meetings, preschool and childcare, vegetarian dining, book events, concerts and even graduation ceremonies for schools in our area.

Unity Temple and I are the same age. We share the same challenges to maintain our ‘temples’ in good working order so we can continue to be of service. We are in the midst of a campaign to inform our community members about the building’s needs, and soliciting support to meet them. In this process we have learned how important Unity Temple is to many people’s lives, and how much support we have to thrive as a community resource.

Unity Temple on the Plaza is an iconic organization in our city, and in my everyday life. I live next to the Nelson Art Gallery and work at the University of Kansas Medical Center so I pass the Temple every day en route to work and home. I have noticed that just seeing the building leads me to pause for a moment and feel gratitude for aspects of my life that I sometimes take for granted. At Unity Temple, I have learned principles of acceptance and how to meditate, not just in the formal ways, but also to capture the small moments between ‘activities’ that provide opportunities to reflect. I think that is why seeing the building is a cue for me to use my skills in service to my peace of mind.
With recognition that the whole person is comprised of interdependent systems which each need to be functioning optimally in order for the individual to achieve his or her full potential, we have divided almost seventy (70) programs housed within Unity Temple on the Plaza (UToP) into five broad areas. The first considers the health and well being of the Body. Every month, on the average, over 3,000 people walk through our doors to partake of this Program.
In addition to the award winning vegetarian restaurant, Eden Alley, UToP is home to a variety of classes that include martial arts instruction, multiple levels and flavors of yoga, Zumba, Thai massage, dancing, Healthy Being, bicycling, as well as certification courses in yoga and massage.
Category Human Services, General/Other Personal Goods & Services
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
Short-term success is measured as a function of subjective improvements in happiness, physical fitness, general well being, and recognition of the positive effects by continued participation in this program.
The open-to-the-community policy of our Body Wellness program results in a continually rising, yet fluctuating population. This makes it difficult to monitor over the long term (> 5 years), so we rely on the participation trends and the power of observation by the UToP Program Directors and Leaders who get to know the participants well enough to make an assessment on general happiness, increased fitness, and overall attitude.
Long-Term Success We measure long-term success through growth of the program, which reflects the adoption of a healthier lifestyle by members of the community. This includes long term habits of exercise, eating greater quantities of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and less dairy and red meat. The ultimate outcome is a longer, happier, healthier life. We actively support and encourage UToP congregants, but also the larger community in the KC Metro area to partake of this program.
Program Success Monitored By
The primary objective metric we have available is the number of attendees at the different program offerings. Some long-standing groups make a significant impact on the surrounding communities in terms of participation and popularity, and have a steady continued growth pattern.
We make continual adjustments in the programs offered by discontinuing those that are not popular, and expanding the space available or the frequency of those programs that grow.
Examples of Program Success
“Unity Temple is in a great central location, between work and home, so I can workout and get a healthy meal”.
“Eden Alley is my family’s favorite restaurant. It’s one of the few places in town where the kids are happy, my picky husband is happy, and I’m happy. There vegetarian dishes are really tasty”.
“My girlfriends and I go to yoga three times a week and it helps keeps us sane in our busy law office”.
“I’m a member of the Temple Buddhist Center and go on spring and summer bicycle rides with other members of the sangha. It’s a bonding experience and helps keep us in shape”.
Description Unity Temple on the Plaza (UToP) welcomes and embraces all forms of spiritual diversity and growth. Seven days a week people from all corners of the KC metro area walk through our doors to attend more than 30 different programs. We are proud of the range of spiritual activities offered that not only include traditional Christianity-based Unity and Catholic services, but also courses that integrate spirituality and money investment, metaphysical bible study, as well as Sufi healing practice, practice groups devoted to Soto and Korean Zen, Tibetan and Vajrayana Buddhism, basic and advanced Buddhist study, as well as secular meditation and mindfulness training.
Category Religion, General/Other Religion, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success With an understanding of the inherent good in all people, and the powerful common force of love, we go beyond merely discussing the concepts of tolerance and acceptance of ‘others’, and instead model empathy and demonstrate compassionate interactions with all people, regardless of their spiritual orientation. This practice extends to those who might otherwise be considered different on the basis of their cultural, sexual, psychological or socio-economic identification, and results in a diverse population that call Unity Temple a home. Perhaps more importantly, the same people exert a positive influence on those in the greater community.
Long-Term Success The common thread through these diverse philosophies and spiritual traditions is the realization that in the absence of discriminations and prejudices there exists a commonality, a unity, in all people. We seek to extend that perspective to where there exists a collective consciousness, an awareness of the interdependence between all people and all sentient beings.
Program Success Monitored By We believe that the principles established by the Founders of Unity Temple have continued, uninterrupted since its inception in 1903. For over 65 years this building has housed a long line of practitioners of this progressive brand of spiritual philosophy, and since the early 1990’s our community has steadily grown as the philosophy begins to resonate with popular thought. Success is measured as a function of longevity and growth of this central defining program within Unity Temple on the Plaza.
