The Gifted Learning Project
10 E 135th St. #481551
Kansas City MO 64148-1551
One of my favorite things to find is worms!
Mission Statement
Our mission is to
enhance the learning potential and wellbeing
of those with learning challenges by
providing unique solutions
not offered elsewhere. 
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Girard John Sagmiller
Board Chair Mr. Girard John Sagmiller
Board Chair Company Affiliation Cedar Crest Financial
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1999
Volunteer Opportunities
Do you have Volunteer Opportunities? Yes
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Ways to Donate:
  • Land to facilitate jobs for the disabled (gardening and/or farming) 
  • Donations through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • Gift cards
  • Gardening equipment
  • Agricultural tools or discounts on tools/ lawn tractors
  • Plant or seeds (can be expired)
  • Gently used computers
  • Office space or supplies
  • Video equipment
  • Air miles or plane tickets
  • Baking or kitchen equipment
Volunteer Opportunities:
  • Grant writing
  • Writing/ voice over public service announcements
  • Web development
  • Any public relations skills
  • Hosting site for matching fundraising
  • Volunteering at events
  • Sponsor a corporate giving campaign
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
enhance the learning potential and wellbeing
of those with learning challenges by
providing unique solutions
not offered elsewhere. 
Background Statement The Gifted Learning Project was started by family members affected by special needs, hoping to help loved ones recognize the “abilities” within disabilities. Due to ample requests and much needed support, the organization continues to grow rapidly. Over 1,000 materials along with countless online materials are sent out to families each year. We average 750 emails a month, each handled personally. There remains a huge need to share ideas and gain support in order to make a significant difference for the people and families we serve. Although from grassroots, our vision extends far beyond the breadth our programs have currently achieved, and we hope to incorporate programs of greater meaning into the lives of those we aid. Those whom we collaborate with find that we provide resources that are complementary; for instance, the Garden-Able project was used and duplicated by many. Those in the field may not have expertise in gardening but use the resources we provide as learning tools. Our volunteer team of master gardeners saw the dire need in our community and acted to create a resource with rent-free land as well as affordable, upcycled items. Our projects are launched by community members that are inspired to make a difference. These community members devise plans and approach our organization to make their visions a reality.
Impact Statement


  • The Gifted Learning Project has continued to provide hands-on learning for over 2,000 children annually. Children are given the opportunity to learn and thrive greater than anywhere else when they are outdoors. Children learn to grow produce to take home to their families and care for animals on the farm site. 
  • Our collaboration with White Earth Reservation has allowed us to grow rare corn and squash that provide a learning tool and meaningful work to those we serve. The collaboration of this project and all involved in seed saving comes with a great deal of trust from the tribes.
  • We planted and cared for an adapted garden demonstration focusing on unique and inexpensive solutions for those who with learning challenges. An open source for all to copy, our ideas were implemented in over 10 new garden areas. Master gardeners, assisted living centers, schools, and non-profits implemented our adaptive structures to improve the lives of those with learning challenges. 
  • Our programs donated essential learning resources and technologies to libraries, families, and educators. These resources, ranging from learning technology like computers to transportation means like tricycles and scooters, are given to low-income communities and children so that they may have greater opportunities for learning and independence.


  • Our goal is to gain additional sites to provide our outdoor programs so that we may implement these programs in more areas and get more schools and children involved. Our hopes are to acquire land in Kansas City to expand. 
  • We dream of having more resources to give more children, disabled and impoverished, the opportunity to be active with planting and animal care.
  • We hope to begin a new program aiming to further the independence of those with disabilities. We would like to offer a long-term solution to living challenges by providing job opportunities.
  • We plan for the coming years to continue growing rare, almost extinct seed for several tribes. These seeds provide culturally and scientifically significant work for those with learning disabilities. 
Needs Statement
The most vital need we face is the availability of land. Currently, we do not possess enough room to serve all those who we recognize are in need. We want to develop a location where those with learning challenges can garden and be outside while developing a sense of independence and usefulness. The need is great for land donation or reduced purchase price so that job opportunities may be provided for farming or gardening.
Along with land for gardening, we are also in dire need for seed donations, both for the future garden as well as for use on our Garden-Able program.
The third and last need of ours is software or laptop donations or funding for these resources. These would be used for assisting in creating, developing, and executing online programs that can be shared with families.
Service Categories
Alliances & Advocacy
Special Education
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Platte County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
Geographic Area Served Narrative We are able to give resources to libraries to public use targeting low income areas.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement Every person is born with amazing gifts. For many of us, our gifts are opened early in life, giving us the opportunity to utilize them right away. However, some people have a harder time opening their gifts, whether that is due to cognitive or physical disabilities. These are the people and families that drive the Gifted Learning Project. Our organization thrives because we believe in developing the gifts of each unique person. This belief is brought to life by volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time. 

