Hugh Zimmer turns Community Builder Award into student internship

The UMKC Foundation board member received GastingerWalker&'s annual Community Builder Award and gave it back to the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design as student internship


Nov. 19, 2015

The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design has a new student internship opportunity thanks to a donation from civic leader UMKC Foundation board member Hugh Zimmer.

Zimmer received the 2015 Community Builder Award from GastingerWalker&, an award the architecture firm gives annually to a client who has strongly impacted Kansas City through leadership and stewardship.

The honor grants the recipient a $7,500 donation to the charity of their choice. Zimmer transformed his award it into something bigger by creating an annual student internship within the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design.

Through collaboration and discussions with the department the Hugh Zimmer Equity Planning Internship Program was been established. Internships are required in the UMKC Urban Planning + Design curriculum.

The Hugh Zimmer Equity Planning Internship will be a competitive award and will place a student in a position with a local community-based organization. Students will be required to work 240 hours.

The Argentine Neighborhood Development Association will be the first community organization to staff an intern who has received this award. Faculty will nominate students who will then be interviewed by the community organization. Qualified students must be a resident of the Kansas City area and demonstrate a strong commitment to the improvement of urban neighborhoods.

“We selected Mr. Zimmer for the Community Development Award because he is a long-time steward of design and development in Kansas City and has significantly shaped the built environment on both sides of the state line,” said Kevin Harden, managing partner at GastingerWalker&.

Urban neighborhoods in Kansas City provide one of the most challenging urban planning and urban redevelopment opportunities in the region. Decades of concentrated poverty, disinvestment and decline have led to a landscape of vacancy, abandonment and deterioration that would challenge even the most organized group of residents.

Equity planning is an approach to public and neighborhood improvement that focuses on increasing the opportunities of those people and groups in society with the least access to resources, capital and opportunity. Introducing UMKC students to this approach will help grow communities.

“I am delighted to continue our support of UMKC and look forward to the success of the internship program,” Zimmer said.