Mar 29, 2007    #044
Contact: Nick Barron

Bernstein joins rank of charitable elites

Since its founding, Kansas City has benefited from the charity of civic giants whose footprints serve as a yard stick for today’s leaders. Steve Bernstein, 2007 UMKC Spotlight Award winner, is one of those giants.

Steve Bernstein’s tireless dedication to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), and the community it calls home, lives up to the legacies of the past. His example paints the way for all of us to do our part in shaping this great city through our own civic commitment.

As senior vice president and chief operating officer of world-renowned advertising giant Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Inc., Bernstein uses his position in the community to further the cause of both Kansas City and UMKC, which he views as intricately linked: as one grows, so does the other.

“UMKC is such an important part of the Kansas City community,” Bernstein said. “UMKC should be, and is, an economic engine for this city.”

Bernstein was instrumental in the University’s first comprehensive national marketing campaign, “UMKC, A Great Place to Get a Life,” donating both his and his firm’s time and expertise.

One of the goals of the campaign, Berstein said, was to give UMKC and its city an identity.

“All great cities have great universities,” Bernstein said. “UMKC is really a gem for the city, that sometimes sits too quietly in the shadows of the metropolitan and it doesn’t have to.”

Bernstein is a trustee of UMKC; vice chair of the board for the Jewish Community Relations Bureau; member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee, board member for the Kansas City Zoo, Heart of America United Way, Camp Fire USA, Jewish Federation, sits on the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee, and a member of the Kansas City Sons.

The Bernstein story is a Kansas City story. Steve is the eldest son of Bob Bernstein, founder of Bernstein-Rein and a self-made man who came from humble beginnings as a graduate of Paseo High School. Steve humbly recognizes and appreciates the opportunities he has been given, using them to the advantage of his city and alma mater.

“Steve is one of those alumni you want to clone,” says Curt Crespino, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Constituent Relations. “He’s highly involved and in-tune with the campus, and when he sees a need, he asks the right questions and then he acts. The marketing campaign really elevated UMKC’s visibility to a whole new level, and for that, UMKC is in Steve’s debt.”

As Kansas City marches into the 21st Century, some may wonder if a new generation of civic giants will rise to meet the call of yesterday’s leaders.

“UMKC is graduating leaders every day. Some of the greatest leaders in Kansas City are probably on the UMKC campus right now,” Bernstein said. “I think you’ll start to see, in the next few years, more and more leaders stand-up.”

If the dedication of tomorrow’s leaders comes anywhere close to matching that of Steve Bernstein’s, UMKC and the City of Kansas City will continue to be “…a great place to get a life.”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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