In honor of Black History Month, Swope Health will host a series of community discussions, featuring Black leaders in Kansas City.
All events are free, online and open to all. Please plan on joining us.
Noon, Feb. 24 https://swopehealth.zoom.us/j/91975085077
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Congressman from Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District.
Rep. Cleaver is now serving his ninth term in congress, where he is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services; Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; member of Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets; member of Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; member of the House Committee on Homeland Security; member of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security; and member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
Cleaver was Kansas City’s first African American Mayor, elected in 1991 after serving 12 years on City Council.
During his eight-year stint in the Office of the Mayor, Cleaver distinguished himself as an economic development activist and an unapologetic redevelopment craftsman. He and the City Council brought a number of major corporations to the city, including TransAmerica, Harley Davidson, and Citi Corp. Cleaver also led the effort, after a forty-year delay, to build the South Midtown Roadway. Upon completion of this major thoroughfare, he proposed a new name: The Bruce R. Watkins Roadway. Additionally, his municipal stewardship includes the 18th and Vine Redevelopment, a new American Royal, the establishment of a Family Division of the Municipal Court, and the reconstruction and beautification of Brush Creek.
Cleaver has received five honorary Doctoral Degrees augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M, and a master’s from St. Paul’s School of Theology of Kansas City.
In 2009, Cleaver, with a multitude of accomplishments both locally and Congressionally, introduced the most ambitious project of his political career—the creation of a Green Impact Zone. This zone, consisting of 150 blocks of declining urban core, has received approximately $125 million dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds. The Green Impact Zone is aimed at making this high crime area the environmentally greenest piece of urban geography in the world. This project includes rebuilding Troost Avenue, rehabbing bridges, curbs and sidewalks, home weatherization, smart grid technology in hundreds of homes, and most importantly, hundreds of badly needed jobs for Green Zone residents.
Cleaver, a native of Texas, is married to the former Dianne Donaldson. They have made Kansas City home for themselves and their four children, and grandchildren.
Noon, Feb. 16:
Frank Ellis, founder of Swope Health. Frank Ellis served as founder, chairman and CEO of Swope Health Services. Originally named Model Cities Health Corporation, Swope Health Services opened in 1969 in the basement of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Kansas City. He and his dedicated board saw the need to provide primary health services to those who fell through the cracks of the health care system – the working poor.
That first year, with a budget of $100,000 and 20 employees, 2000 patients were served. As a true nonprofit entrepreneur, Mr. Ellis grew the organization and founded FirstGuard Health Plan in 1996. He grew the company after an initial $5 million in raised equity to more than $250 million in revenue and later sold it to Centene Corporation for $123 million in 2004.
During his 42 years as head of Swope Community Enterprises, Ellis has received local and national recognition for his impact as a nonprofit entrepreneur—effectively applying business principles and practices to address the total health and economic well-being of the indigent and working poor. He served as the Chairman of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where he was leading the efforts on the Chamber’s Big 5 Ideas to create a better business climate, create jobs, and to make Kansas City the most entrepreneurial city in the world.
He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master of Science degree in Public Health. He has postgraduate work at Harvard University School of Business and UMKC’s Henry Block School of Business and Public Administration. He is happily married to Dr. Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., and they have three children and four grand kids.
Today Ellis is the Managing Principal of PL Strategies, LLC, an executive coaching, management, consulting and investment services company. He also serves as senior search advisor to The Moran Company, an executive search firm.
Noon, Feb. 10:
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Bob Kendrick was named President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in March 2011. Founded in 1990, the NLBM is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America.
Kendrick is responsible for the museum’s day-to-day operations and the development and implementation of strategies to advance the mission of the 501 c3, not-for-profit organization. Since 2011, he has helped orchestrate a nearly $20 million turnaround that has helped the NLBM regain its vitality and financial stability.
Kendrick was responsible for the creation of several signature museum educational programs and events including the Hall of Game, which annually honors former Major League Baseball greats who played the game in the spirit and signature style of the Negro Leagues.
And while he doesn’t fashion himself to be a historian, Kendrick has become one of the leading authorities on the topic of Negro Leagues Baseball history and its connection to issues relating to sports, race and diversity. He has been a contributing writer for “Ebony Magazine” and the national Urban League’s “Opportunity Magazine.”
Noon, Feb. 3:
Dr. Kimberly Beatty, chancellor of Metropolitan Community College. Kimberly Beatty, Ed.D., began her tenure as Metropolitan Community College’s eighth chancellor on July 1, 2017. She was formally installed as chancellor at an inauguration ceremony on Aug. 24, 2018.
Dr. Beatty came to MCC from Houston Community College, the nation’s fourth-largest community college system, where she served as vice chancellor for instructional services and chief academic officer.
As the first African-American leader in the 105-year history of Metropolitan Community College, and the only African-American CEO in the Missouri community college system, “I live and walk in the truth of who I am each day,” Dr. Beatty says.
A champion of access and equity, she is devoted to the community college mission of providing access to higher education for all. “I am passionate about the community I serve and excited about the ability to provide higher education access to the underprivileged and underrepresented,” Dr. Beatty says.