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2016 Class of Rising Stars – Jennifer Matney

According to Kristi Hutchison, chief marketing officer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City; Rising Star Jennifer Matney “has a brain for business and a heart for charity. Her involvement in the non-profit world is impressive and her passion for everything that she does is contagious.”

For 14 years, Jennifer has been deeply committed to BBBS. She has been a Big Sister to three girls since 2005. Jennifer’s initial Little Sister, Jaynesha, is the first in her family to graduate from high school and credits Jennifer for motivating and supporting her along the way. Eleven years later, Jennifer and Jaynesha remain close friends. In addition, Jennifer has been on the BBBS board of directors since 2010 and serves as its treasurer. She was the chairman of the finance committee and is now the chairman of the volunteer recruitment committee, assisting with the March Matchness Recruitment Campaign to motivate the board, the junior board and others to recruit volunteers. 

Jennifer has participated in nearly all of the BBBS fundraisers, including Man 2 Man, Chiefs Charity Game, Legacy Golf Tournament, Match Appreciation Banquet, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, and Most Wanted Auction. In the last six years, she has personally raised more than $75,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Said BBBS CEO Micheal Lawrence: “Jennifer brings passion to her volunteer work and is a tireless advocate for our mission. I have not encountered a more committed board member as she has never missed a meeting, is always prepared and is quick to contribute in all discussions. Even more important than her service to the agency, Jennifer has been instrumental in the lives of the children who have been fortunate to be chosen as her Little Sisters.”

From 2001 to 2013, Jennifer was a member of the Young Leaders Society for United Way, where she coordinated campaigns at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and DST Output. Last year, she became a member of the Women’s Leadership Council. She also is a member of Centurions, class of 2016, and has volunteered more than 100 hours for organizations such as Amethyst Place, Phoenix Family, Harvesters, Habitat Restore, and Downtown Outreach Food Kitchen. This past year, Jennifer has served as the co-chairman on the Legacy Committee to benefit Higher M-Pact. Jennifer has developed a curriculum to utilize the newly remodeled technology lab to teach children about digital communication, Internet safety, basic and financial literacy, STEM, job skills, college readiness, and career exploration.

When Jennifer was a board member of Consensus KC from 2009 to 2012, she completed case studies, held forums and engaged the public in issues such as urban neighborhoods, healthcare reform and civility in the community. She has also volunteered at the Hyde Park Homes Tour and Cerner’s First Hand Foundation. 

  “Jennifer’s past, present and future volunteerism epitomizes the term philanthropy,” said Rob Smith, technology lead with Hallmark Cards. “Her desire to do good for the community she lives in knows no boundaries. Jennifer does not do this work for glory, discovery or recognition – she does it because she has a good heart, cares deeply about the success of others and has compassion for the people in her city.” 

In the work world, Jennifer is vice president/director of model risk management at United Missouri Bank, where she has hosted a Jeans Day to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters and has recruited three co-workers to become a “Big.” She has met with executive leadership to determine ways to get staff involved through events. She has overseen a Lunch & Learn during UMB’s week-long United Way campaign and has participated in the Project Homeless Connect Kansas City day.

Jennifer feels both honored and humbled to be a Rising Star. “This is an additional platform for me to serve as a passionate advocate. I have great friends who also have received this honor and it makes me proud to be included.”

Also featured in the April 16, 2016 issue of The Independent
Photographed exclusively for The Independent by TOM STYRKOWICZ.

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