© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Stowers Institute And American Century Investments Founder Jim Stowers Dies At 90

Courtesy: Stowers Institute for Medical Research

James "Jim" Stowers, Jr., the founder of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, died Monday of natural causes according to a joint release from both institutions. He was 90.

Stowers started his investment career in a one-bedroom apartment in Kansas City in 1958. He was armed with $100,000 in seed money from 24 investors and offered two mutual funds for the firm known as Twentieth Century (later called American Century Investments.)  In reflecting on the origins of the company, Stowers wrote, "It was my belief that if we helped make people successful, they would in turn make us successful."

According to the release, American Century is now a global asset firm with  "assets under management ... (of) approximately $141 billion."

"Jim Stowers was a pioneer in the worlds of investment management and personal philanthropy," said Jonathan S. Thomas, president and CEO of American Century Investments, in the release. "He was an unpretentious man of great vision, an investment innovator with a driving passion for helping investors achieve financial success."

Credit Courtesy: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Courtesy: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Stowers Institute for Medical Research founders, Virginia and Jim Stowers, Jr.

A diagnosis of cancer for both Stowers and his wife, Virginia, led to the founding of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 1994; it opened its doors in 2000.

When asked about the decision to start the Institute, Stowers said, "My wife and I wanted to give back ... and we think through science is the best way we can do it."  The couple created a $2 billion endowment; this includes a more than 40 percent equity ownership stake in American Century Investments.  The profits fund research into genetically transmitted diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and dementia. 

Stowers is survived by his wife, Virginia, and their three adult children and families. Arrangements are pending. Instead of flowers, the family request donations to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.