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2024 Class of Rising Stars – Amy Barnthouse

Known for her extensive charitable work in Kansas City, Amy Barnthouse has earned her recognition as one of The Independent’s  Rising Stars of 2024. For many years, she has dedicated her leadership and logistical talents to supporting families in need throughout the region.

Amy’s commitment to community care and support stems from the values of charity, faith, and civic-mindedness modeled by her parents. “My family was very involved at the church and with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas,” Amy said. “We were involved in different events throughout the year, and did a lot directly through the Parish where we grew up, and as much as possible through the Catholic Charities organization.”

Through the years, Amy has generously volunteered her time to several programs at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood, and she has supported Children’s Mercy Hospital in various volunteer capacities. Moreover, Amy has worked on numerous building and renovation projects for Catholic Charities and collected toiletries and supplies for the homeless in Kansas City.

In addition, Amy’s leadership skills have been widely recognized. She served as president of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s Junior Board from 2017 to 2019. During her tenure, she raised more than $120,000. 

Since 2020, Amy has taken on the role of chairing the Snowflake Committee. This committee of young philanthropic professionals is considered the future of The Snow Ball, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ largest fundraiser. Amy organized the 2022 Snowflake event, which attracted more than 200 guests and raised nearly $60,000. “While the financial contributions are significant, perhaps what is more important is that Amy is creating a new generation of Snow Ball patrons who are engaging with Catholic Charities, ensuring the success of our event for years to come,” said Pam Kramer, who served as president of the 49th annual Snow Ball. “These donor relationships are crucial to the thousands of people served by Catholic Charities.” 

Amy also chaired Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s annual Soiree event and supported the following year’s chairs. In both of these events, Amy was involved in achieving record-breaking attendance and fundraising figures. Susan Walker, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, attributes the success of the Soiree to Amy’s infectious personality and dedication to the organization’s mission. “She tirelessly worked to raise awareness of the event and always tied the ‘party’ back to the ‘purpose’ of helping those in need,” Susan said. 

Indeed, Amy strives to make volunteering enjoyable and engaging for all participants. Furthermore, she is passionate about involving the next generation of volunteers to ensure the continued success of charitable initiatives established by previous generations. “There are a lot of people who want to get involved and be a part of something,” Amy said. “They just might not want to be the person in charge, so I’ve taken on a lot of that (leadership), which I enjoy and love doing.”

While Amy is a dedicated Catholic, she said one of the most important aspects of her volunteerism with Catholic Charities is being able to support the greater Kansas City community. “Catholic Charities doesn’t just serve the Catholic population,” she said. “It’s one of the biggest service and charitable organizations in the country. It doesn’t turn anybody away based on faith. Its mission is to truly better the lives of people who need that help.”

Additionally, Amy supports individuals interested in joining the Catholic faith by volunteering as a sponsor for the Church of the Nativity’s Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This involves mentoring other female adults exploring their faith journey and considering Catholicism in a group learning environment. Mary Lambrechts, RCIA, commended Amy’s dedication to the mentorship program. “Despite a very demanding career with travel and other volunteer and personal obligations, Amy made her commitment an important priority and truly impacted the life of the person she sponsored as well as everyone else in the class,” Mary said. “The person Amy sponsored was touched in the process, so much so that she spoke to a large group about her experience. This was in large part due to Amy.”

Beyond her work with Catholic Charities, Amy has also been dedicated to Children’s Mercy Hospital for more than a decade. She has played multiple roles in its major fundraiser, Big Slick, including supervising youth volunteers and serving as an ambassador to VIP sponsors at the Saturday evening VIP party and show. Additionally, she has volunteered in the Children’s Mercy family area.

According to Julie Riggle McKee, a founding member of Big Slick, Amy’s contributions have been invaluable. Julie describes Amy as a “true Rockstar” with a passion for philanthropy and a willingness to enthusiastically tackle tasks of any size. “Amy carried out the ambassador role with grace and poise,” Julie said. “This is one of our most critical volunteer spots. Amy is a strong leader, who serves by example, and her engaging personality makes others want to follow her lead.” 

While juggling these multiple responsibilities, Amy is mindful to take on only what she can manage with excellence. “I never want to be someone who signs on to volunteer with something but then doesn’t do anything and never shows up,” she said. “Whatever I’m signing on for I want to be able to do at the highest level that I can.”

Amy was honored to be chosen as a Rising Star. She said, “Highlighting the good work that individuals are doing in Kansas City helps encourage others to be part of the community and join different organizations as well.”

Featured in the June 15, 2024 issue of The Independent.
By Monica V. Reynolds
Photo Credit: Tom Styrkowicz

Monica V. Reynolds is an award-winning former reporter who honed her skills at a daily newspaper in Northeast Louisiana. After spending more than a decade in Austin, Texas, she recently moved to Our Town. Monica’s passion for journalism extends to documentary short filmmaking and photography. She is the founder of Vox Pop Marketing, an online marketing and web design firm that helps small businesses develop an authentic, magnetic message and online presence.

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