Garden-Able's mission is to creatively discuss and innovate new ideas to employ greater independence to those faced with challenges that can be inexpensively replicated throughout the country. 

Garden-Able achieves this mission in how it provides a better life for those with disabilities. The garden is designed in such a way that it is handicap-accessible, large enough for a wheelchair to venture through. Its inexpensive and innovative structures are ones that garden-lovers have implemented throughout the community, using ideas that are freely shared on Pinterest and Facebook. Garden-Able was made to delight the senses, but even more so, it delights the individuals whom the program supports. Senior citizens and children from the homeless shelter are provided with exercise and nutrient-dense food through the garden’s produce and the active involvement it takes to care for the plants. More importantly, the garden instills in them a sense of independence and self-reliance.

Program Budget $12,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Senior Residential Facilities Programs
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success

Though the program is still young, it has shown much promise with multiple local assisted living centers and the media showing interest in Garden-Able. The Garden-Able model has been viewed and tested by different centers as we continue to grow and develop the program.

Long-Term Success

Different apparatuses and set-ups used in Garden-Able will be adapted and implemented by assisted living facilities. This will encourage a sense of belonging and purpose. Eagle Scouts and 4H'ers have expressed the desire to make some of these structures to help the elders tend the gardens. The long term success will be carried out through these efforts as well as continuing to generate interest by posting ideas on Pinterest and Facebook. All the monetary value of the program was given in-kind through goods and services by members of the community that allows for its long-term success. 

Program Success Monitored By

We monitor the success of the program by assessing the willingness of communities to adapt similar set-ups for gardening on their own campuses. Local assisted living communities have already shown great interest in implementing some of Garden-Able’s setups.

Examples of Program Success

With so many residents of assisted living facilities who have experience in gardening or farming, many local assisted living communities are excited about the possibility of having an accessible garden setup available. When tours of the garden are offered, sign up from seniors is strong. The media already published a feature on the Garden-Able project, and there was strong interest in the feature. 


Our Mission is to develop awareness of the challenges in learning and living for the disabled by providing opportunities to healthcare professionals, universities, and the community.

Gifted Learning Awareness achieves this mission by internationally connecting with people to learn about the project. It also provides resources that give people a deeper understanding of the inspiring lives of those with disabilities. “Dakota’s Pride” is a powerful documentary that serves as a beacon of light for those affected by Down Syndrome. This timeless film has continued to serve as a helping hand and enlightening resource for many, highlighting the abilities of each individual.
Program Budget $500,000.00
Category Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines, General/Other Down Syndrome
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short-Term Success

Short term successes include an immediate increase in acceptance of those individuals with Down Syndrome and a decrease in anxiety for parents of a child with learning disabilities. The "Dakota's Pride" documentary also provides a network of support for parents who have a child with Down Syndrome and are unsure of where to look. Over 100,000 direct emails have come in since the movie aired.

Long-Term Success

Ten years after its release, "Dakota's Pride" is still being used to raise awareness about the abilities of those with Down Syndrome. The movie played on all PBS stations and is routinely re-run for public viewing. Through this documentary, we have reached millions of people and sparked much needed conversations about Down Syndrome. We have also provided families a network of resources. The DVD is also requested by special education professors to use in classrooms as well as college campuses for awareness weeks. All the monetary value of this film was given in-kind through goods and services by members of the community that allow for its long-term success.

Program Success Monitored By

The "Dakota's Pride" documentary was initiated by our Executive Board Director but was monitored throughout its production and filming by parents and guardians of those with Down Syndrome. Its success was also seen by the massive number of people both within and beyond our community that embraced the film and continue to reference it. The documentary has been referenced by physicians as well as caregivers and the Harvard Medical Library.

Examples of Program Success

Dakota's Pride documentary aired nationally on PBS and has re-run because of requests. Media production companies liked the project so much they donated the closed captioning, music, and voice-over. Editing and production would have cost $500,000 but our costs were low due to support from Kansas City production companies. Another success of the film includes a local theater's screening of the movie followed by a panel discussion. The documentary won a regional Emmy for its powerful message and execution.


