Missouri Minute: Enterprise pledges $120 million to charitable causes; NGA to sponsor St. Louis accelerator

Hello, MBA readers,

Hoping to avoid its second bankruptcy filing in five years, Peabody Energy is cutting medical benefits for retirees over the age of 65 at year’s end. Now, some of those former employees are planning to file a lawsuit against the St. Louis-based coal company, which hopes to save about $175 million with the move. Another industry giant based in the St. Louis area has pledged to contribute $120 million to philanthropic efforts. The Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the charitable arm of the rental car company, plans to fund efforts to build racial equity and fight hunger. In Kansas City, several charitable organizations also have pitched in to combat food insecurity. A group of prominent local foundations agreed to match a $4.05 million federal grant to help fund food benefits for low-income individuals.

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NGA to sponsor new St. Louis startup accelerator
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Missouri Technology Corp. will launch an accelerator to help geospatial companies. Up to eight companies will be chosen for the first cohort, expected in early 2021. Capital Innovators, a St. Louis organization that has its own accelerators, will run the program. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Group led by Wendy’s bids for NPC International restaurants
A group of Wendy’s franchisees, led by the burger chain’s Ohio-based parent company, submitted a bid for the nearly 400 of the restaurant’s locations owned by Leawood, Kansas-based NPC International. The locations are up for bid as a result of NPC’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC philanthropies help secure grant for low-income people to buy produce
The area received a $4.05 million federal grant that provides matching funds on the purchase of fresh produce by people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The grant was made possible by matching donations from a group of about 10 local organizations and foundations. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC menswear store to close after four decades
Pinstripes, a menswear store that opened on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City in 1976, will close next month. The store’s owner said business has been slow since March as “guys aren’t dressing up” during the pandemic.​ (WDAF)

St. Louis architecture and design firm lands big projects
The firm NewGround has signed contracts with clients including Starbucks, Blue Nile, Dior and Panda Express. All are the work of NewGround’s Chicago-based retail team that established last year.​ (St. Louis Business Journal)

Hy-Vee restores special shopping hour for at-risk individuals
From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays, only those considered high risk for contracting COVID-19 will be allowed to shop at the supermarket chain’s stores. (Columbia Missourian)

Say that again

“All they want is someone to make them money, and then when they get to where they’re not useful to them, throw them away. I feel like they just threw us to the dogs so they could pay the people in St. Louis their millions of dollars a year salaries.”

That’s Robert Hill, a former Peabody Energy employee, expressing his anger at the St. Louis-based coal company’ decision to cut medical benefits for retirees over the age of 65, to save $174.5 million in costs. Hill, 76, used to work at a Peabody mine in Illinois, St. Louis Public Radio reports. Today, as he deals with heart problems and diabetes, he has $180,000 left in his retiree health account, which he uses to pay a $350 monthly supplemental insurance bill, among other medical expenses. Some retirees are planning to file a class-action lawsuit against the coal company. Peabody said earlier this fall that it would have to file for bankruptcy for the second time in five years if it doesn’t cut costs. The company said the cuts to older retirees’ medical benefits were designed to preserve those benefits for retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

Go figure

$5 million 

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have received a two-year, $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The donation will enable researchers to offer 50,000 COVID-19 tests to students and staff members of six special education schools in St. Louis County. The pandemic has disproportionately affected children with special needs who are at high risk of contracting the virus and developing complications, the researchers say. The grant is part of a larger, $500 million effort by the NIH to provide rapid testing to underserved communities.

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The Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the charitable arm of Clayton-based car rental company Enterprise Holdings, on Monday pledged $120 million to various philanthropic causes. Of that, $55 million will be put toward efforts focused on social and racial equity. The other $65 million will support the fight against hunger. The company tweeted about its commitment to young people of color in underserved communities, a cause identified by Enterprise employees as a priority in recent months, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

Hello my name is

Eventure Gifting

That’s the name of a Kansas City-based startup that provides custom gift boxes to companies and event or meeting planners amid the pandemic, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Though meetings and events have shifted online, the giveaways and gifts that have been a staple of those in-person events remain an integral part of the online experience, Eventure’s founders say. The company’s boxes are created to fit the objectives of the meeting or the event, and they can be integrated into the meetings to keep participants engaged. Dan Nilsen and Rob Adams co-founded Eventure. They are chairman and CEO, respectively, of Bishop-McCann, a Kansas City-based company that produces meetings, events and incentive programs.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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