FBI St. Louis
St. Louis Press Office
(314) 589-2500
February 8, 2016

FBI Honors Emerson for Its Ferguson Forward Initiative

William Woods, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI St. Louis Division, is pleased to present the 2015 Director’s Community Leadership Award to Emerson in recognition of its “Ferguson Forward” initiative.

Just one month into the unrest in Ferguson, Emerson announced it was donating more than $4 million to invest in young people to address economic inequities in Ferguson and North St. Louis County. In one year’s time, Emerson’s commitment to the community more than doubled to $8.5 million and 30 programs. The investments focus on four areas: 1) early childhood education; 2) jobs for youth; 3) scholarships for college and technical and trade careers; and 4) legal, financial, and accounting advice to help business owners start or grow their dreams.

FBI Special Agent in Charge William Woods (right) presents
award to Emerson Chairman and CEO David Farr.

At today’s surprise presentation at Emerson’s global headquarters in Ferguson, SAC Woods told hundreds of employees, “Unfortunately the world only saw the negative side of what happened in Ferguson. But in St. Louis, we know many people have worked tirelessly to help make systemic changes.” SAC Woods also said, “The FBI believes it’s important for others to see your example and to learn from it and to be inspired by it.”

On April 15, 2016, FBI Director James Comey will personally present the award to Emerson and other honorees selected by FBI field offices across the country at a ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In accepting the award on behalf of Emerson, Chairman and CEO David N. Farr said, “It is an honor to be of service to our community. It is part of our DNA here at Emerson—to provide support to the places where we live and work. Ferguson Forward demonstrates Emerson’s ongoing commitment to our North County neighbors. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished so far to help this community recover and move forward in a positive way.”

The FBI formally created the DCLA in 1990 as the principle means to honor individuals or organizations for their outstanding service to the local community and enduring contributions to the advancement of justice.

Past honorees (years not listed did not have a recipient):

  • 1990: Joseph Cunningham, former St. Louis Cardinals baseball player
  • 1991: Martin Mathews, Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club
  • 1993: The late Jean Leible, Neighborhood Activist
  • 1995: Pastor Harry Douma, Camp Penuel
  • 2005: Martin Mathews (two-time honoree)
  • 2006: Karen Aroesty, Anti-Defamation League
  • 2007: Pastor B. T. Rice, New Horizon Seventh Day Christian Church
  • 2008: Dave Sinclair, Dave Sinclair Auto Group
  • 2009: Bill Wilkerson, “Reach Out St. Louis!”
  • 2010: Dr. Stephen Bander, Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics
  • 2011: Anthony Thompson, Kwame Building Group
  • 2012: Kimberly Ritter, Nix Conference & Meeting Management
  • 2013: Angel Baked, a social enterprise program empowering inner city teens
  • 2014: Wehrenberg Theatres