Neidorff accepts Citizen of the Year award, announces endowment for McCluer South students

Neidorff accepts Citizen of the Year award, announces endowment for McCluer South students

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The Centene Charitable Foundation and the family of Centene CEO Michael Neidorff will endow a scholarship for a two-year program at Ranken Technical College for a student from McCluer South-Berkeley High School, Neidorff said Wednesday afternoon from the school’s auditorium.

Neidorff announced the endowment while accepting the 2017 award for Citizen of the Year.

The Citizen of the Year award is sponsored by the Post-Dispatch and the recipient is selected by a committee of past winners.

Previous recipients said it was Neidorff’s commitment and investment in the Ferguson community after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown that helped earn him the title of Citizen of the Year for 2017.

In 2016, two years after Brown’s death, Neidorff opened a $25 million state-of-the-art Centene office in Ferguson with a preschool for the employees’ children. The center now employs more than 200 people from the area, including interns from the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The company also donated more than $1 million to open a health clinic in Ferguson, and it was the largest private donor to help establish a jobs training center there.

“Ferguson has historically been a famous place. And then, it became infamous. It is now showing everyone that it can succeed and thrive again,” Neidorff said Wednesday.

Jay Boleach, the high school’s career and technology education curriculum coordinator, said the endowment is a tremendous opportunity for his students, particularly those who are interested in options besides college.

Neidorff toured the school last week and was asking about how his company could help students, Boleach said. He said the endowment cames at a time when there is a real need for skilled laborers.

No other details regarding the endowment were immediately available. Neidorff said it would be up to the school to develop the criteria for the scholarship.

Neidorff is at the helm of one of the nation’s largest insurance companies with annual revenue of more than $48 billion.

The company’s core business is managing states’ Medicaid members, or low-income individuals who qualify for subsidized health care through the government.

Centene now provides coverage to more than 12 million people in 29 states.

Samantha Liss • 314-340-8017

@samanthann on Twitter

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