In the 1960s, a young woman arrived in Kansas City with her three children, escaping an abusive marriage. Janice Joy Selby (B.A. '71 and M.A. '72) was young, alone and desperate to create a better life for her family.
Instead of becoming shattered by her circumstances, Selby put the pieces back together with the aid of food stamps and welfare and by waiting tables in midtown restaurants. She could have just gone through the motions and survived. But she envisioned a future far different from her reality.
"I would see myself in a nice home, with pretty flowers and my children happy...and there would be a great sense of peace," Selby says. She knew the key to making that happen was an education. She worked her way through both undergraduate and graduate degrees at UMKC, then served Kansas City as an elementary school counselor for 13 years.
"So many people helped me along the way," Selby says, speaking of the financial aid counselors, professors and family who championed her efforts. When Selby was in church one Sunday, her minister spoke of the practice of tithing, where one donates a portion of her income to the less fortunate. Selby felt inspired; she pledged $100,000 in her estate plan to establish an endowment to assist single mothers at UMKC.
But she didn't want to wait until her death to make a difference in the lives of students. So she committed an additional $10,000 to support a female UMKC student who is unmarried and responsible for supporting a child or children, with preference given to a student with a child who has developmental disabilities.
The first recipient is Kathryn Douglas, a devoted mom of an autistic boy. The scholarship helped defray costs during her senior year in the Bloch School. Now a first-year law student who plans to complete the combined J.D./M.B.A. program, Douglas is applying the scholarship toward her postgraduate studies.
"She is a beautiful person, and her son is just a beautiful little boy," says Selby. "It's so very gratifying to help her ... I know that she is going to go out into the community and do wonderful things."
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The information in this publication is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income tax include federal taxes only. Individual state taxes and/or state law may impact your results.