Shawn Askinosie to be Honored as 2013 Humanitarian

Springfield social entrepreneur and philanthropist Shawn Askinosie has been selected as the 2013 Humanitarian Award recipient.

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Photo courtesy of Bob Linder

Askinosie, the founder of Askinosie Chocolate, will be honored at a luncheon at noon, Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Doubletree Hotel in Springfield.

He was nominated by the Junior League of Springfield for his efforts to feed and educate children in multiple countries and for using his business skills to educate Springfield students through programs at Boyd Elementary and Pipkin Middle School and Chocolate University for high school students. He also helps foster ongoing learning programs through a computer lab for kids staying at the Missouri Hotel, adjacent to his factory on Commercial Street.

Askinosie Chocolate’s business model is to source cocoa beans from farmers in Africa, the Philippines, Ecuador and Honduras and offer profit sharing, mentorship and resources to enhance production and crop quality. He also supports educational projects, food sustainability, technology improvements and reliable drinking water sources in villages in which he works.

A former criminal defense attorney, Askinosie also co-founded Lost & Found, a nonprofit agency in Springfield that focuses on grief counseling, particularly for children who lose parents at an early age.

The Humanitarian Award was founded in 1990 by Springfield donor Jewell Thompson Schweitzer to honor individuals in our region who place service to others as the primary motivating force in their lives. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce organizes a committee to review nominations and select the annual recipient.

This year’s selection committee was comprised of the Chamber’s Chair-Elect Jeff Schrag, Dan Friberg, Jennifer Kennally, Morey Mechlin, Ron Ponds, the Rev. Mark Struckhoff, and Dr. Robert Spence.

The winner receives a $3,000 cash award, which has traditionally been donated to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Tickets for the luncheon are available by contacting Winter Skelton, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, (417) 864-6199; or wskelton@cfozarks.org. Tickets also can be purchased online for $20 each at: www.cfozarks.org/donate. Please note “2013 Humanitarian” in the fund/program box.

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