In recognition of their efforts for St. Louis, Brauers receive 2013 Harris community service award​​​​​​​​

$50,000 cash contribution given to CHARACTERplus is matched by award recipients

​For 14 years, Washington University in St. Louis has had the honor of hosting the ceremony presenting the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award, given annually to a husband-and-wife team for their exemplary dedication to advancing the educational, cultural and civic institutions in the region.

The recognition, which comes with a cash contribution to the couple’s chosen charity, is part of the late Jane Freund Harris’ bequest. Jane and her late husband, Whitney, were for many decades leaders in philanthropic efforts in St. Louis, and the award celebrates and rewards those who embrace their philosophy of giving.

At the April 17 ceremony held at Harbison House, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton presented this year’s award to Stephen and Kimmy Brauer for their generous and enduring commitment to St. Louis-area organizations that provide critical support to the region.

The Brauers selected CHARACTERplus to receive the $50,000 prize. And for the first time in the award’s history, the awardees matched the prize.

CHARACTERplus is a character-enriching educational program implemented in more than 600 K-12 public schools throughout Missouri and Illinois. Coincidentally, the organization received the Harris Community Service Award cash contribution last year, donated by the late Sanford McDonnell, co-founder of CHARACTERplus, and his wife, Priscilla.

Among the many special guests gathered for the ceremony were the Harrises’ son, Eugene, and his wife, Lori; Whitney Harris’ widow, Anna; and the Brauers’ two sons, Steve and Beau, the latter accompanied by his wife, Suzy. The McDonnell family also was represented by Priscilla, her son, Randy, and daughter-in-law Veronica.

In his welcome, Wrighton lauded the decision by the award’s selection committee.

“I am delighted that Kimmy and Steve Brauer are receiving this award. I’m sure Jane and Whitney Harris would be pleased to see them recognized today for their contributions to advancing the culture and welfare of greater St. Louis. They have demonstrated the type of commitment and dedication that Jane and Whitney cherished so highly and demonstrated in their own lives,” he said.

“Through this award, Jane continues to influence the community in which she was so active and which meant very much to her.”

Wrighton invited Michael Loynd, chair of the selection committee, to join him in the presentation. Loynd began by congratulating the couple: “Steve and Kimmy embody the essence of the award, which is a husband and wife working together to support the St. Louis community.”

He cited both as tremendous assets to St. Louis, adding, “Through their tireless efforts, they have made a profound difference.”

Steve and Kimmy Brauer are native St. Louisans. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Hunter Engineering Co., a global designer, manufacturer and distributor of computer-based automotive equipment. After graduating from Westminster College in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. In 1971, he joined Hunter Engineering and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming president in 1980.

His career in public service began as a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army and has included appointments as honorary consul of Belgium and as U.S. ambassador to that country from 2001 to 2003.


Now in its 25th year of operation, CHARACTERplus is a nationally recognized initiative that provides educators with the resources to build positive character traits in young people. One of its premier programs, the CHARACTERplus Way, is so successful it has been added to the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Other programs offered are anti-bullying workshops, the state and national schools of character program, and the National Character Education Conference.