Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill told the U.S. Senate on Wednesday that Ewing Marion Kauffman built an enduring legacy in Kansas City “that is deserving of all of our respect.”
A one-time Kansas City resident, McCaskill cited Kauffman’s work founding his pharmaceutical empire, bringing Major League baseball back to Kansas City and his philanthropic foundation that is remains a significant force.
“Mister Kauffman was a Kansas City and Missouri icon who lived a life that would make all Americans proud,” said McCaskill in remarks submitted to the Congressional Record on Kauffman’s birthday.
The Kansas City Royals won six division titles, two American League pennants and the 1985 World Series during his time as owner.
McCaskill’s remarks are below:
Mr. President, I ask the Senate to join me today in honoring the 100th birthday celebration of Ewing Kauffman. Mr. Kauffman was a Kansas City and Missouri icon who lived a life that would make all Americans proud. From founding a pharmaceutical empire, to bringing Major League Baseball back to Kansas City, to establishing a philanthropic foundation that continues to change lives to this day – Mr. Kauffman built a legacy that is deserving of all of our respect.
On June 1, 1950, Mr. Kauffman opened Marion Laboratories. Mr. K operated this company from the basement of his home and used his middle name as the company name so that people wouldn’t know they were dealing with a small, one man operation. As he built this humble company into an industry leader, he did so with two guiding philosophies: 1) Share the rewards with those who produce, and 2) Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Profit sharing wasn’t an industry practice at the time, but it was vital to the company’s success, and an example of Mr. Kauffman’s generosity. By the time the company was sold in 1989, it had provided jobs for 3,400 associates, showed a $227 million profit, and made 300 Marion Labs associates instant millionaires.
In 1968 Mr. Kauffman said, “Kansas City has been good to me, and I want to show I can return the favor.” It was that year that he, and Kansas City, were awarded a Major League Baseball expansion franchise – the Kansas City Royals were born. However, having a team was not enough for Mr. K; the team needed to win, and win a lot. During his time as owner, the Royals won six division titles, two American League pennants, and the 1985 World Series Championship. Yet even that was not enough for him to “return the favor” to Kansas City. Mr. Kauffman, worried that a new owner would move the franchise out of Kansas City upon his death, set up an imaginative strategy to ensure that didn’t happen. Namely, the profit of the sale by a new owner would have to go to local Kansas City charities – essentially ensuring the franchise would stay in Kansas City. Because of this forward thinking, I’m sure Mr. K was smiling down as approximately 800,000 Kansas Citians celebrated at the Royals 2015 World Series Championship Parade.
Even with all that he did during his life, his most lasting legacy will be establishing the foundation that bears his name and continues to effect change to this day – the Kauffman Foundation. Mr. Kauffman regarded his education and ability to be an entrepreneur to be pivotal in his life. For that reason the Kauffman Foundation focuses its grant making on those two areas, giving people the resources needed to be self-sufficient and make positive change in their community.
Reflecting on his philanthropy, Mr. Kauffman said, “All the money in the world cannot solve problems unless we work together. And, if we work together, there is no problem in the world that can stop us, as we seek to develop people to their highest and best potential.” Words that are as true today as they were during his life.
Mr. President, I ask that the Senate join me in honoring the 100th birthday celebration, and the life and achievement, of one of Kansas City and the state of Missouri’s finest citizens, Ewing Marion Kauffman.