Sporting KC and The Victory Project sponsor Parade of Hearts to celebrate community and inclusivity


Proud sponsors of this year’s Parade of Hearts, Sporting Kansas City and The Victory Project recently unveiled “A Part of the Heart” by KC native Jake Jacobs at Children’s Mercy Park.

Located at the corner of Sporting Way and Village West Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, the heart design celebrates the importance of inclusion and the ongoing acceptance, services and supports that the entire KC area offers to people with developmental disabilities.

“KC is truly a leader in this field,” Jacobs said. “What makes a community outstanding is the people that live there and how they treat one another and how they support one another. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to put a focus on people with developmental disabilities and how great the community is of Kansas Citians supporting them.”

Launched more than a decade ago by Sporting Kansas City, The Victory Project empowers children in the region through philanthropic initiatives supporting childhood cancer and access to soccer. As part of the foundation’s Soccer for All Kids pillar, The Victory Project partners with numerous local organizations including Midwest Adaptive Sports, Shadow Buddies, Special Olympics, The Whole Person and Variety KC.

The Victory Project donated funds to the Kansas State School for the Blind for the installation of a new blind soccer pitch last month and unveiled an inclusive field for soccer teams competing in power wheelchairs last year at Central Bank Sporting Complex. This year, The Victory Project will host the foundation’s two flagship fundraising events with the Kicks N Fits Victory Gala at Children’s Mercy Park on August 9 and the Sporting Invitational charity golf tournament at Loch Lloyd Country Club on October 14.

Parade of Hearts is a unique public art experience that celebrates diversity, unites communities and supports nonprofits by placing more than 100 beautifully designed hearts by local artists throughout the Kansas City region to showcase America’s heartland. The five-foot heart sculptures will be displayed until mid-August before being auctioned to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations.

“I did put a couple Easter eggs,” Jacobs said of the design, which was ranked in KC Parent’s Five Favorite KC Hearts. “On the KC side, I’ve got a young man in a wheelchair and he is holding up the American Sign Language for KC. On the flip side, I have a portrait of a girl with Down Syndrome and the background is the Paralympics flag which is gold, silver and bronze. A lot of people with developmental disabilities really love sports and really get into Special Olympics and Paralympics.”

Sporting Kansas City recently hosted a Special Olympics Signing Day at Compass Minerals National Performance Center, welcoming area athletes to sign contracts, receive personalized jerseys and participate in a professional photo shoot. Sporting KC and Minnesota United FC have teamed up for a pair of Unified Sports exchange games this season with the first at Allianz Field after MINvSKC on June 1 and the rematch taking place as part of a doubleheader at Children’s Mercy Park on September 21.