Since 1952, the Greater Kansas City Alumnae Association has hosted the Kappa Homes Tour featuring several of Kansas City’s finest homes. The tour began as an opportunity to give back to the Kansas City community, sparked by an idea from Isabelle Helmers, Missouri. She envisioned the project “to put to use the talents of members for a productive, cohesive reason with the proceeds to permanently support philanthropy.” This year will be the 62nd tour and the association is planning on it being the largest tour to date.
Typically a two-day event, the association decided to add an additional day to give more Kappas a chance to experience the tour. “We have always had bus tours come from out of town and are hoping that by adding an additional day we might generate more interest,” says Christina Frank Erwin, Washington Univ. They also hope the additional day will increase local traffic and the proceeds they are able to give to the charities.
Proceeds from ticket sales for the tour will go to two local charities, the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault. Proceeds will also benefit the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. “We are very proud of our long history of supporting the Kansas City community and the Kappa Foundation through our tour,” says Valerie Chaloud, Kansas. The association was honored at the 2012 General Convention for reaching the highest level of giving to the Foundation.
The tour begins on Wednesday, December 4, with a preview luncheon featuring guest speaker Karolyn “ZuZu” Grimes, an actress in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Guests will also have the opportunity to preview the four homes on the tour before they open to the general public. The luncheon is sponsored through a matching gift challenge by Teresa Keith Walsh, Oklahoma State, and Kelsey Walsh Perry, Kansas, co-founder and co-president of Silpada Designs, respectively. “Teresa and Kelsey are matching the first $10,000 of Owl Friend donations received during the luncheon,” says Christina. “'Owl Friends of our Tour' is a new program we launched this year. We ask Kappas to make a tax-deductible contribution to help offset the costs of producing the tour, thereby increasing the final proceeds we are able to distribute to our beneficiaries.”
For all three days, there will be a Gift and Gourmet Shop where Kappa-baked goods and Margaret Furlong angel ornaments will be sold. All proceeds from the baked goods and ornaments will benefit the charities. The association has also secured more than 20 consignors that will sell everything from apparel and jewelry to home décor and holiday greens, with 25 percent of those sales benefiting the tour.
“We are also introducing our first Girls’ Night Out event at the Gift and Gourmet Shop on Thursday, December 5,” says Kristi Miller, Kansas State. This event will include giveaways and fun events to encourage Kappas, their family and friends to shop for the cause. “We have lined up four holiday-themed demonstrations, from makeup to mixology, for this special night,” says Kristi. “We will have a number of fun door prizes to be announced throughout the evening and consignor specials.”
Tickets for the preview luncheon can be purchased online at the Kappa Homes Tour website. Homes Tour tickets can also be purchased on the website in advance, or during the tour at the featured homes or the Gift and Gourmet Shop. The Gift and Gourmet shop is free and open to the public during the event, as is the Girls’ Night Out event. For more information, please check out the Kappa Homes Tour website and Facebook page!