KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2020) – The Board of Directors of the Hall Family Foundation today announced the appointment of Mayra Aguirre as the Foundation’s new president. She will assume the full-time duties of her new position on September 22, at the conclusion of her maternity leave.
For the past four years, Aguirre has served as the Foundation’s vice president and secretary. Bill Hall is retiring this September, following 38 years as the Foundation’s president and assistant to the Chairman of Hallmark Cards. The Board conducted a nationwide search for his successor.
“Mayra’s deep-seated passion for truly making a difference in Kansas City, and her ability to collaborate so effectively with others will make her a great addition to the civic community,” said Donald J. Hall, Jr., executive chairman of Hallmark Cards and Foundation vice chair. “Mayra understands the values and mission of the Foundation, and possesses the vision and dedication needed to build on the Foundation’s legacy.”
“When one retires from a position in which they have been invested for so long, you want to know it is in good hands,” said Bill Hall. “I am confident that with Mayra’s leadership, the Foundation will continue to enhance human life in Greater Kansas City. I am immensely confident she will carry out her work with humility and respect for our philanthropic partners.”
Aguirre: Deep Compassion and Commitment to Foundation Mission
Prior to joining the Hall Family Foundation, Aguirre was a senior program officer at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund and a coordinator at Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)’s Metropolitan Council on Early Learning. She has dedicated her career to working with members of the community, finding solutions to the difficult challenges they face.
As Aguirre assumes leadership of the Foundation, she says she sees herself as a servant leader, much as Hallmark Cards Founder J.C. Hall was. She plans to be deeply engaged in the Kansas City community to reinforce the passionate, community-based values of the Foundation, and to build on the Foundation’s rich legacy.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to succeed Bill Hall as president of the Hall Family Foundation,” said Aguirre. “I have had the great privilege to work alongside Bill for the last four years. Under his leadership, I witnessed firsthand his commitment to the donor intent of this Foundation, to improve the quality of life of Kansas Citians, and to the nonprofit organizations doing the work. As I assume this role,” she continued, “I look forward to continuing our deep engagement in the community. This is more than a job,” Aguirre said. “It’s really a calling.”
A native of Emporia, Kan., Aguirre was the first person in her family to graduate from college; she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Emporia State University. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from The University of Kansas School of Law. Aguirre serves on The University of Kansas Advancement Board, and on the boards of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund, Ewing Marion Kauffman Charter School, and UnidosUS.
Aguirre says she has a strong desire to lead change in a way that recognizes, appreciates, and listens to the voices of those individuals most connected to the community’s challenges.
“Early in my career, I recognized the roles, large and small, that philanthropy played in supporting my dreams,” said Aguirre. “In small ways, individuals took time to mentor and support me. In big ways, institutions educated me and advanced my learning and abilities while relying on philanthropic support. I know first-hand the impact our grant dollars can have at an individual level as well as the institutional level,” she explained.
“I have deep compassion, empathy and commitment to the mission of the Hall Family Foundation, and hope to bring a unique first-hand understanding of our community and those we serve.”
Hall Family Foundation Focus
The Hall Family Foundation concentrates its philanthropic efforts on six primary areas of need in the Kansas City Area: early and K-12 education, higher education, children, youth and families, neighborhood revitalization, the arts, health, and supporting community-wide efforts that seek to provide long-term solutions to high priority local issues.
Among the initiatives of which the Foundation is proud include:
- Supported Children’s Mercy Hospital through the construction of clinics and hospital facilities, the recruitment of physicians, and most recently the new Children’s Research Institute benefitting children locally and around the world.
- Provided support for Truman Medical Center capital improvements to their cancer center, maternity area, and area health clinics, so that our largest regional safety net hospital can provide quality health care to those who are most vulnerable.
- Led efforts to renovate Kansas City’s Music Hall and The Spencer Theatre at University of Missouri-Kansas City, and played a lead role in planning and acquiring world- renowned sculptures for display in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, so that all Kansas City citizens can experience the arts.
- Partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to improve educational outcomes in both charter and traditional public schools. Engaged in civic efforts to improve pre-K access in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.
- Provided a grant to launch the new Health Education Building and Hemenway Research Building at the KU Med Center, and provided key backing for KU’s National Cancer Institute designation.
- Established the Oxbridge Program to allow William Jewell scholarship students the opportunity to study and travel abroad as part of their education.
- Engaged in the revitalization of downtown’s Quality Hill neighborhood and the resurrection of Union Station well ahead of Kansas City’s urban revival.
- Provided the seed funding for establishment of The Hispanic Development Fund and Black Community Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Through minority leadership of these funds, including Mayra’s, they have become national models for philanthropic engagement within minority communities.
- Served as a partner in countless efforts to support local social services that serve the needs of the community’s most vulnerable—from homeless shelters, youth support services, violence prevention programs, food pantries and more. Led efforts to provide emergency assistance during times of economic crisis, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Working with Don Hall, the Board of the Foundation and community partners, Bill Hall was a catalyst for numerous civic and charitable activities benefitting the Greater Kansas City region. In recognition of his efforts, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named him Kansas Citian of the year in 2007.
“During the over four decades we have worked together,” said Don Hall, chairman of the Foundation, “Bill’s leadership of the Foundation established by my parents helped shape Kansas City and benefit our fellow citizens. We are so proud of what he has accomplished. As president of the Hall Family Foundation,” he concluded, “Bill has also done an extraordinary job of bringing to life the vision of my mother and father.”
“Bill will leave a significant mark on the Kansas City community through his leadership and, more notably, through his dedicated service to our city and its people. I have no doubt that Mayra will be a passionate and energizing force to carry that legacy of service forward into the next generation of our region’s leadership,” Don Hall, Jr. concluded.
About the Hall Family Foundation
The Hall Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of human life. Programs that enrich the community, help people and promote excellence are considered to be of prime importance. The Foundation views its primary function as that of a catalyst. It seeks to be responsive to programs that are innovative, yet strive to create permanent solutions to community needs in the Greater Kansas City area. For more information, visit www.hallfamilyfoundation.org/.
For more than 100 years, family-owned Hallmark Cards, Inc. has been dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and employing 30,000 worldwide, the approximately $4 billion company operates a diversified portfolio of businesses. The Hallmark Global business sells greeting cards, gift wrap and related products in more than 30 languages with distribution in more than 100 countries and 100,000 rooftops worldwide, including about 2,000 Hallmark Gold Crown stores in five countries. Crayola® offers a wide range of art materials and creative play toys designed to spark children’s creativity around the globe. Crown Media Family Networks operates three cable channels – Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama – in addition to Hallmark Publishing, a leading publisher of uplifting eBooks, audiobooks, and print editions, and Hallmark Movies Now, a subscription-based streaming service. Crown Center is a real estate development company that manages the 85-acre hotel, office, entertainment and residential campus surrounding Hallmark’s headquarters. For more information, visit Hallmark.com. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.