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William Volker's Legacy | Pandemic Retirement Plans

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Kansas City Museum (George Fuller Green Collection)
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William Volker made a fortune in the home furnishings business and gave generously, and anonymously, to Kansas Citians in need.

How William Volker's money laid the foundation for American conservatism and a look at the pandemic's impacts on retirement plans.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: Started in 1932 the William Volker Charities Fund focused on progressive social programs for the less fortunate in Kansas City but after his death was used to aggressively support a "procapitalist, pro-Christian, and anticommunist agenda."

The name Volker will soon be replaced by Dr. Martin Luther King on street signs in Kansas City. But few know the story of the man whose name adorned the boulevard for decades. William Volker’s life was more than an immigrant success story. Known for his charitable works, Volker’s money would go on after his death to fuel libertarian and conservative ideology well into the 1960s.

Segment 2, beginning at 29:00: How the pandemic is impacting retirement plans.

For some thinking about retirement in the past year, the pandemic was the sign that the time was right. For others, the coronavirus meant rethinking leaving the labor force. “There’s a lot of economic uncertainty out there because the pandemic is not over,” says David Jackson.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer at KCUR, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @_macmartin.