Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) June 01, 2011
Jim Stowers Jr., founder of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of its “Biggest Givers” – those who have donated at least $1 billion each to charities or foundations.
This year, Forbes highlighted 19 people worldwide, five more than were listed two years ago. Thirteen of these philanthropists are from the United States, with Stowers listed as the ninth-biggest giver in the world.
Stowers joins the company of other notable philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and others. (Full list included below.)
Forbes noted that, “Stowers is probably the least known of that bunch but in percentage terms is the most generous. The mutual fund tycoon, who has not been a member of the Forbes 400 since 2000, has given away roughly 95 percent of his fortune to endow the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, which performs genetic research targeted at advancing the understanding of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.”
A lifelong Missouri resident, Stowers spent his formative years immersed in the Midwestern values and culture that would later serve him well in his various professional and philanthropic pursuits.
Stowers initially considered a career as a doctor. But after completing three years of course work, Stowers put his medical career on hold and set his sights on the business world. After a stint selling mutual funds for Kansas-based Waddell & Reed, he founded a term-life insurance firm – J.E. Stowers and Company – and in 1958, the money management firm Twentieth Century, which later became American Century Investments.
Just as Stowers was beginning to enjoy the fruits of his many years of hard work, his family was confronted with the first in a series of battles with cancer. Jim was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 1986 and his wife, Virginia, had surgery for breast cancer in 1993. Their middle daughter, Kathleen, struggles with cancer today.
Motivated by their own experience with the disease and a desire to give something back to the community that nurtured American Century into a successful enterprise, Jim and Virginia Stowers founded the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 1994. Endowed with gifts from Jim and Virginia Stowers totaling almost $2 billion, the endowment resides in a large cash reserve and in substantial ownership of American Century Investments.
Today, more than 100 post-doctoral research associates and graduate students use the Institute’s laboratories to conduct basic research on the fundamental processes of cellular life. Through its commitment to collaborative research and the use of cutting-edge technology, the Institute seeks more effective means of preventing, treating and curing disease.
In describing his reason for creating the Institute, Stowers said, “Virginia and I wanted to give back something vastly more valuable than money to the countless people who have made our lives so meaningful. It’s our greatest hope that we can return the gifts we have received though an environment of unparalleled scientific research, creating hope for life for generations hence.”
About the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
The Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, basic biomedical research organization dedicated to improving human health by studying the fundamental processes of life. Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife Virginia opened the Institute in 2000. Since then, the Institute has spent over a half billion dollars in pursuit of its mission.
Currently the Institute is home to nearly 500 researchers and support personnel; over 20 independent research programs; and more than a dozen technology development and core facilities. Learn more about the Institute at http://www.stowers.org. Learn more about American Century Investments at http://www.americancentury.com.
The World’s Biggest Givers
1. Bill Gates, United States
2. Warren Buffett, United States
3. George Soros, United States
4. Gordon Moore, United States
5. Carlos Slim Hebu, Mexico
6. George Kaiser, United States
7. Eli Broad, United States
8. Azim Premji, India
9. James Stowers, Jr., United States
10. Michael Bloomberg, United States
11. Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong
12. Herbert and Marion Sandler, United States
13. Dietmar Hopp, Germany
14. Michael Dell, United States
15. John Huntsman, United States
16. Ted Turner, United States
17. Klaus Tschira, Germany
18. Paul Allen, United States
19. Stephen Schmidheiny, Switzerland