FOCUS St. Louis is pleased to announce that the Steward Family will be the recipients of the 2023 FOCUS Leadership Award.
“As a region, we are fortunate to have the Steward family,” says Amy Shaw, board chair for FOCUS St. Louis. “Individually and collectively, they have built a legacy of entrepreneurship, leadership and philanthropy that is felt throughout our community and beyond.”
This prestigious award, chosen by the FOCUS Board of Directors, is given annually to individuals who demonstrate committed leadership, generate a meaningful impact in the community, and encourage strong community engagement in others. The award will be presented at the 26th Annual What’s Right with the Region celebration on Thursday, May 11, at Sheldon Concert Hall.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream to own a company, David L. Steward began World Wide Technology in 1990 with a handful of employees and 4,000 square foot office. Today, WWT is the largest Black-owned company in the United States, employing more than 9,000 people in 55 locations globally and generating over $17 billion in annual revenue. The company has been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, Forbes’ Largest Private Companies List and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work.
Steward also fulfilled another lifelong dream of being involved with the sport of racing with the company’s investment in the World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. This partnership, launched in 2019, represents not only a commitment to the region and to the sport, but also to STEM education and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Married since 1976, David and Thelma Steward have made philanthropy and service central tenets of their life and work. In addition to contributing their time to a variety of boards and causes, they established the Steward Family Foundation in 2013 as a further means to support the arts, education and causes that improve quality of life.
This model of leadership and philanthropy has carried over to the next generation of the family as well. An Academy Award-winning producer, David Steward II is founder and CEO of Polarity, which oversees a portfolio of companies with content offerings including graphic novels and comics, animated television, streaming and cinematic features, and gaming. He founded Lion Forge Animation Studios, based in St. Louis, which produced the Oscar-winning short Hair Love and partnered with Nine PBS on the multimedia literacy initiative Drawn In.
Kimberly Steward is an Academy Award-winning film producer with credits including Manchester By the Sea and Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. She runs her own production company, K Period Media.
All in the community are invited to join us to recognize the Steward Family, who will be represented by David Steward II and Kimberly Steward, along with the recipients of this year’s What’s Right with the Region and FOCUS Alumni Awards.
26th Annual FOCUS St. Louis What’s Right with the Region Awards Celebration
Thursday, May 11, 2023 · 5:00-8:00 p.m. · Sheldon Concert Hall
Tickets now on sale!
This year’s What’s Right with the Region Co-Chairs are:
Dr. Kristin Sobolik Steve Smith
Chancellor Founder & CEO
University of Missouri-St. Louis New + Found