The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is the highest honor the KC Chamber can bestow.
Presented at the Annual Dinner in November, the award is given “only to those persons whose civic contributions and achievements have reflected the insight, creativity and consciousness necessary to build and maintain a quality urban community.” The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is now recognized as the most significant honor bestowed upon a single individual by any organization in the metropolitan area.
The announcement of the award is a surprise – and each year presents a different challenge in making sure the unsuspecting award winner is, in fact, in the audience to receive it!
An indication of how times have changed: when the award was first presented in 1960, it was called the “Mr. Kansas City Award.”
Since that time, the list of award winners has grown to include dozens of men and women who have made a lasting and positive impact on their community.
Past Kansas Citians of the Year
2012 Kansas Citian of the Year
James B. Nutter founded his mortgage lending company in 1951. The Army veteran and Midwest native wanted to help his friends purchase their own homes with the comfort of personal touch customer service. Today, the company is one of the largest privately-owned mortgage banking firms in the nation, providing low-cost lending services in all 50 states. A constant advocate for consumers, Nutter was one of the first to warn homeowners against sub-prime and exotic loans.
The success of his company has enabled Nutter to personally donate millions of dollars to a host of non-profits, including Habitat for Humanity, Mayo Clinic, Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, Kansas City Central Library, Boy Scouts of America (as a boy he made the rank of Eagle Scout), Saint Luke's Hospital, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Wayside Waifs animal rescue.
Named for him are the James B. Nutter Sr. Family Information Commons at Ellis Library on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Missouri, and the Nutter Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center and Park in the urban core of Kansas City.
Nutter will receive a bronze statue by Kansas City-based, internationally-acclaimed sculptor Tom Corbin. The Chamber commissions local artists to craft the annual award. Corbin says his creation, titled Dance Moderne IV
, is an expression of Kansas City’s cultural renaissance, “from the building of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to the grassroots genesis of the Crossroads Arts District. The entrepreneurial spirit knows no boundaries as it thrives both in the Kansas City arts and business communities.”