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PROGRESS AWARDS: Nominate a community member or organization

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The Missourian Progress Awards recognize the people who help make Columbia a great place to live and move us forward every year.

This is our fifth annual awards program designed to lift up people who are engaged in our community and who may not be recognized for their contributions otherwise. 

Award categories range from civic engagement to sustainability to arts — there's a category for everyone in our community.

Winners and nominees will be recognized at an event and in a special section in December.

Award categories

  • Progress in Education: Recognizes an individual educator, administrator or support staff member or a program at an educational institution who has made an impact on his/her/their school or community at large through innovative approaches to teaching, programs, community outreach or mentorship.
  • Progress in Health Care: Recognizes a health care provider who has made an impact in Columbia by delivering high quality and innovative care, supporting public health through outreach and education, and modeling responsible health practices and medical ethics.
  • Progress in Social Justice: Recognizes a community member or program that has made an impact in advancing the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in Columbia.
  • Progress in the Arts: Recognizes a community member who has made an impact by advancing the role of art and artists in Columbia. The arts can include music, theater, poetry, prose, paint, photography, sculpture or any other creative art form.
  • Progress in Sustainability: Recognizes a community member who has made an impact on environmental sustainability through innovative practices, education and continuous improvement.
  • Progress in Entrepreneurship: Recognizes a business owner or business owners who have successfully launched a startup or small business based in Columbia for at least a year. The recipient ought to reflect a commitment to their community and support fellow entrepreneurs.
  • Progress in Community Nonprofits: Recognizes a nonprofit organization that demonstrates progress in meeting needs in Columbia and Boone County through advocacy or long-term strategies, investment of resources, community dialogue and partnership.
  • Progress in Civic Engagement: Recognizes an individual who holds a volunteer, elected, appointed or staff role in government or civic organization and demonstrates a commitment to being engaged with citizens and upholds the ideals of open, fair and transparent local government.
  • The Sherman Brown Award: Recognizes a community member who, like its namesake, serves his or her neighbors, patrons or customers with the highest esteem and commitment to treating each and every person “like gold.”
  • Corporate Citizenship: Recognizes a firm with a presence in Columbia that demonstrates a commitment to community service and involvement by supporting efforts in education, the arts, sustainability, social justice or entrepreneurship.

How to nominate

You may nominate as many people as you'd like for as many categories as you'd like. Our nomination form will open on Sept. 15. The nomination deadline is Oct. 15.

The best nominations are a strong, single submission. Multiple nominations for the same person are considered but don't necessarily carry more weight. It's better to submit a nomination with input from others on the initial nomination letter.

All nominees will be notified, but nominators will be kept confidential. The winners will be announced at an event and featured in a special section in December.

Need inspiration? Here are our winners from previous years:

2020 Winners

Arts: Brandon Hall

Education: Janice Dawson-Threat

Social Justice: Andrea Waner

Civic Engagement: Keith McIver

Sustainability: Steve Schnarr

Nonprofit: True North of Columbia

Health care: Stephanie Browning 

Entrepreneurship: Dimetrious Woods

Corporate Responsibility: TIG Advisors

Sherman Brown Jr.: Lori Stoll

2019 Winners

Arts: Farah Nieuwenhuizen

Education: Eryca Neville

Social Justice: Susan Hart

Civic Engagement: Randy Cole

Sustainability: Kerry Poage

Nonprofit: City of Refuge

Health care: Verna Laboy

Entrepreneurship: Amanda Quick

Corporate Responsibility: Veterans United

Sherman Brown Jr.: Arminta Phelps

2018 Winners

Arts: Emily Edgington Andrews

Education: Tojan Rahhal

Social Justice: Don Day

Civic Engagement: Rose Wibbenmeyer

Sustainability: Patricia Weisenfelder

Philanthropy: Adam Saunders

Health care: Bridget Gruender

Entrepreneurship: Fontella and Lloyd Henry

Corporate Responsibility: Shelter Insurance

Sherman Brown Jr.: David Johnson

2017 Winners

Arts: Ed Hanson

Education: Angela Drake

Social Justice: Scott Dean

Civic Engagement: Brian Neuner

Sustainability: Quinn Cunningham

Philanthropy: Paul Prevo

Health care: Debra Howenstine

Entrepreneurship: Chrystal Graves

Corporate Responsibility: Central Bank of Boone County

Sherman Brown Jr.: Tom Oleski


Contact Director of Community Outreach Elizabeth Stephens at 573-882-9951 or 

Thank you for helping us honor those who move Columbia forward!