No-Strings-Attached $100,000 Prizes Awarded to Inaugural Winners Tara Raghuveer and Tricia Rojo Bushnell
KANSAS CITY – November 22, 2021 – The late G. Kenneth (“Kenny”) and Ann Baum of Kansas City have launched the Pinnacle Prize, a $100,000 annual award that recognizes and invests in KC’s young visionary leaders working in public and community service.
In its inaugural year, Tricia Rojo Bushnell and Tara Raghuveer have been named the Pinnacle Prize winners for 2021, each receiving a $100,000 unrestricted cash award.
The Baums created the Pinnacle Prize with a civic spirit, to help Kansas City reach its fullest potential by investing in passionate, dedicated leaders 40 and under working to improve the quality of life for all Kansas Citians – especially those who need help the most.
“As native Kansas Citians with a profound love for this community, my husband and I established the Pinnacle Prize to serve the young leaders of Kansas City – leaders who are making an impact within the community, often at personal sacrifice,” said Ann Baum. “With the Pinnacle Prize, we are recognizing and investing in the individuals so they can continue to be catalysts for change within Kansas City. After all, one person can change the trajectory of our entire community.”
2021 Pinnacle Prize Winners: Raghuveer and Rojo Bushnell
Tara Raghuveer, who grew up in the Kansas City area, is the director of KC Tenants, the citywide tenant union that works to ensure that every Kansas Citian has a safe, accessible and truly affordable home. Led by a multigenerational, multiracial, anti-racist base of poor and working-class tenants in the Kansas City area, KC Tenants operates based on the belief that those closest to the problem are the ones closest to the solution.
“It is extremely meaningful to be named a Pinnacle Prize winner – especially in its inaugural year,” said Raghuveer. “I’m grateful to the Baums for this investment and recognition, which will allow us to continue the important work we’ve been doing through KC Tenants.”
Tricia Rojo Bushnell is executive director of Midwest Innocence Project, a Kansas City-based not-for-profit organization working to free innocent people convicted of crimes they did not commit. Rojo Bushnell leads the organization and serves as its head attorney, representing clients in court and in clemency proceedings.
“There is great work being done across Kansas City by many extraordinary leaders and to have been selected as a Pinnacle Prize winner is incredibly humbling,” said Rojo Bushnell. “When you work to change the system every day, it can be hard to know if you’ve moved the needle. Receiving this recognition and support from the Baums encourages me to keep pushing forward.”
With the Pinnacle Prize, the Baums have funded an endowment that will allow the Pinnacle Prize to continue into the future. In addition to the two winners, this year three runners-up will each receive $10,000 and five semi-finalists will each receive $5,000.
“It was a longtime dream of Kenny’s to help build the next generation of Kansas City leaders who will make it even better than it is now. He felt strongly that the prize should give young people the opportunity to lead – that is of great value to them and the greater KC community,” said Baum. “I’m humbled to honor his memory and carry on his legacy through the launch of the Pinnacle Prize.”
Nomination and Selection Process
- A total of 34 Pinnacle Prize candidates were nominated by a diverse group of leaders throughout the Kansas City community.
- Nominated candidates were then evaluated by the selection committee who determined the semi-finalists and runners-up.
- To maintain confidentiality of nominators, candidates and the selection committee, the process remained anonymous to protect the privacy and confidentiality of candidates.
- After an intense interview process, two winners were chosen by the selection committee, which included members of the Baum family.
- Brandon Calloway
- Max Kaniger
- John Kearney
- Klassie Alcine
- Devin Hursey
- Rachel Jefferson
- Matt Kleinmann
- Brent Lager
About the Pinnacle Prize
The Pinnacle Prize was founded in 2021 by G. Kenneth and Ann Baum, a couple who grew up in Kansas City and generously supported the local arts, education and environmental conservation. The Baums created the Pinnacle Prize with a civic spirit to help Kansas City reach its fullest potential by investing in passionate, dedicated leaders 40 and under working to improve the quality of life for all Kansas Citians, especially those who need help the most. By celebrating these visionaries and spurring them on to future successes, the Pinnacle Prize aims to change the future trajectory of the Kansas City community for the better. Learn more at pinnacleprizekc.org.