Our Mission is to provide educational resources to children with disabilities that outstretch the confines of our nonprofit and create a ripple effect by supplying low-income and high-need communities with software and technologies to better live and learn that can be passed on as children outgrow them.

This program provides powerful, intuitive learning software to over 1,000 new sites yearly. Public, faith-based, and home libraries as well as schools use these resources to improve children's learning and mediate any challenges they may face. We work with computer software companies to donate educational software which we provide to the areas of highest need. This collaboration is very powerful and can help children "go outside the classroom walls." When students are engaged in technology, it gives them ownership and control over their learning. More excitement, less distraction, and greater interactivity are all results of these programs that benefit children nationwide.

Program Budget $75,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Library
Population Served Families
Short-Term Success

Disabled individuals become more confident in their own ability to learn and achieve and have reduced test-taking anxiety because of the resources they are provide. Resource libraries encourage those at the bottom line of testing to feel more independent. The computer software also does not fatigue children by requiring them to repeat steps. The software provides a great resource for special needs children by enabling each child to learn independently at a pace that is made for him or her.

Long-Term Success

Resource libraries help families learn in a positive surrounding. Many students become more academically proficient in various classes accessed at school or self-driven. There is nothing greater than to get feedback from parents and teachers that a special needs child says "I can do it!" Children attending school in lower income school districts also benefit greatly as they obtain the DVDs or can access and use the resources at library locations. All the monetary value of the program is given annually in-kind through goods and services by members of the community that allows for its long-term success.

Program Success Monitored By

School and test scores were used to directly measure growth as well as family satisfaction using both objective and subjective data. Improved memory by 25% was found in testing. This wonderfully exemplifies just how our resources have improved the lives of the many whom we serve. 

Examples of Program Success

Of the families we surveyed, 95% of families were searching for help and had little or no help in existing communities. Lower income families had less support and ability to purchase software and computer-learning aids. Recommendations from peers and word of mouth have proven to be a valuable way that many have found us. Parents felt they were not alone and found materials vital for their child’s success. Several at-risk youth with learning challenges are now college-bound for technical schools and have experienced less problems in their learning. 


Our Mission is to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of those faced with challenges by offering them a safe place out of doors and by providing them a nutrient-rich garden to cultivate and animals to steward.

Special needs children have a way of learning from the world around them that surpasses people’s expectations and remind us of the value in providing everyone with opportunities to learn. New experiences were offered to children over the summer on a donated farm site. Children thrived in the activities such as adopting their own animal, planting veggies, and eating fresh fruit. The children not only began eating healthier but were able to sell some produce to chefs to have their own spending money. Something as simple as petting a baby cow or picking a red, juicy strawberry made all the difference to the children and sparked a world of wonder in their eyes, reminding us of the difference that everyday makes. 

Program Budget $12,000.00
Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Sustainable Agriculture
Population Served Other Health/Disability, Children Only (5 - 14 years), People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Participants learn gardening skills and techniques for seed saving. This program ties in physical health and activity for all members while learning from nature in the outdoors. We have seen rises in participants by an increase of 90% in just several months.

Long-Term Success

Visual learners thrive with the hands-on nature learning in the garden. The children learn to select and hand pollinate corn as well as to use fish fertilizer and cover crops. The project offers community building skills, higher self-esteem and a sense of ownership and independence from growing healthy food. Families learn critical learning skills, love of gardening, and appreciation for the environment while cultivating their minds. All the monetary value of the program was given in-kind through goods and services by members of the community that allows for its long-term success.

Program Success Monitored By The program success is monitored by master gardeners as well as seed libraries on Indian Reservations. Feedback also comes from shelter counselors and other liaisons between homeless shelters and project coordinators. Noreen Thomas, board member for The Gifted Learning Project, is a master gardener and will monitor the project and completion of the Junior Master Gardening program. 
Examples of Program Success

The children with learning disabilities were able to complete their garden projects successfully. Children looked forward to gardening and shared some of the activities with the smaller children. The families were engaged and were able to use the garden as a science project as well as an opportunity to learn about the cultural value of the seeds. The kids would not have had this hands-on opportunity otherwise. This kind of exposure ignites the desire to learn. High attendance rates along with the increasing numbers of children attending with their parents indicated success. This project simply would not exist if the families did not see the value in doing this activity. This is a volunteer opportunity and skill building event. The participants are children from the homeless shelter. 

