The descendants of Martha Pearson Sunderland achieved great success in America. Their legacy created by the Sunderland Foundation which is a testament to their hard work and generosity. The future of Dockroyd Graveyard has been secured due to a generous donation from the Sunderland family.

Sunderland Bros – Omaha Nebraska 1917
A photograph of the Sunderland family business in 1917

The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as President of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years as a highly respected leader in the cement industry. Since its inception, the Foundation, which continues to be led by Lester T. Sunderland’s descendants, has focused on supporting construction projects, awarding grants to non-profits in the Kansas City region and other markets traditionally served by the Ash Grove Cement Company.  Grants are awarded in western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, western Iowa, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Montana. 

Photographs of Ash Grove cement.

The Sunderland Foundation prefers to make grants for construction and special interest projects rather than for annual operating expenses. Grants for planning, design, construction, renovation, repairs and restoration of facilities are considered. Areas of interest include higher education, youth serving agencies, health facilities, community buildings, museums, civic projects and energy efficient affordable housing projects.

Photographs of Lester T. Sunderland, Paul Sunderland and James P. Sunderland
Lester T. Sunderland              Paul Sunderland               James P. Sunderland

Philanthropists of the Year 2018   Four generations have led the Sunderland family’s charitable giving for the last 74 years. Focused on building the places where families in distress find help and healing, the Sunderland Foundation has grown into one of the region’s largest foundations. The family uniquely supports brick and mortar projects, recently including $75 million to build the Children’s Research Institute at Children’s Mercy, $66 million to build an inpatient care unit at The University of Kansas Health System, $4 million to expand the surgery suite and pharmacy at Olathe Medical Center, and $10 million to expand the NICU at Truman Medical Center. Their work strengthens the continuum of care in Kansas City and provides state-of-the-art facilities for people at all stages of life. Through bold capital funding, the Sunderland family is setting a new standard for philanthropy in Kansas City

A Photograph of Charles and Kent Sunderland
Charles and Kent Sunderland

“The company was at a peak value, new assets were coming back to the foundation, so that would be our full-time career: becoming philanthropists. And that’s what we’re doing now.” —Kent Sunderland

The Sunderland family ancestry

Following on from the story of Thomas and Sarah Sunderland on page 59 of Dockroyd Live we follow the trail of their youngest son James, born 16th December 1834 in Yorkshire. He died on 23rd April 1924 in Oakland, California. He married Mary Elizabeth Partridge and they had one son Lester Thomas Sunderland, born on 24th October 1867 in Vinton, Benton, Iowa. He became a Baptist minister in 1862, ordained at Strawberry Point, Clayton, Iowa.

Photographs of James and Mr and Mrs Lester Sunderland

Lester married Georgiana Patti Boulter on 15th April 1891 at Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska. Together they had three children Elmer James (1893-1981), Paul (1896-2004) and Allan Boulter (1901-1956

Photographs of Paul, his wife Avis and their son James Paul Sunderland
Paul, his wife Avis and their son James Paul Sunderland

Paul married Avis Marie Peters and together they had two sons Robert (1921-2014) and James Paul (1928-2015). Born in Springfield, Greene, Missouri he married on 15th August 1954. He is the father of Kent, Charles and William Sunderland.