KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In an inspiring testament to the power of young visionaries to change lives and transform communities, The Pinnacle Prize announces Josh Henges and Kyle Hollins as its 2023 winners. This prestigious $100,000 award celebrates their uncommon vision and unwavering commitment to tackling critical social issues within Kansas City. 

Hollins is the Founder and Executive Director of Lyrik’s Institution, a nonprofit founded in 2019 that empowers young adults through culturally competent behavior modification and cognitive-based programs that spotlight their passions in the creative arts. He has an affinity for identifying and guiding young adults to their passion/career that oftentimes are connected to the creative arts. This methodology empowers real-world learning through internships that create a pathway to the workforce. Kyle is committed to addressing the root causes of challenges faced by young adults that lead to destructive paths, such as drug use, violence, gang involvement, incarceration, and death. 

Kyle doesn’t only teach the behavior modification approach, but he is a product of it. When his daughter, his first child, was 3 years old, Kyle was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison. During his sentence, he took part in multiple cognitive behavior modification programs. Upon his release, he was determined to share the science-based methods he learned with others in his community so they could avoid a similar fate.  

Henges has devoted his life’s work to ending homelessness—and the stigma surrounding it—in Kansas City. As the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s first “czar” responsible for preventing homelessness, he creates and implements innovative community-wide strategies to assist the houseless and those at-risk of becoming houseless and creates strategies to reduce homelessness and generational poverty. Consistent with this lifelong mission, Henges previously led the Veterans Community Project, where more than 100 veterans successfully transitioned into permanent housing under his leadership. 

“Kyle and Josh embody the spirit of commitment to transforming our community that Ann and Kenny Baum intended to celebrate when they founded the Prize,” said Maurice Watson, spokesperson for The Pinnacle Prize. “Through their work, they’re committed to improving the quality of life for all Kansas Citians. Their leadership serves as an inspiration and a testament to the transformative power of individuals who are dedicated to strengthening our community from within.” 

The Pinnacle Prize was established in 2021 by Kenneth and Ann Baum, a generous couple who grew up in Kansas City and have a long history of philanthropic support in the region. They created the Pinnacle Prize with a civic spirit to help Kansas City reach its full potential by investing in passionate, dedicated young leaders aged 40 and under. By inspiring these visionaries’ efforts and rewarding their ideas, initiative, drive and persistence, the Prize aims to change the future trajectory of the community. 

“The Pinnacle Pod” Launches 

In an effort to further amplify the voices of these unsung heroes in the community, The Pinnacle Prize will be launching “The Pinnacle Pod,” a podcast series designed to dive deeper into the stories behind Kansas City’s most dynamic emerging leaders. The first episode will be released Dec. 12 and will feature Watson in conversation with 2022 Pinnacle Prize winner Brandon Calloway of Kansas City G.I.F.T. 

From subtle ripples to city-wide movements, Kansas Citians will be able to tune in on the second Tuesday of each month to listen, learn and be inspired. For more about the great work happening in the Kansas City community, and to be notified of new podcast episodes, sign up for The Pinnacle Prize newsletter at pinnacleprizekc.com. 

About the Pinnacle Prize

The Pinnacle Prize was founded in 2021 by G. Kenneth and Ann Baum. With a long-standing civic spirit, the Baum’s wish is to help Kansas City reach its full potential by investing in dedicated, passionate, young leaders working to improve the quality of life for all Kansas Citians – especially those who need support the most. Learn more at pinnacleprizekc.org.