Dr. Linda Hood Talbott

Kansas City educator, philanthropist, researcher, humanitarian, entrepreneur

Dr. Linda Hood Talbott, a resident at Bishop Spencer Place, was born during the London Blitz in 1940 and died during the pandemic on December 24, 2020 at age 79. Born in Kansas City, MO, she was the only child of the late Henry H. and Helen Hamrick Hood. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 46 years, Thomas H. Talbott.

Warm and winsome, Linda had a keen intellect and deep compassion that were disciplined for action and familiar with self-sacrifice Linda made her mark locally, nationally, and internationally as an educator, philanthropist, researcher, humanitarian, and entrepreneur.

With an enduring passion for education, she established six different scholarships for 93 talented students seeking to study at UMKC, her alma mater. Linda earned three degrees there, including a doctorate in Higher Education Administration. Through the scholarships Linda and Tom funded, 93 students at UMKC got a chance to be their best and become their best. Those 93 Talbott scholars today are in positions of leadership around the world. Linda and Tom live on!

Aware of the struggle faced by so many women, Linda was especially concerned to help them develop their gifts. In Kansas City she was active in the formation of the Women’s Foundation, the Women’s Employment Network, and the Central Exchange. They worked for the advancement of women AND GIRLS because of Linda.

In 1973, Dr. Talbott founded the Center for Philanthropic Leadership, and began a successful effort to help grant seekers connect with grant makers. During the next 18 years she was a pioneer in philanthropy in the areas of research, trend analysis and communications. Her work highlighted Kansas City’s outstanding grassroots giving. One of her most cherished projects in Kansas City was helping to create the public-private partnership that built UMKC’s renowned performing arts center.

Dr. Talbott created the nation’s first community philanthropic information system based on Kansas City’s giving by foundations and businesses. The computerized model was replicated across the nation and grew to include local-national partnerships to help underserved youth and the elderly.

When Dr. Talbott’s efforts came to the attention of Presidents Reagan, Carter, and Clinton the doors were flung open for her to share her work globally. She was featured on forums in Oxford, England, in Moscow, and in Beijing where she was on the platform with Hillary Clinton.

Linda was particularly proud of one of her students who became a national leader in Nigeria and who was instrumental in naming the Talbott Institute for Girls in Science after her. In Nigeria as well as in the United States girls often do not get enough science before college to have majors in science and careers in science. Linda was thrilled to see her name attached to early opportunities for girls to excel in science and to become leaders in science.

In her lifetime Linda won many awards for community service which culminated in 2019 when she was welcomed into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. There she stands with an elite powerhouse of Kansas City women leaders. In her video interview for that award, she said that she was proudest in her lifetime to have been able to offer UMKC scholarships “to empower so many people to do marvelous things.

Hopefully, those 93 Talbott Scholars will be followed to show the exponential effect of such scholarships and inspire others to follow Linda’s example in giving. Linda’s integrity was evident in her not only raising millions of dollars and leading philanthropy professionals but also in being an example of generous giving.

In her memory, gifts may be made to “The Linda Hood Talbott Scholarship for Urban Education” by writing a check to “UMKC Foundation” with “LHT Scholarship/Urban Edu” on the memo line. Mail to UMKC Foundation, 5115 Oak St,, Suite 202 Administration Center, Kansas City, MO 64112. To give online, visit www.umkcfoundation.org.

Dr. Linda Talbott is survived by a cousin, Betty Hanigan and her husband Jim of Pittsburgh, PA and by many members of her husband Tom’s Talbott – Wiedenmann family. She was a member of Second Presbyterian Church. Her influence and friendship live in a multitude of institutions and friends all over the world. If only they could gather to honor and remember her now!

Special thanks are offered to Becky Hutton-Garcia, Jennifer Ingraham, Mary Margaret Lillis, Ann Hyde, Peter Jouras, the wonderful staff and residents of Bishop Spencer Place, and to the excellent Crossroads Hospice team.

Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced later.


  1. Sandra Doolin Mellinger on February 11, 2021 at 11:40 am

    It’s a sad day to read of the loss of such an inspiring woman leader in KC. It was a privilege to have known her. Women and girls are the true beneficiaries of her tireless work. Blessings to her family and close friends.

  2. Sherry Turner on February 11, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Linda’s devotion to the Women’s Employment Network over decades exemplifies her commitment to women in our community. A truly dedicated lovely person. Always available to weigh in on community initiatives impacting women. She will be missed by this community. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

  3. Shelly D on February 11, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to such an accomplished educator, philanthropist and activist. Linda will be missed greatly. She was one-of-a-kind. Our world could use more people like her.

  4. Lajuana C on February 12, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Dr. Talbott was a tremendous leader, mentor, philanthropist, and visionary who touched the lives of us all. She will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends, and all those who loved her dearly.

  5. Denise Kruse on February 19, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Linda was a gracious, wise, generous example of how to get results with a smile, and a firm resolve to blaze trails. She did so much for so many in Kansas City. I had the pleasure of seeing her passions at work at both The Central Exchange and UMKC, as well as countless philanthropic endeavors. She will be missed. She made it possible for many of us women to stand on her shoulders.

  6. Bob Mayer on March 11, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I am just now learning and reading about the passing of Dr Linda Talbott. She was a game changer for me and so many others
    in Kansas City and nationally. She knew nonprofits and philanthropy backwards and forward, and was always ready to give
    advice and counsel.
    She inspired many women , but want you to know she also inspired me and many men. In many of my nonprofit endeavors,
    Linda made herself available for advice and counsel.
    I am saddened by her passing , and Kansas City and the world are lesser because of it.

  7. Evie Craig on March 12, 2021 at 12:08 am

    I am shocked and saddened to learn of this loss to our community

  8. M.L. Bass on September 14, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    I am looking at a research folder 1987 that includes information that Dr. Talbot was gracious enough to share with me about possible funding sources for a project I wanted to develop. I just looked her up and learned of her passing. I’m sad that our community and the world lost such a wonderful woman.

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