Almost immediately after kicking off its “Wish Upon a Fountain” campaign to raise private dollars to help restore and upgrade many of Kansas City’s iconic water features, the City of Fountains Foundation received $133,500 to help refurbish the Eagle Scout Fountain at 39th Street and Gillham Rd.
The public fundraising campaign was announced at KC’s Festival of Fountains on June 9.
The Martha Jane Phillips Starr Donor Advised Fund quickly provided the grant to pay for a new pump and electrical transformer, upgraded lighting, cleaning and other site work at the landmark fountain dedicated to the values and achievements of the nation’s Eagle Scouts.
The Wish Upon a Fountain Campaign is seeking donations for, and sponsorships of some of the 48 fountains maintained by Kansas City, Missouri’s Parks and Recreation Department. Parks officials estimate that more than half of the 48 fountains have parts and repair needs that far exceed the department’s annual maintenance budget, and that eight of the city’s landmark fountains are in critical condition, requiring major repairs that will cost an estimated $2.6 million.
“We have been amazed by the immediate and positive feedback we’ve received from foundations and businesses,” said City of Fountains Foundation President, Casey Cassias. “We all love our fountains; they are a city’s signature part of our identity as a city, and everyone seems anxious to help.”
Cassias said foundation board members are currently calling on local business and other philanthropic organizations and asking for their help. The Wish upon a Fountain Campaign has established a host of sponsorship levels and benefits, and hopes gain $2.6 million in contributions and pledges over the next year.
The Eagle Scout Fountain supported by the Starr Fund has a fascinating history. Dedicated in 1968, the fountain was constructed around a large wreath bordered on both sides by a woman and an eagle. The women represent night and day.
The 22-foot high limestone sculpture was stood over the Seventh Street entrance to the old Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City – once billed as “the largest structure in the world devoted solely to the use and convenience of Railroad passenger” – from 1910 until the famous station closed in 1963.
Kansas City businessman and national Boy Scout executive John W. “Twink” Starr arranged through a friend at the Pennsylvania Railroad to have the sculpture brought to Kansas City when the old depot in New York was demolished.
A large clock that filled the sculpted wreath when it greeted travelers to the old Penn Station was replaced with an enlarged Boy Scout Eagle Badge. Eagle Badges were first awarded in 1912 to Scouts of the highest achievement. The badge features a silver eagle suspended from a red, white and blue scroll. A knot hangs from the scroll, signifying the Scout slogan: “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Kansas City architect Maurice McMullen designed the setting for the historic sculpture, and included a fountain pool and two spiral stairways to complete the memorial. Starr, with his wife, Martha Jane Phillips Starr, and other supporters of the Boy Scouts provided the funds to construct the Eagle Scout Fountain. Hoffman Cortez Construction completed the work in 1968.
For more information about the City of Fountains Foundation’s Wish Upon a Fountain Campaign, go to kcfountains.org. To schedule a sponsorship presentation to your company or organization call 816-842-2299