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United Way names 4 leaders for 'unprecedented' 2020 campaign

"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"
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — The United Way of Greater St. Louis has named four local executives as spokespersons for its 2020 fundraising campaign, boosting the star power for what the nonprofit said will require "historical" fundraising outreach.

This year's campaign leaders will serve as spokespersons rather than co-chairs, according to Erin Smith, the nonprofit's vice president of communications. United Way in recent years has named only two co-chairs for its annual campaign, which runs from September through mid-November annually. It provides support to the nonprofit's 167 agencies in a 16-county region.

Spokespersons for the 2020 campaign will be: David Steward, chairman of World Wide Technology; Kathy Osborn, president and CEO of Regional Business Council; Penny Pennington, managing partner of Edward Jones; and Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corp.

United Way officials in a release Wednesday noted the "unique" situation of having four key leaders for the campaign. “Certainly, this year is unprecedented in all we do, and this calls for an unprecedented approach in rallying the community behind United Way," said Michael Moehn, United Way board chair. "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.”

The United Way hasn't yet released the goal for its 2020 campaign. Last year, the organization raised over $76.3 million in its annual fall campaign, beating its 2019 goal of $76.25 million. 

“United Way works to create a safe and healthy home for everyone in our community," Steward said in a statement. "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.”

Steward co-founded WWT in 1990 and it has grown to become the St. Louis region's second-largest privately held company with over $11 billion in annual revenue.

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