BJC HealthCare honored with St. Louis Business Journal Innovation in Philanthropy Award

BJC HealthCare and Midwest BankCentre have been recognized with a St. Louis Business Journal Innovation in Philanthropy Award for working together to improve the health of the community by addressing a lack of investment in the city of St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

Seeds of the partnership were planted in 2019 when Rich Liekweg, BJC president and CEO, and Orvin Kimbrough, Midwest BankCentre's chairman and CEO, met to discuss the issues facing these communities.

BJC and Midwest BankCentre eventually created a depository relationship that started in late 2021. BJC deposited funds in the Midwest BankCentre branches tied to the 22 ZIP codes in the region that are considered under-resourced communities. Midwest BankCentre pledged to responsibly increase lending in those ZIP codes, allowing more individuals to own homes, start a business or meet other credit needs.

Christopher Nolan, BJC director of anchor initiatives, says the investment provides an opportunity to impact health and well-being in under-resourced communities by focusing on economic health and addressing the racial wage and wealth gap. The investment helps address the causes of health inequities — such as lack of financial resources or access to housing.

"BJC started this depository relationship with Midwest BankCentre to address a historic lack of investment in the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County," Nolan says. "The deposits will help to create investment in these communities, including support for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and for individuals to realize their dream of home ownership.

"By meeting people in their neighborhoods and working collaboratively with partners to address disparities, we are striving to bring a holistic approach to improving physical, mental and financial well-being — ultimately leading to increased wellness and a greater overall quality of life," he adds.

The St. Louis Business Journal's Innovation in Philanthropy Awards program, now in its fourth year, celebrates local partnerships for going above and beyond standard philanthropic practices in new and creative ways.

Innovation in Philanthropy runs alongside the Business Journal's Corporate Philanthropy Awards program, which celebrates the region's generous giving by highlighting local companies that are making a philanthropic impact through cash and in-kind donations.

After receiving nearly 50 nominations for this year's Innovation in Philanthropy Awards, the Business Journal editorial team picked four winners. The winners, including BJC and Midwest BankCentre, will be featured in a special panel discussion April 20 at the St. Louis Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards and highlighted in a special awards section in the publication's April 21 issue.

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