You have to know where you’ve been to know where you are going. Kappa holds a special place in its heart for Fraternity history, but every association of our organization has unique beginnings of its own. Each plays a part in shaping us today and continuing the Kappa tradition beyond college.
Here is a brief history of the Kansas City Kappas…..
Records show that the first Alumnae get-together was at the Midland Hotel on Thanksgiving Day 1899. The MU-KU football game was played in Kansas City and the hotel served as headquarters for both teams. Actives and alums from Theta and Omega chapters were there cheering for their teams. An informal business meeting was held and Maude Springer Brown (Omega) was elected president. One surprise guest was Kansas City resident Martha Louisa (Lou) Stevenson Miller, one of the Fraternity’s six original founders. She attended subsequent Thanksgiving banquets and became an active member of the Association.
Our charter dates to the first official meeting, held at the home of Mrs. T.S. Ridge on April 19th, 1900, with 13 Kappas present. At that meeting, a short constitution (seven articles) was adopted. It is noted that when extra funds were needed, each member was assessed five cents per meeting whether present or not! In 1900, there were 27 active chapters and 11 alumnae associations.
As the Association grew, they questioned: “What can we do that is worthwhile to make Kappa felt in the community?” Their first philanthropic effort was providing clothing for a Central High School girl going to college in 1922. Members met to put together a wardrobe for her from clothes donated by Kappas. One girl was their charge for 2 ½ years. She was provided clothing and $5 a week for living expenses. From that auspicious beginning, starting in 1930, the Association branched out in the following ways:
- Supported the DeLano School for Crippled Children, many who were victims of the polio epidemic. Cleared $225 at a “Sky High Bridge Party” which promised guests they would “see and hear that new scientific marvel: television”!
- As reported in The Key magazine, decorated the powder room at the S.S. Waves, a club for the use of WAVES, Marines and SPARS during World War II at 1006 Baltimore. They used Elizabeth Arden’s colors of pink and turquoise.
- Started the Holiday House tour in 1952, the idea brought back from Convention. Proceeds benefited the Pre-school for the Deaf at the University of Kansas, which remained the sole beneficiary for many years. Kappas made all the decorations and the original cost of a ticket was one dollar. Tickets are now $25 each and December 2016 will mark our 65th ("Sapphire" anniversary) consecutive event.
- Began annually supporting the Fraternity’s philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. Alumnae visit a local childcare center to participate in activities with the children, provide a snack, and bring them all copies of a book read aloud to keep.
- Launched our first Girls Academy effort in 2016 with Omega Chapter (University of Kansas).
The Kansas City Kappas were proud to be recognized at the 2012 Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention as the first Association to achieve lifetime giving of more than $500,000 to the Foundation. As of March 2016, that amount now totals $581,533. In just the past 10 years alone, our gifts to the Foundation have made 51 Kappa scholarships possible and have also supported Rose McGill, Leadership Academy, Educational Programming and the Museums. In total, over $2 million have been given to local not-for-profits and to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
Locally, the Kansas City Kappa Alumnae Association has provided leadership at all levels of the Fraternity and the city. It also served as the host Association for the 2004 Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention.
The Kansas City Alumnae Association's best and brightest days are yet to come. We hope you will join us in making an impact on the lives of our Kappa sisters and on our greater Kansas City community!