The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
JL360 Members have been meeting with some of our Sustainers to help tell their stories and have them featured here. I’m thrilled to share with you this profile of Jan Rowe, a family friend, written by Emily Bell. It’s a fabulous look at a Sustainer who has given so much to our Junior League! Jan is on the left in the photo above, pictured with Christy LaHood and Robin Rowland.
Jan joined the JLKCMO upon a friend’s referral. She grew up in the KC area and after attending college at Mizzou and living there for six years, returned with her husband. Both were very involved in the community at the time, but Jan had never heard of the Junior League until her friend approached her. It was a Junior League match made in heaven!
My first question to Jan was how finance and fundraising helps support the League’s mission. Personally, I’ve always focused on the “volunteer” aspect of our mission, but Jan explained this really well. Finances, our fundraising and grants, and financial support all falls under our “improving communities through effective action.” The Finance council works to ensure all of the League’s councils set and stick to a budget.
Jan has a large respect for operations with strong financial management. During her time serving on the financial board and as VP of finance (we know these today as the Finance Council and Director of Finance), her most thrilling task was handling our Building Fund. During her first few years, Junior League’s headquarters were located near the Country Club Plaza. As the League grew, they needed more room and went into a contract with a real estate firm, which later would close prior to completing their contractual obligations. After five long years of legal battles, the Junior League received compensation from the case, which would be used to purchase and renovate our current headquarters.
Upon the completion of the new Headquarters, $1,000,000 remained. Coming from a stock background, Jan suggested investing the funds to ensure future funding would be available and thus the investment council was developed. Since Junior League did not have someone with investment experience, the council researched their options and concluded that a local investor would be valuable to the League. The problem was that most local investors saw $1 million to be a minuscule amount and turned the League down. The council would eventually come in connection with Mitchell Capital Management, who has continued to manage the Building Fund as well as the League’s Endowment Fund and, now, Legacy Fund. Through Jan’s interaction with Mitchell Capital Management, she came to learn and understand more about investing. Her role included presiding over regularly scheduled meetings regarding the fund to ensure the League’s needs were being met.
Here’s a summary of some of the funds Jan discussed:
What is the future of finance? Jan points to Sponsorships and the ability to grow. She also talks about the Legacy Fund and the potential for the League to invest in themselves. Unlike most organizations that first invest within themselves, the League initially invested in others (think the Endowment Fund). Through the Legacy Fund, the League will be able to invest in training to satisfy “the development of women” or multiple other ways to meet “development of community and voluntarism.”