Billionaire philanthropist Jim Stowers dead at 90 - KCTV5 News

UPDATE

Billionaire philanthropist Jim Stowers dead at 90

Posted: Updated:
Jim Stowers Jr., the billionaire founder of one of the nation's leading investment management firms who gave away most of his fortune to fight disease, has died. He was 90. Jim Stowers Jr., the billionaire founder of one of the nation's leading investment management firms who gave away most of his fortune to fight disease, has died. He was 90.
KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -

Jim Stowers Jr., the billionaire founder of one of the nation's leading investment management firms who gave away most of his fortune to fight disease, has died. He was 90.

The Kansas City philanthropist, whose tenacity in business was just as fierce as in his fight for stem-cell research, died Monday after a period of declining health, according to a news release issued by his namesake research firm and the investment firm he founded, American Century Investments.

Stowers was a struggling mutual fund salesman in 1958 when he founded Twentieth Century Investors Inc. with only two mutual funds and $107,000 in assets. That company grew into American Century Investments, one of the nation's leading investment management firms that, as of 2013, was managing about $141 billion.

In 2000, Stowers and his wife, Virginia, who both successfully fought cancer, promised more than $1 billion of their fortune to create the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. The endowment eventually grew to $2 billion.

"I've always said that if I make other people successful, they'll make me successful," he told The Associated Press in 2009. "We wanted to give something that was more valuable than money to the millions of people who made our success possible."

The gleaming institute has attracted world-renowned researchers to Kansas City and prompted civic leaders in the region to enhance collaboration between area research groups, health care organizations, universities and business interests.

Stowers and his wife said they wanted the institute to focus on basic research into how genes work, to determine ways to alter genes to fight such ailments as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. But they faced skepticism from well-known U.S. research institutions about whether the Kansas City area could be a major player in biomedical research and life sciences.

By 2013, the institute had about 370 scientists, research associates, technicians and support staff.

"We were told that what we wanted to do couldn't be done here," Stowers told the AP in the 2009 interview. "We had a whole bunch of labs tell us that they could do a better job than us.

"You know, I had the same statements made to me when I started American Century. I just said, 'I can prove it, I can do this.'"

Stowers was born in Kansas City. He earned bachelor's degrees in art and medicine from the University of Missouri, and was an Air Force fighter pilot during World War II.

He and wife, Virginia, with whom he had four children, said they were motivated to help find cures by their bouts with cancer. Stowers was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1987, and his wife had surgery for breast cancer in 1993.

Stowers' efforts pushing stem-cell research sparked controversy in 2006, when state voters narrowly approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing that any federally allowed stem-cell research and treatment could occur in Missouri.

The Stowerses donated most of the $30 million spent by The Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, an organization formed to support the amendment, saying stem-cell research was important to the institute's efforts to fight disease.

The amendment was only narrowly approved, after a bitter political fight in which opponents claimed the use of embryonic stem cells for research required the destruction of a human embryo. Supporters contend the research does not end a life and had the potential to cure many debilitating diseases.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Moving nightmare: Kansas City family says movers stole all their belongings

    Moving nightmare: Kansas City family says movers stole all their belongings

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 10:50 PM EDT2018-05-24 02:50:13 GMT
    It can be a personal hell for many, but your average nightmare moving experience could be worse. Just ask the Keith family. (Submitted)It can be a personal hell for many, but your average nightmare moving experience could be worse. Just ask the Keith family. (Submitted)

    Never has anyone ever said moving is fun. It can be a personal hell for many, but your average nightmare moving experience could be worse. Just ask the Keith family. 

    More >

    Never has anyone ever said moving is fun. It can be a personal hell for many, but your average nightmare moving experience could be worse. Just ask the Keith family. 

    More >
  • 2 suspects charged with robbery that was caught on tape in Kansas City Apple Store

    2 suspects charged with robbery that was caught on tape in Kansas City Apple Store

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:39 PM EDT2018-05-24 01:39:49 GMT
    Submitted by Kansas City policeSubmitted by Kansas City police
    Submitted by Kansas City policeSubmitted by Kansas City police
    Charges have been filed against two suspects accused of grabbing thousands of dollars worth of electronics from the Apple Store on The Plaza.  Court records show Timothy O'Neal and DeVarrio O'Neal are suspected of stealing from Apple stores in six Texas cities and Apple stores in Mississippi and Arkansas, taking more than $300,000 worth of merchandise. They have been charged with robbery.  The robbery at the Apple Store's Plaza location was caught on camera and went viral...More >
    Charges have been filed against two suspects accused of grabbing thousands of dollars worth of electronics from the Apple Store on The Plaza.  Court records show Timothy O'Neal and DeVarrio O'Neal are suspected of stealing from Apple stores in six Texas cities and Apple stores in Mississippi and Arkansas, taking more than $300,000 worth of merchandise. They have been charged with robbery.  The robbery at the Apple Store's Plaza location was caught on camera and went viral...More >
  • Standoff in Overland Park ends with man's death

    Standoff in Overland Park ends with man's death

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 11:17 PM EDT2018-05-24 03:17:43 GMT
    (Submitted photo)(Submitted photo)
    (Submitted photo)(Submitted photo)

    The Johnson County Sheriff's Office said the man involved in the standoff Wednesday died from a self-inflicted wound.

    More >

    The Johnson County Sheriff's Office said the man involved in the standoff Wednesday died from a self-inflicted wound.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.