Jane Stephens Comer
Jane Stephens Comer married Donald Comer III in college and put her studies on hold to raise their three children. Comer returned to Birmingham Southern College in her 40s and completed her bachelor of arts in art history in 1981. In 1988 Comer founded The Elegant Earth retail store in Mountain Brook Village, and later sold the store in 2000.
Comer is well-known for her devotion and significant contributions to the Birmingham community, particularly in the areas of the arts, education, and the empowerment of women and girls.
Comer has had tremendous influence through her service on several boards, including the Alys Stephens Center, the Alabama Ballet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Red Mountain Theater, Birmingham Museum of Art and The Women’s Fund. In 2009 Comer donated $5 million to the Alys Stephens Center to found ArtPlay, a learning center with cultural programming for children in music, dance, theater and art.
In 2009 Comer accepted a challenge from Gloria Steinem to “commit one outrageous act in the cause of simple justice.” That year Comer met with several women to discuss gender equality, and from there she founded GirlSpring Inc., a nonprofit focused on empowerment of girls and young women.
Comer was the first woman in AL. to gift $1M to the national Women Moving Millions, which benefits women and girls. A portion of the gift was given to the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, a portion was given to CHIPS, the abuse clinic at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and a portion was given to the Ms. Foundation to support women’s rights and equality.
Comer’s many awards include Life Member Award from University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, Ms. Foundation Vision and Action Award (New York), Gloria Awards, and the Alys Robinson Stephens Award.
Comer has three children and six grandchildren, for whom she enjoys writing children’s books.
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