Distinguished Corporation/Foundation Award

About the Distinguished Corporation/Foundation Award

Corporations, businesses, foundations, and organizations have discovered that investing in Truman State University is also investing in their future, and the Corporation/Foundation Award recognizes corporations, foundations, and organizations for exemplary support to the University and its students. Some examples of collaborative efforts include recruitment of Truman interns and graduates, participation in lectures and seminars, intellectual exchanges, research alliances and financial support. The award is presented at the Truman State University Foundation Banquet held on campus each year.

2020 Recipient – Sunderland Foundation

Sunderland Foundation logo

The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years. He was a respected leader in his industry and was a principal and founder of the Sunderland Brothers Company, a leading distributor of coal, lime, cement and other building materials headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.

Assets of the Sunderland Foundation have been contributed by Lester T. Sunderland and his two sons. These assets were comprised primarily of shareholdings of the Ash Grove Cement Company. Ash Grove was led by four generations of the Sunderland family from 1909 to 2018. The dedicated and talented employees of Ash Grove built the company over several generations into the fifth largest manufacturer of Portland cement in the United States at the time they were acquired by CRH plc of Dublin, Ireland in 2018.

After more than seven decades, the Foundation continues to be led by Lester T.’s descendants. It has focused on supporting brick and mortar projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other areas where the Ash Grove Cement Company traditionally does business. Grants for planning, design, construction, renovation, repairs and restoration of facilities are considered. Areas of interest include youth serving agencies, health facilities, community buildings, museums, civic projects, energy efficient affordable housing projects and higher education. Grants are generally awarded to larger, well-established nonprofit organizations.

The Sunderland Foundation’s mission is to improve quality of life through reinvesting in communities. They have pledged a total donation of $1.1 million over two years to support the Greenwood Center renovation project. The Greenwood Center is an ideal venture for the Sunderland Foundation as they seek to foster “a stronger, safer, and more vibrant future for the community we serve.” The Distinguished Corporation/ Foundation award honors The Sunderland Foundation as these dollars take Truman one-step closer to repurposing a historic community building into northeast Missouri’s first inter-professional autism center.


  • 2019: A.T. Still University
  • 2018: Not Awarded
  • 2017: The Presser Foundation
  • 2016: EY
  • 2015: Shelter Insurance Companies
  • 2014: Northeast Missouri State Bank
  • 2013: Preferred Family Healthcare
  • 2012: Sodexo
  • 2011: State Farm Insurance
  • 2010: Preferred Family Healthcare
  • 2009: RiteCare Valley of Columbia
  • 2008: Truman Bookstore-Barnes & Noble College Booksellers
  • 2007: The Boeing Company
  • 2006: AT&T