More than $12.5 Million Raised to Support National World War I Museum and Memorial’s 'Call to Duty' Centennial Capital Campaign

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Museum Announces “Call to Duty” National Honorary Campaign Chair: Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers; Gen. Myers to deliver Memorial Day keynote at Museum’s public ceremony at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30

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 is positioned to significantly expand its role as an international leader to forge a greater understanding surrounding conflict, peacemaking and the ongoing lessons of the Great War.

On Memorial Day, Kansas Citians will gather at the National World War I Museum and Memorial to honor the fallen — those who boldly responded to the call to duty to defend and protect liberty. To expand its capacity to honor their sacrifice, the Museum recently launched the “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign. The Museum is pleased to announce Kansas City’s philanthropic leaders have generously responded, contributing more than $12.5 million to support the “Call to Duty” campaign initiatives, including constructing a new exhibition gallery, renovating existing outdoor space and the J.C. Nichols Auditorium, expanding education and community programs, and increasing the Museum’s endowment.

“We are humbled by the tremendous generosity of the philanthropic community that will enable the National World War I Museum and Memorial to do more to remember those who served, and to expand our role as America’s leading institution dedicated to interpreting, understanding and remembering the Great War and its enduring impact,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National World War Museum and Memorial. “Because of their exceptional support, the Museum will break ground on a new gallery that will give us the capacity to bring special exhibitions to Kansas City that would otherwise not come here, with rare objects never seen before in the United States. The Museum will also be able to expand our educational and community programs while increasing our international footprint with digital educational programming and global partnerships.”

Gifts totaling more than $12.5 million to support the Museum’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign include:

  • David T. Beals, III Charitable Trust
  • Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation
  • Capital Federal Foundation
  • The DeBruce Foundation
  • Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation
  • Hall Family Foundation
  • The Illig Family Foundation
  • Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation
  • Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation
  • Sosland Foundation
  • Sunderland Foundation
  • Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Charitable Foundation

“Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign Leadership
The Museum is proud to announce the “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign’s National Honorary Chair: General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Myers, a retired four-star general in the United States Air Force, served as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2001-2005). As chairman, Gen. Myers was the highest-ranking uniformed officer of the United States' military forces. The Kansas City native is a 1965 graduate of Kansas State University. Since his retirement from the military, he has served as a professor of military history and leadership at Kansas State University, and in April, he was named interim president of Kansas State University.

Gen. Myers will be a featured speaker at the Public Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30, at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Museum also announced its slate of Kansas City corporate and civic individuals leading the Museum’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign:

Honorary Co-Chairs: Henry Bloch, William H. Dunn, Sr., Ollie Gates and Jeanette Nichols.
Campaign Co-Chairs: Thomas and Mary Beth Butch, Sandy and Christine Kemper

Cabinet Members:

  • Sandra Aust
  • Honorable Kay Barnes
  • Tom and Mary Bloch
  • Mary Shaw “Shawsie” Branton
  • Evelyn Craft Belger
  • Peter deSilva
  • John Dillingham
  • Terry and Peggy Dunn
  • Robb Heineman
  • Augie Huber
  • Mark Jorgenson
  • Stephen and Elaine Koch
  • Tim Kristl
  • Dick Mellinger
  • Amb. John Menzies
  • Keith and Margi Pence
  • Dick Rees
  • Bob and Ann Regnier
  • George Richter
  • Kent Sunderland
  • Rear Admiral (Ret.) Stanton Thompson
  • Frank and Evangeline Thompson
  • Joe Weinrich
  • Thomas VanDyke
  • Brian Williams

“The tremendous commitment of the Kansas City philanthropic community has been extraordinary,” said Thomas Butch, Museum Board of Trustees chair and “Call to Duty” campaign co-chair. “As we did in 1919, Kansas City will once again lead the nation in the sacred work of remembering and honoring those who served, through the expansion of our world-class Museum and its digital initiatives to reach millions around the globe.”

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

In addition to the new exhibition gallery, renovation of outdoor space and enhanced educational programming, the “Call to Duty” campaign will include:

  • Renovation of the Museum’s J.C. Nichols Auditorium, including new digital video and audio systems, a new cabling control system, carpentry, Wi-Fi and assisted listening devices
  • Five-year sponsorship of the Great War Great Film series
  • Unrestricted funds to support programs that enhance visitor engagement and satisfaction, efforts to attract and retain world-class staff, and support of multi-year initiatives

The Museum is preparing to lead the nation in the centennial commemoration of World War I when the focus of global attention turns to the U.S. engagement that started 100 years ago in 1917. “The Great War changed everything with more than 37 million casualties. It ushered in a century of profound social and economic change. The Museum tells this global story,” Naylor said. “The Museum is positioned to significantly expand its role as an international leader to forge a greater understanding surrounding conflict, peacemaking and the ongoing lessons of the Great War.”

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 education programs and opportunity funds
4. Increase the Museum’s endowment

“As we commemorate Memorial Day, we extend our gratitude to those who are extending the legacy of the fallen by strengthening the work of the Museum. We invite the community to join us in this important work,” Naylor said.

The public is welcome to make contributions to the Museum’s “Call to Duty” Centennial Capital Campaign by visiting 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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