Stowers Institute for Medical Research

  • Medicine & Health
  • 1994

Jim Stowers founded Twentieth Century Mutual Funds at his kitchen table in 1958. A low-cost investment vehicle for small investors, the company began with initial capital of $107,000. By the time its creator died in 2014, the firm (renamed American Century Investments) was managing $141 billion in assets. In 1994, Stowers and his wife, Virginia, gave away 95 percent of their fortune. Both being cancer survivors, and Jim having grown up as the son and grandson of doctors, they donated $2 billion to endow a new top-flight medical-research facility in their hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Experts pressed for the money to go to an existing organization, or at least one created in a major East- or West-Coast city, but the Stowers were determined to build something in their own region. The 550-employee institute focuses on basic science research, and has sparked growth of biological sciences of various sorts in Kansas and Missouri.

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