ST. LOUIS (June 24, 2020) —David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology; Kathy Osborn, president and CEO of the Regional Business Council; Penny Pennington, managing partner of Edward Jones; and Warner Baxter, chairman, president, and CEO of Ameren Corporation, will serve as spokespersons for United Way of Greater St. Louis’s annual campaign this year. (Headshots available at each link.)
“Money that is generously donated to our United Way is incredibly vital to the health, well-being, and livelihood of individuals and families across our community,” said Steward. “United Way works to create a safe and healthy home for everyone in our community. As our region and neighbors face unprecedented challenges and impacts amid the COVID-19 crisis and the call for racial equity, our support of United Way and its work is more critical than ever.”
“As a longtime supporter and board member of United Way, I’ve had the opportunity to see and hear stories of those who’ve been helped through United Way,” said Osborn. “This year it’s more important than ever that those in our community who can support this work step up and continue to do so. I look forward to helping rally the community to do this so that our neighbors have the support they need to lead their best possible lives.”
United Way of Greater St. Louis supports over 1 million people in 16 counties throughout Missouri and Illinois to create strong and healthy communities. Additionally, United Way manages 2-1-1, a free and confidential helpline that connects people to resources and services. Since March 12, 2-1-1 has received nearly 43,000 calls, compared to 18,800 for that same time period in 2019.
“The St. Louis region is multifaceted; we face complex yet interrelated needs that no one agency, program, or entity can fix alone,” said Pennington. “United Way leads our community in supporting and maintaining our region’s safety net nonprofits to help keep our neighbors whole. I’m honored to stand with these three other leaders in support of United Way and the important work it does for our region.”
“Through United Way, thousands of people in our community receive vital resources, like food, shelter, mentorship for young people, job training, and so much more,” said Baxter. “This support is possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses and caring individuals throughout our region. As a native St. Louisan, for decades I have witnessed United Way exhibit the real strength of the St. Louis region – people joining together to make lasting change for those in need and our communities.”
United Way’s Board Chair Michael Moehn noted how unique of a situation it is to have four key leaders unite to lead the campaign in this way. “Certainly, this year is unprecedented in all we do, and this calls for an unprecedented approach in rallying the community behind United Way. Having leadership from four major St. Louis entities join together in this way will help to align our local resources and create our most successful path forward.”
United Way’s annual campaign runs in the fall from September through mid-November. The dollars raised through campaign support 167 Safety Net agencies that help people through five impact areas: provide food and shelter, establish financial stability, foster learning, improve health, and strengthen communities. View the list of Safety Net agencies here.
“We are incredibly thankful for the strong support and commitment of these four pillars of our community,” noted Michelle Tucker, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “Dave, Kathy, Penny, and Warner are such passionate and dedicated leaders, and all have been longtime supporters of United Way. This year will require collective and historical fundraising efforts to help respond to the complex challenges across our St. Louis region. We are thankful to have these tremendous leaders champion our campaign.”
Recently, United Way has been responding to the immediate and long-term needs of the community due to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. So far, United Way has invested more than $1.2 million into nonprofits throughout the St. Louis region that are providing access to food, medicine and personal care items; rent, mortgage and utility assistance; childcare for essential workers; and mental health support.
David Steward is the chairman of World Wide Technology (WWT), which he founded in 1990. He spends the majority of his time developing strategic supplier, customer, and employee relationships. He plays a key role in WWT’s pursuit of large contract bids within its industry specific operating companies.
Steward began his career with Boy Scouts of America and subsequently worked for Wagner Electric, Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, and Federal Express. In 1987, he founded Transport Administrative Services, which audited and reviewed freight bills for undercharges for the railroad industry. Three years later, he founded WWT, and over the past three decades has built what started as a small logistics/transportation audit company into a leading systems integrator and supply chain solutions provider with over 4,000 employees in offices throughout the world.
Steward is a graduate of Central Missouri State University and holds Honorary Doctor of Laws from Washington University; Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from Lindenwood University, Harris Stowe State University, and St. Louis University; and Honorary Doctorate in Science from Lincoln University and from The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in Yezreel, Israel, the honorary doctorate equivalent in the form of their “Guardian of the Galilee” Award. Steward serves as a board member for many local and national civic boards including Biblical Business Training, National Academy Foundation (NAF), Washington University, United Way of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Civic Progress of St. Louis, and more.
Kathy Osborn spearheaded the establishment of the Regional Business Council, a consortium of presidents and CEOs from the region’s 100 largest companies, in 1999. Osborn embodies the RBC’s mission to unite and engage members to act on high-impact business, civic, and philanthropic affairs for the betterment of the St. Louis region. The RBC plays a vital role in the region and is focused on numerous issues including diversity and inclusion, education reform, talent development, crime and public safety, and quality of life. Now celebrating its 10th year, the RBC’s Young Professionals Network of 4,300 professionals is changing the face of the St. Louis region on a professional and philanthropic level.
Prior to joining the Regional Business Council, she was vice chancellor of university relations at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, overseeing major mergers, collaborations, and partnerships and raising over $70 million.
Osborn is very active in the St. Louis community, serving on a variety of business and civic boards, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Lambert International Airport Commission, and the St. Louis Police Foundation. She has been awarded the 2018 Citizen of the Year Award, the 2012 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year, the 2018 Asian-American Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year, the Urban League’s Chairman’s Award, the 2018 United Way of Greater St. Louis Freeman-Kortkamp Award, and the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award in 1998, among many other distinguished awards.
Penny Pennington is the managing partner of Edward Jones and is responsible for the firm’s strategic direction, working together with more than 49,000 associates across North America to make a meaningful difference in the lives of more than 7 million clients. She was recently named No. 45 in her first appearance on the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business list.
Pennington began her Edward Jones career in 2000 as a financial advisor. In 2006, she was named a principal and relocated to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters where she held leadership roles in New Financial Advisor Training, Branch Office Administrator Development, and Branch and Region Development before leading the Client Strategies Group in 2015.
Pennington earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a concentration in finance from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a graduate of Wharton’s Securities Industry Institute and is a CFA® charterholder.
She is an active member of the St. Louis community, serving on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Washington University in St. Louis, the Whitaker Foundation, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and Saint Louis Fashion Fund.
Warner Baxter is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation, parent company of rate-regulated energy companies that serve more than 2.4 million electric and 900,000 natural gas customers in Illinois and Missouri.
During his nearly 25-year tenure at Ameren, Baxter has served in a variety of leadership roles, including executive vice president and chief financial officer and president of Ameren Missouri.
Before joining Ameren in 1995, Baxter served as senior manager in PricewaterhouseCooper’s LLP national office, serving as one of the firm’s liaisons with the major accounting standard setting bodies in the United States.
Baxter earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and is a member of the University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor’s Council and serves on the University of Missouri 100 Board.
Today, Baxter is actively involved in the St. Louis community. He currently serves as chairman of Civic Progress St. Louis and as a director for Alliance STL, the American Cancer Society CEOs Against Cancer, Variety the Children’s Charity, and The Muny. Baxter is also actively engaged in several industry boards. He is currently Vice Chair of the Edison Electric Institute and serves on the board of directors for the Electric Power Research Institute. Baxter also serves on the boards of U.S. Bancorp and BJC HealthCare.
About United Way of Greater St. Louis
United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind — helping people live their best possible lives. Located throughout 16 counties in Missouri and Illinois, United Way helps people in the region build a foundation for a good quality of life through basic needs, financial stability, education, health, and strong communities.