CEO Comments

The path ahead includes many creative projects that aim to enhance the lives of those with learning and cognitive disabilities. We hope to include another program within the following years as a long-term solution to living challenges for the disabled. By providing them job opportunities on farmland, they can be assured of stable work and a steady income, allowing for greater independence and self-reliance. As always, we continuously ask ourselves here at the Gifted Learning Project what we can do to make life better for those with learning challenges. 

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Girard John Sagmiller
Term Start Jan 1999
   Girard Sagmiller has over 35 years of business experience in fortune 500 businesses and in development of new technology. Sagmiller has a masters in business administration and technology from Baker's University. He is an executive communicator through his active involvement in the Gifted Learning Project's mission and works intensively to match the needs of the community with the resources available to make life more fulfilling for those with special needs. 
   Sagmiller was selected for the Family Fun Magazine Community Service award in 2006. In 2015, he received the Friend of 4H award and was nominated for the Human Rights award. Most recently, he was nominated for a state award for exceptional efforts and contributions in areas of diversity and inclusion.  
Paid Full-Time Staff 0
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 300
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other (Please Specify) Multiethnic - Asian and Native American: 3
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 4
Male 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
  • University of Missouri Kansas
  • Minnesota Extension Downs Guild (national state levels) 
  • Harvard Medical School
  • University of Minnesota Regional Partnership
  • Boy Scouts of America 
  • Churches United for the Homeless 
  • White Earth Reservation
  • Extension Service
  • Cornell University
  • Thrivent
  • 4-H Foundation
  • Lee Thomas Farm
  • The Downs Guild
  • National Downs Foundation
  • Kansas Arts Council
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Moorhead Community Education
  • Horizon School
  • Kauffman (use of buildings) 
  • FM Area Foundation
  • 1200 Public Libraries
  • Philanthropy and Youth Organization
  • Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
  • Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • Google
National Community Service AwardDisney2002
Friends of 4HUniversity of Minnesota Extension2018
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments
Services for disabilities are constantly shrinking due to deep funding cuts, yet the population with unique needs continues to grow. It is the mission of the Gifted Learning Project to share our innovative resources and fit in niches that do not exist or receive inadequate care in communities. Our unique initiatives are designed to support individuals with special needs and to improve their well-being. Our life-enriching programs work to provide interactive daily activities, opportunities for better health, and educational resources.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Girard Sagmiller
Company Affiliation Cedar Crest Financial
Board Members
Jef GrossCommunity Volunteer
Brita Rae MahrerRae Wallace
Mr. Girard John SagmillerCedar Crest Financial
Sherri SagmillerUp with Downs Support Group
Ms. Noreen Thomas M.S.Doubting Thomas Publishing
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 Multiethnic - Asian and Native American: 3
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 7
Board Term Limits 10
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
CEO Comments
The majority of our groundbreaking projects bloom from ideas of members in the community. Our board is included in those seeking positive change in the lives of those with special needs.
The deep-rooted work we do stems from generous members of the community supporting the pioneering ideas of their neighbors and friends. We have witnessed firsthand that the most vibrant ideas are those that originate from people who love and care deeply for their family members and friends with special needs. 
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $30,000
Projected Expenses $29,000
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990-EZ.  
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.  
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$9,004$24,456$15,607
Administration Expense$0$0$0
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.791.030.94
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$212$2,124$1,454
Current Assets$212$2,124$1,454
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$212$2,124$1,454
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments

We stretch every dollar donated. Past years, we received 25,000 dollars’ worth in donations of seed, plants, and volunteer time that is not reflected on the tax forms. The Farm-to-Learning project was beyond our expectations.

We further stretch donations by hosting interns to learn about nonprofit work. This has been a big boost to the Gifted Learning Project, and the interns have had amazing and "truly life-changing experiences." The interns are paid by a grant from a private foundation; none of our nonprofit staff are paid. The work is done by the visionary board and the amazing groups of business and community volunteers. It is the community that keeps us doing this meaningful work and challenges us as individuals and our nonprofit to grow.

Other Documents
picture of children in garden2018View
Organization Name The Gifted Learning Project
Address 10 E 135th St. #481551
Kansas City , MO 641481551
Primary Phone (816) 200-0457
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Girard John Sagmiller
Board Chair Mr. Girard John Sagmiller
Board Chair Company Affiliation Cedar Crest Financial
Year of Incorporation 1999