KC Philanthropic Leaders Heed the “Call to Duty” Raising More than $5 Million to Construct New Exhibition Gallery at the National World War I Museum and Memorial

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Lead gifts to the Museum’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign will also support renovation of outdoor gathering space

Kansas City’s philanthropic community has generously responded to the National World War I Museum and Memorial’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign.

We are grateful to Kansas City’s generous philanthropic community who have taken the lead to invest in the expansion of the National World War I Museum and Memorial and its important mission to honor those whose lives were sacrificed in the Great War.

Kansas City’s philanthropic community has generously responded to the National World War I Museum and Memorial’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign. Collectively, they have raised more than $5 million to enable construction of a new exhibition gallery at the Museum and renovation of existing outdoor space, as well as amenities to enhance the visitor experience as a venue for community and corporate events. Lead gifts dedicated to construction of the new exhibition gallery and outdoor space renovation are from the following:

  •     Hall Family Foundation
  •     Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation
  •     Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation
  •     Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation
  •     Sunderland Foundation
  •     Sosland Family Foundation

“We are grateful to Kansas City’s generous philanthropic community who have taken the lead to respond to the invitation to invest in the expansion of the National World War I Museum and Memorial and its important mission to honor those whose lives were sacrificed in the Great War,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National World War Museum and Memorial. “Their support enables the Museum to expand our role as America’s leading institution dedicated to interpreting, understanding and remembering the Great War and its enduring impact.

“Now is a perfect moment to leverage the opportunities arising from the central role the Museum and Memorial is playing in the global centennial commemoration of World War I,” said Naylor. “This support will further put Kansas City on the international map, and draw attention to the spirit of the people who created one of the world’s great museums and memorials.”

The new exhibition gallery and outdoor gathering space will enable the Museum to expand natural partnerships with institutions such as the Imperial War Museums in London, the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C., and other museums, governments and academic institutions around the world.

The new state-of-the-art gallery will not only enable the Museum to bring internationally traveling exhibitions to Kansas City — and to the United States in some instances — but also to present and curate a wealth of objects and documents from the Museum’s vast collection, less than 10 percent of which is on exhibition at any time. The Museum was built in 2006 with future expansion in mind, including the addition of 4,000 square feet of available space. The capital campaign funds will enable construction of essential museum-quality exhibition amenities, including monitored temperature and air quality, special lighting, advanced security and display furnishings. In addition, the funds will enable upgrades to the Museum grounds, including an enhanced outdoor gathering space for community and corporate events, with landscaping enhancements and provisions for outdoor event lighting, water and electricity.

Lead gifts to the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign to support the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and outdoor space include:

Hall Family Foundation ($2.1 million)
The Hall Family Foundation’s lead gift of $2.1 million is the largest gift to date for the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign. The Foundation has had a long history with the Museum, including Hallmark’s production of postcards in the 1920’s featuring the Liberty Memorial. Keith Pence, husband of Margi Pence and son-in-law of Don Hall, is serving on the Call to Duty Campaign Cabinet.

Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation ($1 million)
The Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation’s lead gift of $1 million to the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign will support the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and renovated outdoor space. The Kemper family has long been involved with the Museum. William T. Kemper was a key community leader who led efforts after World War I to raise money for making the Liberty Memorial a reality as one of the original members of the Board of Trustees. Crosby Kemper, Jr. was a critical voice in the restoration of Liberty Memorial in the late 1990’s, while Sandy and Christine Kemper, Call to Duty Campaign Co-Chairs, have provided invaluable support in guiding the campaign and contributing to its success.

Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation ($1 million)
The Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation’s lead gift of $1 million to the Call to Duty centennial Capital Campaign will support construction of the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and renovated outdoor space. The Wylie Foundation was created by Jack and Glenna Wylie, dedicating wealth they had created to advance educational, healthcare and youth development, among other interests that they developed in their lives. Since their passing, their Foundation continues their legacy of giving. This gift has been facilitated by trustees, and long-time Wylie friends, Tom McDonnell and Brad Bergman.

Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation ($500,000)
The Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation’s lead gift of $500,000 to the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign will support construction of the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and renovated outdoor space. Henry Bloch, a World War II veteran, serves as one of the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign’s Honorary Chairs, and is a Museum Board of Trustees Emeriti. Bloch is serving as one of the four Honorary Chairs for the Call to Duty Campaign, along with Bill Dunn, Sr., Jeannette Nichols and Ollie Gates. Tom, Henry’s son, and Mary are serving on the Campaign Cabinet.

The Sunderland Foundation ($500,000)
The Sunderland Foundation’s lead gift of $500,000 to the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign will support construction of the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and renovated outdoor space. Kent Sunderland, foundation president, serves on the Museum’s Board of Trustees and is a Call to Duty Centennial Campaign Cabinet Member. The Museum’s iconic Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge is named after Kent’s grandfather, Missouri’s last World War I veteran, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 107.

The Sosland Foundation ($250,000)
The Sosland Foundation’s major gift of $250,000 to the Call to Duty Centennial Capital Campaign will support construction of the Museum’s new exhibition gallery and renovated outdoor space. Morton and Neil Sosland’s father and several uncles served in the World War I. Sosland family veterans have been recognized in memorial bricks on the Museum’s Walk of Honor.

The Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) also awarded the Museum $1.8 million in tax credits to support the project.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign was launched in 2014 to raise funds to meet four primary goals:
1.    Construction of a new exhibition gallery
2.    Renovation of outdoor gathering space
3.    Support of program and opportunity funds
4.    Increase the Museum’s endowment

The National World War I Museum and Memorial’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign continues with future funder announcements expected by Memorial Day. The general public is also welcome to make contributions to the campaign at theworldwar.org.

About the National World War I Museum and Memorial
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National World War I Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.

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