Downtown Council to honor Mike Burke with Kirk Civic Leader Award

The late Mike Burke, legendary champion of Downtown and Kansas City, will be honored with the J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award at the Downtown Council Annual Luncheon on April 14.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City will honor the legacy of Mike Burke with the 2023 J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award in Recognition of Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship at its 2023 Annual Luncheon on Friday, April 14.

Burke, a lifelong Kansas Citian, attorney, former Kansas City Councilman and 2011 mayoral candidate, was known for his forward-thinking approach to economic and community development. John Burke will accept the DTC’s highest honor on behalf of his father, who died in early March at age 73, following a lengthy illness. Mike Burke learned about his selection as the 2023 Kirk Award winner just days before his passing.

The establishment of the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award some 21 years ago proved to be an enlightened decision for the Downtown Council. The Kirk Award not only recognizes Downtown leaders, but also champions those who have played critical roles in helping Downtown overcome the challenges of the late 1980s and 1990s to become the juggernaut it is today.

The award is presented annually to a leader whose vision, guidance, and commitment have contributed to placing Downtown on a sustainable path for shaping stronger, better, more resilient neighborhoods, along with an unflinching commitment to an equitable, inclusive, and vibrant Downtown Kansas City. The award’s namesake, J. Philip Kirk, Jr. (1937-2014), epitomized these qualities.

Mike Burke was a man not only dedicated to Kansas City, but one who also made critical contributions to Downtown KC, including his tenacity in championing the Loews Kansas City Hotel, site of this year’s DTC luncheon.

The 2023 Downtown Council Annual Luncheon at the Loews Kansas City Hotel is set for Friday, April 14. Click here to learn more.

Through his passion for the Mayor’s Bi-State Innovation Team, Burke improved the quality of life of those in Downtown and increased opportunities for businesses by developing strategies for the cutting edge use of Google Fiber technology. Burke, as chair of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts, developed strategies for strengthening Kansas City’s arts scene, which continue to drive economic development and lay the groundwork for a brighter future for Kansas City.

Over the years, Burke actively worked to advance the Kansas City riverfront; served as chair of the KC All America City Committee, which resulted in Kansas City’s selection as an All America City in 2006; and was a founder of LaunchKC, an ongoing initiative of the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, designed to attract and retain high-growth tech startups to Downtown KC.

Mike attended Georgetown University and earned his AB in History in just three years. Mike entered Georgetown Law Center, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1973. Following graduation, he returned to Kansas City to practice law with his father. It was at the law school firm that he met Melinda Stoeger. This past year Mike and Melinda celebrated 48 years of marriage.

Mike Burke exemplified community service, along with unbridled dedication to his hometown. Make plans now to attend the Annual Luncheon on April 14, as the DTC honors Burke’s life and his service to Downtown Kansas City.

Additional Luncheon Highlights

  • New York Times best-selling author Dan Gardner will be the keynote speaker for the 2023 Downtown KC Annual Luncheon. Gardner is the author of Risk, Future Babble, Superforecasting (co-authored with Philip E. Tetlock), and How Big Things Get Done (co-authored with Bent Flyvbjerg).
  • Urban Hero Awards, honoring five individuals who continue to impact Downtown at the grassroots level
  • Downtown CID 20th year anniversary celebration & presentation of the Harvey Fried Award
  • Bill Dietrich, DTC President & CEO, presenting the Imagine Downtown KC Strategic Plan update
  • Commentary by Mayor Quinton Lucas
  • Spirit of Downtown KC exhibition from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. showcasing the vitality of Downtown Kansas City via a networking expo of businesses, cultural and non-profit organizations, and new developments

Click here to reserve your seat or explore sponsorship opportunities at the 2023 DTC Annual Luncheon.