Downtown Council honors five urban champions

The Downtown Council recognized five community leaders at its Annual Luncheon on Friday at the Kansas City Convention Center.

More than 1,000 guests gathered at the Grand Ballroom to celebrate accomplishments in Downtown, as well as to set the course for new and ongoing initiatives for the coming year. A highlight of the luncheon was the recognition of several individuals and institutions for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of Downtown.

The Hall family was awarded the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award at the Downtown Council Annual Luncheon on Friday. Family members include, standing from left, David Hall, Margi Pence and Don Hall, Jr., and (seated) Don Hall, Sr.

The Downtown Council’s highest honor, the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award was presented to the Hall family, along with Hallmark Cards and Crown Center in recognition of community vision and downtown stewardship.

“Through Hallmark Cards, Crown Center, and their own civic leadership, the Halls have contributed greatly to making Kansas City the creative, artistic, and culturally advanced city that it is,” said Cathy Smith, 2017 Chair of the DTC and vice president of corporate planning for Faultless Starch/Bon Ami, at the opening of the annual meeting

Hallmark Cards has operated its corporate headquarters in Downtown Kansas City since the company was founded in 1910.

“Hallmark and the Hall Family are deeply honored to receive this award,” said Hallmark CEO Don Hall, Jr., “because it celebrates the economic vitality of Kansas City, something the company and my family have been deeply committed to for generations.”

All of the award winners were selected by a panel of Downtown Council leaders, chaired by Richard Wetzel, partner at Centric Projects.


The Downtown Council recognized four community leaders as Urban Heroes at its Annual Luncheon on Friday. Honorees include (from left) Cydney Millstein, Phil Shafer, Paul Masao Matsuoka and Butch Rigby.

The DTC also presented Urban Hero Awards to four individuals who strive to improve the quality of life in Downtown through their personal and professional lives. The 2018 recipients include:

  •  Paul Masao Matsuoka, Kansas City Rescue Mission & community volunteer
  • Cydney Millstein, architectural historian
  • Butch Rigby, Screenland Theatres and real estate developer
  • Phil Shafer, aka Sike Style, artist.

“Each year, the Downtown Council recognizes individuals and small businesses who are passionate about making Downtown Kansas City a healthier and more vibrant place to live, work, play and build businesses,” said Evie Craig, executive director of reStart and a former Urban Hero selection.

“This year’s this year’s cohort makes the measure. They represent a broad array of personal and professional contributors to our new urban landscape.”