Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis has named top businessman and humanitarian, L. B. Eckelkamp, Washington, and leading arts philanthropist, Cheri Fromm, as Variety’s 2018 Man and Woman of the Year.

Each year, Variety honors one man and one woman who play an active role in shaping the St. Louis community for the better. The list of honorees is a veritable Who’s Who of St. Louis.

Man of the Year

Previously awarded the “Outstanding Missourian Award,” Eckelkamp is dedicated to serving both his hometown of Washington and the greater St. Louis area any way that he can. He believes that one individual can truly make a difference.

Currently chairman and CEO of the Bank of Washington, Eckelkamp serves his local community through multiple organizations, including the St. Francis Borgia Parish and SFB Regional High School, Mercy Hospital, Four Rivers Family YMCA and more.

In a broader sense, he has served the Boy Scouts of America both regionally and nationally, and has been a trustee for multiple universities, including St. Louis University. Eckelkamp has also been involved with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Papal Foundation, served as chairman of the board for the Regional Business Council and has been a part of many St. Louis cultural organizations such as the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Woman of the Year

This year’s Woman of the Year is truly committed to the St. Louis community and the successful growth of its future, lending her support to many cultural organizations in the area.

Cheryl Fromm, or Cheri, is a longtime supporter of Variety St. Louis and Variety Theatre, as well as the “Kids on the Go” mobility program, and serves as a dedicated member of the Variety Board of Directors.

Outside of Variety, Fromm has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Sheldon Concert Hall, The Repertory Theater of St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo Friends, the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum. Fromm has also chaired or co-chaired numerous galas and committees for a number of these organizations, as well as the St. Louis Science Center, Opera Theater of St. Louis, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and The Big Muddy Dance Company.

In 2013, Fromm also co-chaired the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ major fundraising campaign.

“Both L.B. and Cheri are clearly committed to serving the St. Louis area and beyond,” says Brian Roy, executive director of Variety St. Louis. “They are more than deserving of this distinction, and this community is lucky to have them.”

Dinner With the Stars

Variety’s 2018 Man and Woman of the Year will be celebrated at Dinner With the Stars, Variety St. Louis’ premier black tie gala, on April 28. The inclusive Variety Children’s Chorus and iconic entertainer John Legend will also perform at the event, held at the Peabody Opera House.

Variety empowers children with physical and developmental disabilities, also referred to as children with special needs, and improves their quality of life. Variety’s programs highlight ability rather than disability.

This holistic approach gives access to critical medical equipment and therapies, along with innovative Camp and Performing Arts programs, which provide opportunities for recreation, socialization, and artistic expression. Children gain or maintain independence, boost socialization among their friends and family, demonstrate belief in themselves, and increase skills they need to engage their world as fully as possible.

L.B. Eckelkamp

PEO variety man of year