Hallmark Executive Don Hall Jr. Headlines Pride Breakfast

Hall received the inaugural Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award at the annual event
Madeline McDonough, Don Hall Jr. and Chancellor Mauli Agrawal on stage. The large screen behind them reads "PRIDE" in colorful letters.

The annual Pride Breakfast at UMKC is a fundraiser, but it’s also a place to celebrate community and allyship. That’s never been more clear than at this year’s breakfast where the inaugural C. Stephen Metzler Pride Champion Award was given to Hallmark’s Don Hall Jr.

Metzler, a UMKC alumnus, was a noted philanthropist, HIV/AIDS activist, patron of the arts and business leader in the Kansas City community. He was involved in numerous Kansas City non-profits and organizations, including the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City and AIDS Walk of Kansas City. A believer in the power of community and connections to create change, Metzler often said he was “saving the world one cocktail party at a time.”

Don Hall Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors and former CEO at Hallmark, was awarded the Metzler Pride Champion Award for his support of the LGBTQIA+ community. During his tenure as CEO, Hall made Hallmark the founding corporate partner of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He was the first CEO to walk in the AIDS Walk of Kansas City and was instrumental in bringing diverse voices to the table across the civic landscape.

Leading a company that serves to foster and celebrate relationships made Hall even more conscious of the need to celebrate people from all walks of life.

“This awareness underscores for me how much harder we have to work for all people to feel valued,” Hall said. “All people need to love and be loved, laugh, celebrate, reach out to others.”

Hall credits Metzler with inspiring him from a young age. He knew Metzler as the older brother of a classmate when he was a child and said that Metzler was kind and affirming even back then.

“I drew inspiration from Steve my whole life,” Hall said. “He was enthusiastic and determined to build understanding. I can’t think of a better example at creating inclusiveness, building humanity and encouraging empathy.”

Since 2008, the Pride Breakfast has raised more than $600,000 to support LGBTQIA+ students at UMKC and serves as a way for the university to show support for, and commitment to, LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Funds from the UMKC Pride Breakfast are critical to support programs and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students — including the Pride Empowerment Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students who experience financial difficulty due to the loss of family support.

“This event serves as a meaningful reminder that you have champions,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal to students. “UMKC and our community see you, we care about you and we support you as you develop as students and valued individuals.”

Published: Oct 10, 2023

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