William T. Kemper, Sr.
The Kemper Family has long been supportive of the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Museum’s digitization project, an extraordinary undertaking to memorialize and share historical content, would not be where it is today without the support of the William T. Kemper Foundation. Additionally, the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation has provided a lead gift to the Call to Duty capital campaign that will support the construction of the Wylie Gallery, the Museum’s new special exhibition gallery that will open in 2018. The family’s involvement with the institution dates back to its beginning.
R. Crosby Kemper, Sr. and James Kemper, Sr. served in World War I after the fighting had ceased. After the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, their father, William T. Kemper, Sr., met with R.A. Long and other civic leaders to form the Liberty Memorial Association. William T. Kemper, Sr. also served on the original board of Trustees.
Additionally, Crosby Kemper, Sr. and James Kemper, Sr. provided the funding through the William T. Kemper Foundation to honor their uncle, William T. Kemper, Jr., for the theater that shows the Museum’s introductory film. Furthermore, Crosby Kemper Jr. and his family, including his sister’s family through the Tom and Sally Wood Foundation, are also donors to the Museum.
The questions below were answered by Jan Leonard, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Charitable Trusts, Private Foundations and Fine Art Services, at UMB Bank, where several Kemper Trusts and Foundations are managed.
How does supporting the Museum further the mission and funding goals of the Foundations?
For several generations, a goal of the Kemper Family Foundations has been to support world-class institutions involved in the arts, education, and historic preservation. Our ongoing support is in recognition of the importance of this valuable asset to our community and our nation.
What do the foundations hope to achieve with financial support of the Museum?
We believe in long term preservation, organizational sustainability, and hope that as the Museum continues to grow and expand that it attracts visitors to view the collection and learn lessons from our past.
How would the foundations' leaders describe the importance of the Museum to Kansas City and beyond?
The Museum is considered “the” leading museum on World War I in the country and beyond. The rich legacy that this creates, allows for future generations to understand the global importance of the first World War and the many lessons our nation, and the world learned during this truly life altering time.
From the perspective of the foundations, what is the future role of the Museum and how should it evolve?
When the world wants to know about the First World War, there’s only one truly comprehensive place to go, and that’s our Museum, here in Kansas City. We hope the Museum will continue to serve as a unifying organization as others either look back in time to learn from history, or forward to set the stage for conversations about war and its impact on our society and the world.