Women Making a Mark: Michele Stumpe

From an early age, this philanthropist has followed her passion to help those close to home and across the globe

Photo by Martha Williams

Michele Stumpe’s list of charitable contributions and professional accomplishments is so lengthy, it reads like fiction, but the truth is that she’s built her life around making a difference. Partner
 at the Taylor English law firm, Stumpe
 also is a co-founder and board member 
of Atlanta’s the Giving Kitchen; co-founder and CEO of Children of Conservation,
 a humanitarian organization in Africa; board chair of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, a coalition of wildlife centers;
 and a board member for the Chimpanzee Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Trust, among others. Her love of wildlife started early when, at 12 years old, she began volunteering in the primate nursery at a zoo in Brownsville, Texas. As a teen she worked as a camp counselor for children battling cancer and volunteered with Camp Twin Lakes for more than a dozen years before joining the charity’s board.

While her efforts to make the world a better place span the globe, she also focuses on improving opportunities close to home. She and fellow attorney Ilene Berman started a thriving mentor program for women at their firm.

Though giving back is its own reward, in 2018 famed conservationist Jane Goodall presented Stumpe with an award recognizing her commitment to conservation in Entebbe, Uganda. “She’s been such an icon throughout my whole life,” Stumpe says. “To not only meet her, but to have her call me out in gratitude for work I’ve done was a special memory that will stay with me.”

Philanthropy is a family affair: Stumpe’s husband, Kerry, is an architect and serves as president of Children of Conservation, and their daughter, Kourtney, serves on the junior board. And Stumpe is not slowing down. Next up? A model community project in Uganda designed to address all 17 of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. It’s a massive undertaking, but for Stumpe, such projects are life-affirming. “[Giving back] lets you get so much perspective and so much more out of life,” she says.