When Michael Mackie moved to Kansas City in 1999, one of the first people he met was Mark Anderson, who ran SAVE Inc. until 2007.
“Mark and I became best friends, and he got me involved with SAVE,” Mackie said. “I think six months after I landed, I was fully immersed in all the things that SAVE Inc. had to offer. I’ve been on the board for seven years, and I just do not have enough nice things to say about the organization and their staff.”
Mackie’s a familiar face to many in Kansas City because he was a co-host of the KSHB-TV (Channel 41) morning show Kansas City Live until this summer.
A native of Iowa, he has also worked at KCTV5 and KMBC (Channel 9). He recently took a new job as a media specialist for the company VPR Pop in Kansas City.
Mackie took home a local Emmy in 2014 for hosting Kansas City Live, as well as Emmys in 2014 and 2009 for the production of documentaries for SAVE Inc. He said he gets to immerse himself in the lives of SAVE Inc. people through his video projects.
“I have done a philanthropic video for them for probably the last seven or eight years,” he said.
But that’s not all he does for SAVE, by any means. Mackie spoke about the Silverleaf Building capital campaign to restore a storage building that was once a bar into space for SAVE Inc. staff and clients.
“We spent an entire weekend, probably 40-50 people, just gutting it,” he said. “It was literally like a time capsule. We found records, receipts and books from the day it closed. It was like the bar closed and everything was left behind.”
Mackie is head of the nominations committee to find new SAVE Inc. board members. He said they now have three openings.
“We’re looking for the right people with the right ideas, who can bring something to the table,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say that specifically we’re looking for rainmakers, but that is a healthy aspect. I mean, who doesn’t want to raise money and get their name out there? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: SAVE is this little tiny gem that not many people know about and what we want to do with board members is to make sure they literally shout SAVE’s name and mission from the rooftops and get more people to know about it.”
Mackie also has been hosting monthly SAVE Inc. Happy Hours around the city. The October event was at the Crossroads restaurant Affäre.
“We started the happy hours about two years ago,” Mackie said. “Attendance was middling, to say the least. And so I was just like, well, we could do a better job than this. I just started batting my eyelashes at a lot of the places that I frequent and some of the out-of-the-way places. Like I remember that probably one of our most successful places was the Amigoni Winery [in the West Bottoms>, and I went to Michael and Kerry Amigoni and said, ‘If I get about 100 random people in here on a random Tuesday, would you be OK with that? Would you give us some drink specials?’ And that was it. Boom. Done. And that’s kind of how the genesis of my happy hours started.”
Mackie said the purpose of the happy hours is twofold: “A) Who doesn’t like to get out and about and mingle? and B) … It just gives us a chance to talk about SAVE in an easy-peasy environment. It’s a chance to snag some friends and go to this happy hour. It’s $20 at the door since we don’t have any costs, because the restaurants very generously take care of everything. It’s just pure profit.” He said the restaurants provide one drink ticket, and then it’s a cash bar, but the food is provided.
Mackie said that one of his biggest motivations is surviving a sudden stroke nearly five years ago. He says that he was fortunate to recover in only 72 hours.
“I was truly very lucky. I tell everyone that when I got out of the hospital, I vowed for one solid year that I would not say no to anything,” he said with a laugh.
Among the many challenges he accepted that year were skydiving, a dude ranch (he has a phobia of horses, but he said that ranch had none) and a sudden trip to Berlin.
“I made it abundantly clear that if anyone would ask anything of me that year, I would say yes,” Mackie said.
And as he strives to embrace and enjoy his life after the stroke, he is happy to include his service to SAVE Inc.