Outstanding Achievement in Community Building: Stephen Acree

Congratulations to Stephen Acree, Executive Director of Rise Community Development, winner of our 2018 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Building!

The Outstanding Achievement in Community Building Award recognizes an individual who:

  • Demonstrates a long-standing commitment to the community building sector.

  • Exhibits leadership, vision, and a commitment to action and results.

  • Has achieved an outstanding impact in community building policy, investment, or community change.

Stephen Acree_resized.jpg

Stephen Acree has over 30 years of experience in community development, with a career that spans both the public and private sector. Born and raised in St. Louis, he received his undergraduate degree from The George Washington University and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association with a law degree from Washington University. Stephen has a long history of experience in facilitating complex community development financial transactions, particularly with the structured development financing needed in areas that are more difficult to develop.

Stephen joined Rise Community Development in 1999 and has been Executive Director and President since 2002. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, of which he was the founding president. His other past roles have included being a member of the Board of Directors of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, where he also served as the organization’s President; member of the Advisory Committee of the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Fannie Mae’s Southwestern Regional Housing and Community Development Advisory Council, and Enterprise Community Partners’ Network Advisory Board; as well as Chairman of the Greater St. Louis Regional Empowerment Zone. Stephen has also spent time working in city government, serving as the Director of the City of St. Louis Community Development Agency.

Ribbon cutting for Lemay Homes, 2016

Ribbon cutting for Lemay Homes, 2016

In his time at Rise, Stephen has broadened their work beyond that of CDC funder and capacity builder, financial intermediary, and neighborhood developer. Rise is helping neighborhoods undertake neighborhood planning using extensive community engagement and racial equity best practices and plays a prominent role in publicizing the importance of community development. Rise is a designated local partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and has a robust data shop that has aided many local and regional initiatives. This includes CivTech St. Louis, a new civic tech and data collaborative established to carry on the civic tech work that Rise partnered in with other organizations to provide a tool that gives residents access to traffic ticket information and informs them of their rights through the YourSTLCourts.com platform.

Stephen has served on the Board of CBN from its beginning, ably filling the thankless job of Treasurer for many years. Throughout his long and storied career in community development in St. Louis, he has continually used his skills, knowledge, and experience to promote diversity, inclusion, and growth.


We hope you can join us to celebrate Stephen’s achievements and those of other community partners at our 6th Annual Awards Reception on April 26th!