Preserving the past, inspiring the future: Leadership Missouri alumni donate $72,300 for Governor’s Mansion restoration

The Governor’s Mansion, Missouri’s front door, stands as an icon of our state’s rich history — and its bright future. It’s critical that Missouri makes a strong first impression with its visitors, and the condition of the mansion plays an important role in that.

“Each year, more than 60,000 people visit the mansion. Dozens of events are held here. Leaders from around the world come here to discuss opportunities for our state,” said Rebecca Gordon, the executive director of Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. “We need to put our best foot forward.”

Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion is the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Missouri’s first family and the state to steward the home and its historical collections. The mansion, built in Renaissance Revival architectural style, was completed in 1871. Gordon said the mansion has long needed critical maintenance work on features such as visibly damaged crown molding and aging historic light fixtures.

“Walls are cracking, and we have furniture pieces in desperate need of restoration. Our accessibility is limited. Much of the carpeting has been worn down by hundreds of daily visitors,” said Gordon.

When her organization shared these concerns with the Leadership Missouri Alumni Association, members immediately stepped up to help. Leadership Missouri, offered by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the state’s premier leadership development experience. It guides Missouri’s emerging leaders through a seven-month tour of communities and businesses across the state. Hundreds of Missourians have graduated from the program since it was founded in 1990.

For years, Leadership Missouri has enjoyed the tradition of holding its annual class kickoff reception at the Governor’s Mansion. So the alumni association decided it was time to give back. It began spearheading an effort to fundraise for mansion repairs, launching the campaign at the 2018 class reception.

Because of the generosity of the Leadership Missouri alumni and their employers over the following year, the campaign surpassed its original goal — raising a sum of $72,300, which was donated on Dec. 7 to Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion for restoration work. That total included a matching donation from the alumni association. The alumni presented the check at the 2019 Leadership Missouri class reception on April 11.

“Leadership Missouri shares a long history with the Missouri Governor’s Mansion, and we are excited to help play a leading role in the efforts to restore this home,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We greatly appreciate the generous donations made by our Leadership Missouri alumni across the state. We were proud to be a part of this collaborative effort.”

The fundraising effort continues at — visit the site to learn more and donate to help preserve the mansion’s legacy and restore its historical treasures for generations to come.

L-R: Missouri Dept. of Economic Development Director & Leadership Missouri Alumni Association Chairman Rob Dixon, Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion Executive Director Rebecca Gordon, Missouri Chamber President & CEO Dan Mehan, Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion Treasurer Melanie Musick-Foley. April 11, 2019.

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