St. Louis Business Community Invests in Local Organizations to Strengthen the Region’s Neighborhoods

Civic Progress, Regional Business Council invest $1,040,000 to rebuild communities

Today, members of Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council, whose companies represent more than 125 of the region’s leading businesses, announced $1,040,000 in new funding for several local organizations aimed at strengthening the area’s underserved neighborhoods. In addition, another $1,200,000 worth of in-kind contributions will be made in this summer’s Operation Clean Sweep neighborhood revitalization project. These investments represent the ongoing partnership of business leaders and community organizations to make a tangible impact in the advancement of the region through rebuilding communities, economic development and increased access to educational opportunities.

Organizations receiving funding today include: The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation, North Side Community School, St. Louis County Library/St. Louis Public Library, Beyond Housing, and KIPP St. Louis. These programs were selected because of their proven ability to equip participants with the skills, opportunities and support necessary to drive positive change in their own neighborhoods.

“As business leaders, we know how important it is to take good care of our communities—it’s a privilege and a responsibility. By teaming up to invest in these impactful educational and economic initiatives, we’re tapping into the resources of 125 businesses to make real and sustainable change for people and communities that need a little extra support to thrive. We’re happy to invest in these community groups because they have a proven track record of caring for people and driving positive change in their neighborhoods,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, chair of Civic Progress and CEO of Spire.

“The organizations we’re investing in today are making a tangible difference in the lives of many St. Louis area residents. Bringing skills and opportunities into underserved neighborhoods is one of the most powerful ways to achieve our region’s highest potential and break the cycle of poverty,” said Greg Twardowski, chairman of the Regional Business Council.

“The generous funding from Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will go a long way to continue strengthening and stabilizing our region. I want to thank these business leaders for their steadfast commitment to investing in important initiatives like the ones announced today. When we focus our efforts to improve economic development and education in the area’s underserved neighborhoods, we ultimately create safer and stronger communities over time,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

“I want to thank the members of Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council for their leadership and continued investment in our region,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said. “In order to be successful, all of our residents must have access to education, opportunity and resources. Investments such as these strengthen the entire St. Louis area.”

“Thanks to previous funding from Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council in 2018, we expanded the Save Our Sons program further into North St. Louis, where in the first four months of opening our new location we had over 125 job placements. This year’s investment enables us to continue that momentum and equip even more African American men with the education, job training, career skills and work ethic they need for success,” said Michael McMillan, CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

“We are grateful to the business leaders in Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council for recognizing the importance of investing in our underserved communities. Their previous support equipped us to expand our Neighborhood Alliance program, which connects residents to opportunities through social services and also provides access to de-escalation conflict resolution. Last year, we de-escalated 65 conflicts that would have likely resulted in future gun violence. These efforts not only impact in our neighborhoods today, they change our neighborhoods for future generations,” said James Clark, Community Outreach Vice President of Better Family Life.

Members of Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council announce community investments to strengthen the region:
(L-R) Kelly Garrett of KIPP St. Louis, Chris Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing, Chester Asher of North Side Community School, Hillary Frey of STL Youth Jobs, Kathy Osborn of Regional Business Council, Suzanne Sitherwood of Civic Progress/Spire, Inc., Michael McMillan of Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., Todd Schnuck of Civic Progress/Schnuck Markets, Inc., James Clark of Better Family Life, Inc., Malik Ahmed of Better Family Life, Inc., Rose Hanley of The Little Bit Foundation, Greg Twardowski of Regional Business Council, Kristen Sorth of St. Louis County Library, Tom Santel of Civic Progress, Waller McGuire of St. Louis Public Library

Editors’ Note: High-resolution photos are available upon request to

Civic Progress is an organization comprising the CEOs and business heads from more than 30 of the St. Louis region’s leading employers who seek to leverage public and private resources to improve the region and better connect St. Louis with the global community. Since its founding in 1953, Civic Progress has supported many significant projects including the recent transformation of the Gateway Arch grounds. To learn more about Civic Progress, visit

The Regional Business Council, founded in 2000, is composed of 100 CEOs representing some of the region’s largest employers. These companies have a tremendous impact on the economic health of the region, employing over 120,000 people and generating over $65 billion in revenue annually. In addition to supporting the Clean Sweep efforts, the mission of the RBC is to unite and engage members to act on high-impact business, civic and philanthropic affairs for the betterment of the St. Louis region. To learn more about the Regional Business Council, visit

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