Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ewing Marion Kauffman: From Entrepreneurship to All-Star Baseball

When many of us think of Kauffman, we imagine the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, a center for entrepreneurship, innovation, education and research.

Others think of the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, an architectural gem that has forever changed the Kansas City skyline.

But sports fans out there may not think of the Kauffman Foundation nor the Performing Arts Center. Instead, they think of the iconic Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals.

But this summer, Kauffman Stadium is more than just Kansas City's beloved baseball diamond.  It's also the home of the 2012 All-Star Game.  The stadium has not hosted an All-Star Game since January 24, 1973, the first year the stadium was opened.  So how did Kauffman Stadium come so far?

First and foremost, it was the work of Ewing Marion Kauffman himself.

Kauffman was first, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur; second, a philanthropist; and third, a Major League Baseball owner.  As an entrepreneur, Kauffman was able to establish the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in the mid-1960s, where he wanted to implement innovative, life-changing educational opportunities for young people.  Today, the Kauffman Foundation excels in advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth.

But with his innovative mind, Kauffman also had the desire to see Kansas City, as a whole, succeed.  With this idea, Kauffman established the Kansas City Royals and brought major league baseball back to Kansas City.  The most innovative contribution that Kauffman may have provided for the Royals, however, was the initiative to build a unique stadium.  In 1973, Kauffman helped to open the Royals Stadium as a part of the Harry Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City.  The stadium was aesthetically pleasing with water fountains beyond the outfield fence and a 10-story high scoreboard shaped like the Royals crest.  After Kauffman's passing in 1993, the facility was officially renamed Kauffman Stadium and is the only stadium in the American League named in honor of a person.

Entrepreneurship, philanthropy and baseball: three movements that Ewing Marion Kauffman represented each and every day.  If Kauffman were to look down on Kansas City today, what would he see?  We think he would see a city aiming to become America's Most Entrepreneurial City.  We think he would see a city representing American baseball by hosting the All-Star Game.  And we think he would see dedicated, passionate and collaborative community members who have made it all possible.

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