The City of Fountains Foundation (COFF) was established in 1973 by Hallmark Cards executive Harold Rice after he and his wife Peggy made a trip to Rome. The couple was extremely impressed by the number and quality of fountains there, and Harold Rice determined that Kansas City, which already had quite a few fountains, should be the City of Fountains in the U.S.

Rice assembled four other people to help start the foundation. Besides him, the other charter board members were John W. Lottes, president of the Kansas City Art Institute; Jeannette Lee, head of Hallmark’s art department and a Hallmark board member; Robert J. Wharton, head of the trust department at First National Bank; and Eugene C. Hall, an attorney in private practice who had served as Hallmark’s in-house counsel from 1958 to 1970.

The board’s first meeting took place at 10 a.m. June 27, 1973, at Hall’s office in the Bryant Building downtown. As of 2022, Hall was the only surviving member of the original group. He will be 92 on July 9, 2022. He remains a member of the foundation’s Advisory Board.

The Foundation’s main role is to promote and advocate for publicly owned fountains. In addition, we hold endowments for about 30 Kansas City fountains, monuments and sculptures, and we appropriate funds from those accounts, as we see fit, to help conserve and repair those pieces. Occasionally, we get involved in new-fountain construction or relocation, or recommending sites for sculptures and monuments.

Board of Directors, 2023

Mark McHenry, President
Charles Cassias Jr., Vice President
Sherri Hartnett, Treasurer
Jocelyn Ball-Edson
Virginia Salazar Bellis
Jonathan Dilly
Pat Dunn
David T. Ford
Anita B. Gorman
David P. Ross
Joan Shields
Alexis Webb-Bechtold
Park Board President Jack Holland (ex officio)

Advisory Board Members
Chris Cotten, director, KCMO Parks & Recreation
K. Christy Cubbage, KCMO Municipal Art Commission
James H. Bernard Jr.
Carl DiCapo
David Fowler
Anne Garney
Charles A. Garney
Ollie Gates
Eugene C. Hall
Philip A. Jones
Michael H. Malyn
Pat O’Neill
Linda D. Ward