Kansas City is on the rise — and organizers of KC Rising’s annual Horizon event want curious citizens to come see such growth for themselves.
“Horizon is a diverse gathering that isn’t tied to a single organization but owned by the region. … It is a celebration of all of us,” said Meryl Dillman, program manager, teasing the May 11 event, which is expected to mark a unique moment in local history as it highlights ways the city has made (or plans to make) generational investments in its future.
The annual event returns to an in-person setting for the first time since 2019.
Save the Date
KC Rising’s annual Horizon celebration is planned for 4 p.m. May 11. Click here for tickets to the in-person event.
“KC Rising’s purpose is to achieve a shared vision of regional prosperity for all by aligning and accelerating community efforts for great impact,” Dillman continued.
“There is so much great work going on in our region to celebrate, align, amplify, and accelerate.”
Efforts include addressing challenges of the region — such as connectivity, access to education, and economic identity — head-on and identifying actionable solutions and inspiring systemic change that can further its future and grow its economy, she said.
Equity will drive such a conversation, a primary reason the organization’s CEO-to-CEO Challenge will be front and center during the event, calling on local business leaders to subscribe to supply diversity efforts that can strengthen the region, Dillman added.
The CEO-to-CEO Challenge encourages and empowers corporate decision makers to increase purchases from diverse small businesses — and urging others to do the same — while also helping those leaders develop supplier diversity initiatives for the long haul, Startland News reported last month.
It’s a process meant to showcase action, not just words, said Neal Sharma, co-chair of KC Rising.
“When you look at other thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in places like Silicon Valley, it comes from this great intersection between larger businesses and entrepreneurs,” Sharma previously said.
“[KC Rising] identified this lack of intersection as a long-standing weakness in the KC region; so we are collaborating with existing community efforts to accomplish that.”
The CEO-to-CEO Challenge is powered by Connectus Worldwide, KC Rising and KCSourceLink in collaboration with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Click here to read more about the challenge.
The organization is expected to announce new components of the challenge during the event, Dillman said.
Click here to read more about the launch of the CEO to CEO Challenge.
Horizon is also expected to share findings of a recently released KC Rising quality of life report, compiled in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
“Nearly one out of four (24 percent) people could see themselves leaving the region in the next five years. That number is almost one out of three (31 percent) for Black people. A decline in a sense of belonging both economically and socially is contributing to this trend,” a promotional piece for the report reads.
“In the recent Quality of Life survey, 43 percent of Black respondents indicate racial discrimination as a barrier to a well-paying job in KC. When asked, people of color were more likely to cite concepts such as “explicit discrimination, higher bars for experience, and access to quality jobs” as issues in the workplace and ability to grow professionally.”
But a sense of community optimism remains, KC Rising said, and calls to action will be made during the event.
“We are making intentional decisions today that will shape the future of our region and our vision to grow the economy and include everyone,” Dillman added. The event is set for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 11 at The View at Briarcliff. Click here to register.