Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield
Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield are as driven and united in philanthropy as they were when they ran their investment fund.
“Giving is something you do, and we’ve always made a point of supporting charities,” said Jeanne Sinquefield. “It’s always been part of our budget, and the only thing that has changed over the years is how much there is to give.”
Despite living out of town for most of their adult lives, Rex and Jeanne retired to Missouri, where Rex was raised (Jeanne is from San Diego), and immediately immersed themselves in the community and state they now call home.
They bought a home in the Central West End and built a home in Osage County, where Rex, who is from St. Louis, spent much of his youth vacationing with his family. “I love St. Louis, I’ve always considered it home,” said Rex. “I haven’t found a city any better. Culturally, it is very strong with music and fine art, and its easy – easy to move and get around. I love it here.”
While Jeanne and Rex lend their support to long-standing St. Louis institutions like the St. Louis Symphony, the Botanical Garden, the St. Louis Art Museum, and St. Louis University, they also pursue initiatives that are as unique, individual, and as creative as they are.
A lover of music, Jeanne spearheads the couple’s efforts to make Missouri an international hub of new music composition. Some of their initiatives include the creation of a statewide composing competition for young people in Kindergarten through 12th grade, an undergraduate and graduate program at Mizzou, a regional composers orchestra project, and the development of an international composers festival held at the University of Missouri each year.
“I want Missouri to be a mecca for music composition,” said Jeanne. “How can it not be? It’s at the geographic center of everything, which helps music evolve.”
In addition to Jeanne’s efforts in support of composers, she and Rex are equally committed to making St. Louis a global center for chess. Together their vision and generosity have put St. Louis on the international chess map by helping start the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which offers a scholastic chess program to more than 150 schools and community centers in the St. Louis area and is expanding to rural Missouri, and later moving the World Chess Hall of Fame to St. Louis. The World Chess Hall of Fame celebrates one of the world’s oldest and best-loved games through vibrant, engaging exhibitions and creative programming.
The Sinquefields’ shared passion for education has led them to fund nearly $3.5 million in non-public K-4 tuition scholarships to City residents, providing 2,355 scholarships from 2008 – 2015. Keeping a close eye on how public policy impacts the lives of all Missouri residents, Jeanne and Rex are long-time supporters of the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri’s Parent Academy, which equips parents to better understand how education policy impacts their children and to become more effective advocates for their children and education policy change.
They bring the same rigor and discipline to their philanthropy as they did to their respective investment fund careers. “Once you start one of these things, they get a life of their own,” Jeanne says. “You can’t do it without structure and support.”
Both Sinquefields stress the need to follow one’s passion when giving. “Whatever the cause or organization, it has to be important to you,” said Rex. “You’ve got to believe in the purpose of the things you are supporting.”
Jeanne invokes the often-used three-legged stool metaphor when discussing the role of philanthropy in her life. “First you have family and friends, then your job, and then I believe we should all try to incorporate volunteerism or some other activity where you give back,” she said. “That’s the stuff that comprises a full and meaningful life.”