Examples of Program Success
“I just love that I can sample a half dozen different religions at one place, and can mix and match until I find one that WORKS for ME, right now”.
“In the depths of depression, feeling murderous and suicidal over an impending divorce, I wandered into Unity on a Sunday morning, and sat among the stillness of 100 people meditating. I returned again and again, now for 10 years, and see with clarity the universal positive nature of a spiritual life, and I have Unity Temple to thank”.
“We moved from the west coast 4 years ago and were shocked to find there were lots of bigoted, narrow-minded people in Kansas City. After attending more than a handful of churches we discovered Unity, and found that the people there with attitudes of openness, inclusiveness, and oneness were just like us”.
The UToP Support programs address a wide range of needs to those in the community facing challenges that stem from substance abuse, sexual abuse and addiction, unhealthy eating, and aging. UToP also houses five professional psychologists, therapists and counselors that offer services to those with more acute needs.
On the average, over 4000 times per month members of the community walk through our doors to receive these support services. Some groups meet on a weekly basis, some meet several times per day, seven days per week.
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success The short term goals range from simply staying sober, to stop unhealthy compulsive habits, to learning how to support loved ones who face these daily challenges. Since many of the afflictions common within the support groups are true addictions, successes are measured in hours and days.
Long-Term Success Those who reach out for psychosocial support are unhappy, and can see the destructive patterns in their lives. The long-term goals of this program are the establishment of a support network for individuals where judgment-free emotional strength can be called upon, to moving past unskillful lifestyles, and becoming happy, functional members of society.
Program Success Monitored By As with most of our programs, the Psychosocial support function is an ongoing, dynamic effort measured in terms of subjective happiness. That is, while continuous decreasing rates of recidivism are desired, those metrics are not collected. Instead we focus on the individual person’s well-being and net-positive movement towards happiness.
Examples of Program Success
“Unity is known throughout the city as the ‘Go to’ place if you’re serious to stop drinking”.
“The only reason I’ve been sober for six years is because there’s a support group there for me twice a day”.
“Some SA places you go to make you feel weird and uncomfortable, but this place is totally cool. Even the church people are cool”.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Duke Tufty
Term Start Jan 1991
Duke Tufty was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and moved to the Kansas City area in the early 1980s. He was ordained as a Unity minister in 1989, has been the Senior Minister and CEO of Unity Temple on the Plaza for over 20 years, and served as chairman of the Board of Unity School of Christianity from 2001 - 2010.
As new CEO of the Unity Temple, Duke successfully managed a then large, underutilized facility by forming a non-profit corporation, the Cornerstone Foundation, to produce a series of spiritual/motivational speaker events throughout the U.S. He brought to Unity Temple such luminaries as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish, Dan Millman, Brian Weiss, Joan Borysenko, Wayne Dyer, Suze Orman, Judy Orloff, Cherie Carter Scott, Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne Williamson, and many others. This established Kansas City and Unity Temple as a leader in progressive spirituality in the Midwest, while bringing in revenue to sustain one of the anchor buildings on the Plaza.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Associate Minister
Paid Full-Time Staff 12
Volunteers 225
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Professor Winifrid Dunn Ph.D.
Company Affiliation Kansas University Medical Center
Term Oct 2014 to Sept 2017
Email wdunn@kumc.edu
Board Members
Mr. John Adams Independent
Mr. George Wine Chase Independent
Ms. Connie Dodson Central Communications Credit Union
Ms. Latanya Dumas Renaissance Treatment Center
Dr. Winifrid Dunn Ph.D.Kansas University Medical Center
Junda Feuhrer EFT
Ms. Martha Lowe Independent
Mr. Bruce Maxwell Construction
Dr. Bob Peterson D.D.S.Community Volunteer
Mr. Ray Roberts DST Systems
Mr. Luther Wilson Independent
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2015
Projected Revenue $1,011,300
Projected Expenses $970,255
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2014, 2013, 2012: Financial data reported using the organization's internal financial documents.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$527,429$532,318$605,099
Administration Expense$479,214$460,806$468,024
Fundraising Expense$39,606$36,655$39,639
Payments to Affiliates$0--$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.070.920.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses50%52%55%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%4%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$2,308,616$2,251,405$2,456,767
Current Assets$365,003$278,178$341,026
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$127,267$100,597$98,967
Total Net Assets$2,181,349$2,150,808$2,357,800
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.872.773.45
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Organization Name Unity Temple on the Plaza
Address 707 West 47th St.
Kansas City, MO 64113
Primary Phone (816) 561-4466
Contact Email info@unitytemple.com
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Duke Tufty
Board Chair Professor Winifrid Dunn Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Kansas University Medical Center
Year of Incorporation 1903