What’s Right with the Region Awards

Each year, FOCUS applauds the efforts of 20 individuals, organizations and/or initiatives making a positive difference in the St. Louis region.

Too often, we get caught up in the challenges and issues facing our community. We all need a reminder now and again of the good that surrounds us, in the people and organizations who work tirelessly to make our region better. The annual What’s Right with the Region awards are a celebration of that.

Join us at the 21st Annual What’s Right with the Region Awards Celebration on Thursday, May 10, 2018!

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Congratulations to our 2018 honorees, and thank you to all who submitted nominations! 

Demonstrating Innovative Solutions

Arts As Healing Foundation
Home Sweet Home
The Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel
Special Needs Tracking & Awareness Response System (STARS), a program of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

Fostering Regional Cooperation

Gateway Housing First and Places for People
Ready by 21 St. Louis
St. Louis Area Diaper Bank
T-REX Innovation Center

Improving Racial Equality & Social Justice

BESt Summer Pharmacy Institute
Metro Trans Umbrella Group
Springboard to Learning
St. Louis County Family Court – Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Promoting Stronger Communities

Michelle Duffe
Pattonville School District
Brenda Smith, Principal, Vashon High School 9th & 10th Grade Academy
Jason Watson, Director of Beyond Jobs

Emerging Initiatives

Active Advocacy Coalition
Better Together: St. Louis City-County Governance Task Force
Green House Venture
St. Louis CDFI Coalition

All entries are reviewed and scored by a committee of FOCUS alumni and community volunteers. Judges evaluate each entry on the basis of the following criteria: 

  • Fulfills category description
  • Unique, innovation, otherwise worthy of recognition
  • Has meaningful impact on community
  • Overall effectiveness

The top four entries selected in each category will be recognized as the honorees at the 21st Annual Awards Celebration on May 10, 2018.

Tickets are now on sale for the 21st Annual What’s Right with the Region Awards Celebration. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018
5:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30-8:00 p.m. – Awards Presentation
Sheldon Concert Hall
3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108

Each year, more than 500 people attend What’s Right with the Region, making it one of the top networking events in the area. 

The FOCUS Leadership Award is presented annually by the FOCUS board of directors to individuals who demonstrate innovative leadership, generate a meaningful impact in the community, and encourage strong community leadership in others.

We’re pleased to announce Dennis Lower, President and CEO of Cortex Innovation Community, as the recipient of the 2018 FOCUS Leadership Award. 

Past recipients of the FOCUS Leadership Award have included Dr. Kelvin Adams, Dr. Jason Purnell, Frankie Muse Freeman, Anna Crosslin, Chris Krehmeyer, Martin L. Mathews and Donald Suggs.

The St. Louis community is invited to join us to recognize Dennis Lower for his leadership and commitment to strengthening our region, as well as the 20 What’s Right with the Region! award honorees (to be announced in February).


Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois
Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President & CEO, Jewish Federation of St. Louis


William Carson
Sarajeni Hammond
Bob Lewis
Mark Lindgren
Scott Meyer

On May 10, 2018, more than 500 guests are expected at the 21st Annual What’s Right with the Region Awards Celebration – and we’d love for your company/organization to be a part of it! Your sponsorship helps to shine a light on the individuals, initiatives and organizations making a difference in our region, while supporting the ongoing work of FOCUS St. Louis to create a thriving region.

View Sponsor Levels & Benefits
Make Your Sponsorship Donation Online

For more information on sponsorships, contact Vice President Jackie Kirouac-Fram at (314) 657-4029 or

For 21 years, FOCUS St. Louis has honored the individuals, initiatives and organizations helping to shape and improve our region.

View the complete list of honorees.

Each year, the FOCUS Board of Directors has also presented the Leadership Award, designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate remarkable and courageous community leadership, have meaningful impact on the community, and encourage strong community leadership in others.

View past Leadership Award recipients.

You can also check out videos of recent award recipients on the FOCUS YouTube channel.

Leadership Sponsors

Ameren Illinois Logo
Edward Jones Logo
Jewish Federation of St. Louis Logo
Monsanto Logo
Wells Fargo Advisors Logo

Media Partners

Fox 2 KTVI Logo
KPLR 11 Logo
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Public Radio