“Whatever I Can Do to Make Kansas City a Better Place”

 As a third-generation Kansas Citian, Masterpiece Campaign donor Dr. Mary Davidson is passionately committed to supporting what makes this city great.

“The healthier Kansas City is, the healthier we all are,” she said in the living room of her elegant and art-filled Leawood home. “Whatever I can do to make Kansas City a better place, I do.”

Through the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Mary supports organizations as different as the National World War I Museum, whose board she chairs; the Children’s Campus of Kansas City, Kansas; Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area; and Johnson County Community College. She also served as the chair of the Board of Visitors for the United States Coast Guard Academy, appointed by Senator Bob Dole. Among the arts, “the Symphony is number one.”

“Taking care of the Symphony helps to take care of all the organizations – including the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera – because the Symphony plays for those performances. And the concerts instill the spirit of giving in everyone. How fortunate we are to have [Symphony Music Director] Michael Stern. He continues to reenergize the orchestra. As he expects from them, they deliver.”

Mary now runs the charitable fund established after her husband, banker Barton Cohen, passed away in 2006. In addition to raising her son, now an attorney living in California, Mary has worked as a science educator, teaching on television for Kansas City schools, for 18 years was the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas, and was the secretary’s regional representative for the United States Department of Education. She now hosts “It’s Our Community,” a weekly television program for Johnson County Community College.

“I love to support the amenities that make our community interesting, strong, and make people want to live here,” she said. And the Kansas City Symphony is tremendously grateful for her ongoing and very generous support.