Mary (Stauffer) Brownback was born in Kansas City to Ruth and John Stauffer. Mary attended the University of Kansas where she received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration. She went on to attend University of Kansas, School of Law and earned her Juris Doctorate. Mary and Sam met while both were attending the University of Kansas, School of Law.
Following her graduation from law school, Mary became a law clerk for Kansas Supreme Court Justice David Prager. She then worked as the Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer at First National Bank of Manhattan, now First Savings Bank. She later worked in Trust Marketing at Merchants National Bank.
After the births of their eldest children, Mary became a full-time mom and began volunteering in Topeka for United Way, Junior League of Topeka, Red Cross of Topeka, and Meals on Wheels, she also volunteered at church and her children’s schools. Sam and Mary have five children: Abby, Andy, Liz, Mark, and Jenna.
Mary has been a passionate advocate for adoption, and has worked tirelessly to bring attention to adoption and children’s issues. Mary runs the Building Families Fund, which awards grants to people who are adopting children domestically or internationally. Sam and Mary have two adopted children: Mark Brownback was born in Guatemala, and Jenna Brownback was born in China.
Since becoming First Lady, Mary has also become an advocate for improved literacy, she started the Kansas Book Festival Fund in January 2011, and is an enthusiastic supporter of health and wellness initiatives.