In 1986, during a visit to her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, Six-Time Olympic medalist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee learned of the closing of the Mary Brown Community Center, a major resource for youth development, leadership, athletic, and other recreational activities since 1968. The Center’s impact on Jackie had been considerable, and, in her mind, a key ingredient in the development of her own character. It helped create the foundation for her significant athletic successes in track and field and in life. Upon learning the Center was closed, Jackie asked, “What do the youth in the city do now?”
In 1988, Jackie established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation a 501 (c) (3) public foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation raised over $12 million from a variety of corporate, foundation and government sources and from scores of committed local individuals. The result was the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center and an endowment. The Center was constructed on a 37-acre site adjacent to Interstate 64 and Kenneth Hall Park in East St. Louis, IL. The 41, 000 square foot Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center opened on March 1, 2000.
The foundation is supported by donations from corporations, foundations, government sources, and individuals.