Mission Hills resident Bert Berkley is one of this year’s recipients of the “Stand Up, Speak Out” awards given by the MainStream Education Foundation. The award is named for Robert H. Meneilly, a MainStream Coalition founder, to recognize local community leaders who demonstrate respect for the rights, beliefs and freedoms of all individuals and who have the courage to stand up for justice and equality, even when unpopular, and understand the importance of the political process in securing these rights.
Since the 1960s, Berkley has been involved in discussions with local municipalities about changing restrictive real estate covenants barring Jewish and black residents. Berkley also had the vision to found the Local Investment Commission (LINC), a Kansas City community collaborative to improve the lives of children and families. The collaborative involves numerous neighborhood leaders, business, civic and labor leaders. The organization oversees federal and state funds for social services.
Berkley is chairman of the board of Tension Corporation, the family owned business known as Tension Envelope. He has been involved in and led several trade organizations and has received a number of community honors, including the Distinguished Service to State Government Award by the National Governors Association. He has been board chair of the University of Kansas City, receiving the Chancellor’s Medal, chair of the Center for Business Inovation, and was a former board member of the Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Berkley is a graduate of Duke and the Harvard Business School. He served 42 months in the infantry in World War II and was called back to serve 17 months in combat in Korea.
Other award winners being honored by MainStream include Sandy Praeger, the outgoing Kansas Insurance Commissioner who also has served in the Kansas Senate and House. Praeger, a Republican, has taken a stand opposing fellow Republican Sam Brownback’s re-election.
Also named is a bipartisan organization called Reroute the Roadmap. Founded by three Republican and three Democrat women, the group is dedicated to protect children, rural communities and financial futures by influencing actions in Topeka. The founders include Laura Kelly, Sandy Praeger, Joan Wagnon, Rochelle Chronister, Sheila Frahm and Jill Docking.
The awards will be given during a dinner October 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Overland Park Marriot. Tickets are available through MainStream.