The Mattie Rhodes Center is a nonprofit organization in Kansas City, Missouri, dedicated to serving the needs of the community’s most vulnerable populations. The organization traces its roots back to 1890 when Mattie Florence Rhodes, a teenager who worked with a group of friends from church called the Little Gleaners, passed away at the young age of 19 due to typhoid fever. Before her death, Mattie left $500 to her friends to continue their work with children.
In 1894, the Little Gleaners honored Mattie’s wish by founding the Mattie Rhodes Memorial Society. They pledged to “do all I can to help the needy and suffering by working for them, learning about them, giving for them, and trying to interest others in them.” In the early years, the agency provided daycare for children of working mothers and necessities for low-income families. During the Great Depression, the Mattie Rhodes Memorial Society provided shelter and necessities to those facing hardship by operating a settlement house for children, single mothers, homeless individuals, and the elderly.
In the 1950s, the organization conducted a community needs assessment and began offering mental health and social services programs. Responding to the growing need for mental health and social services for Spanish speakers in the late 1980s, the Mattie Rhodes Center began hiring bilingual therapists and case managers. The Mattie Rhodes Art Center was also established in the late 1980s, followed by the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery in 1999.
Today, the Mattie Rhodes Center remains committed to meeting community needs through specialized services for Kansas City’s most vulnerable populations. The organization provides targeted services in four areas: Family Services and Support (mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse), Youth Services (in-school intervention, youth development, supportive living), Community Support (health and wellness, community engagement), and Cultural Arts (arts education, exhibits, and collections).
The Mattie Rhodes Center is the only community-based, fully-bilingual/bicultural certified behavioral health care provider nationally accredited and state certified in the Greater Kansas City area. The organization is committed to diversity and inclusion and celebrates the many ways culture enriches society. The Mattie Rhodes Center is certified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health in intensive outpatient substance abuse therapy and is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation. The organization is a provider agency for the Jackson County Mental Health Community Fund, a member of the United Way, and an affiliate of the National Council of La Raza.
In its 128th year of serving the community, the Mattie Rhodes Center remains dedicated to its original goal of helping the needy and suffering. The organization partners with community members, groups, and leaders to ensure that every individual and family has the resources to reach their full potential. The Mattie Rhodes Center envisions a community where individuals and families are healthy, safe, and have the resources to thrive. It will continue to work tirelessly to make that vision a reality.
Photo and Information Courtesy Mattie Rhodes Center