Saint Louis Ambassadors

Volunteers promoting community service and goodwill in St. Louis...since 1965!

50 Years of History in 2015!

October 28, 1965
 ~ born on date for ~

St. Louis Arch

'Gateway to the West' 
Saint Louis Ambassadors

Film Credit in 2007 to: Living St. Louis - Monumental Reflections 'The Arch' produced by KETC TV-9 with story by Patrick Murphy

Photo: May 25, 1968

Mayor A.J. Cervantes and the Saint Louis Ambassadors celebrate the official 

'Grand Opening' of the St. Louis Gateway Arch! 

50 Years of History in 2015!

  St. Louis City Mayor Alfonso J. Cervantes launched the Saint Louis Ambassadors as its Founder & Honorary Chairman on October 28, 1965, which is the same day that the construction of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was completed. The spellbinding ‘St. Louis Arch’ had finally arrived and our metropolitan area became proudly ordained as the ‘Gateway to the West’. Mayor Cervantes quickly garnered support from a very diverse group of men and women who were considered staunch supporters of the City of St. Louis. Two local businessmen, Cicardi A. Bruce and Ralph Turney, were among the first to be selected as Founding Charter Members of the Mayors new all-volunteer organization that would become prominently known as the finest advocate of ‘community service and goodwill’ in the City of St. Louis. The goal was to promote the ‘Gateway to the West’ city as a great place to live, work and start a new business…and that they did!

  Effective November 5, 1985 the Saint Louis Ambassadors helped establish the Small Business Coalition of MO (SBC), which was originally designed as an 'advocacy group' that launched a campaign called 'Keep the SBA Alive!'. Congress was proposing to eliminate the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is a branch of the U.S. Government that made loans to small businesses. President Ronald Reagan asked Congress to 'downsize...not eliminate' the SBA, which is exactly what happened. The SBA would no longer make direct loans, but they where rewired to guarantee bank loans for small business start-ups and growth firms that would help create new jobs across our country. By 1987 the SBC upgraded its name to the U.S. Small Business Institute (SBI) and continues to 'provide consulting, coaching and mentoring to small businesses and charitable foundations that need no charge.'  

  On March 14, 2002 the Saint Louis Ambassadors - - started a new public 501 (c) (3) charity that was established to reach out beyond the city limits of St. Louis and include the entire bi-state region. They named this non-profit the 1904 World's Fair Charitable Foundation - - and launched it at the top of the Chase Hotel with nearly one thousand attendees. Leading the effort was MO Governor Bob Holden, St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive "Buzz" Westfall, Archbishop Justin Rigali with TV 4 News Anchors Julius Hunter & Vickie Newton. The keynote speaker was Frank Ferrara, the President of the Saint Louis Ambassadors, who enthusiastically supported the foundations objective and read a Proclamation from Governor Holden appointing Cicardi A. Bruce as Chairman and Richard T. Pisani as President of the newly formed charity. Their goal was to organize an all-volunteer and diverse group of individuals from the entire Bi-State Region to host events and celebrate the ‘100 Year Anniversary’ of the 1904 World’s Fair & III Olympics throughout 2004 in Forest Park. Then, once that mission was successfully completed, the group was requested to continue and raise funds for the Forest Park ‘beautification program’, the St. Louis Zoo ‘special projects’ and other local charities, which continues to this very day.

  By 2008 the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation had built the most impressive Honorary Board in our region. Plus, the charity had developed into a very exceptional public relations arm for the Saint Louis Ambassadors and had expanded the original ‘community service and goodwill’ mission to always include the City of St. Louis and added its 15 surrounding counties. The foundation now has hundreds of volunteers and a multitude of groups as partners that help it promote the entire St. Louis Metropolitan Area, which is now the 18th largest economic engine in the U.S. with 2.8M residents, 193K businesses and over one thousand charities.

  To participate in the Saint Louis Ambassadors and/or the U.S. Small Business Institute as a volunteer committee chair or advisory board member you must be a member of the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation…the annual dues are $19.04. Please feel free to contact our Chairman, Cicardi Bruce, at 314-941-0779 (c) or our President, Rich Pisani, at 314-952-2640 (c) any time to set up a meeting to see how you can help as a volunteer, chair or co-chair a committee or become an advisory board member.

  Thank you for taking the time to review this summary of our three all-volunteer organizations. Also, please feel free to peruse our entire site to see how you can volunteer your time on many of our standing-committees to help both the Saint Louis Ambassadors and its 1904 World's Fair Charitable Foundation. You will create new relationships for yourself, your favorite charity and your company  while 'giving back' to your St. Louis community as a volunteer.

Cicardi A. Bruce                                              Richard T. Pisani

Chairman                                                                                                                         President

~ Our Organizations History & ‘Community Through Unity’ Plan ~

  On October 28, 1965 the Mayor of St. Louis, A.J. Cervantes, hosted a ceremony to simultaneously announce three milestones in St. Louis’ history. First, he proclaimed that the construction of the outside stainless steel shell of the St. Louis Arch was complete. Second, he declared that the St. Louis Region was now officially ordained as the ‘Gateway to the West’ And third, the Mayor launched the Saint Louis Ambassadors as an all-volunteer organization comprised of diverse individuals who were civic leaders that would promote volunteerism, community pride and goodwill on behalf of the St. Louis community.

  The Saint Louis Ambassadors [SLA] sponsored the initial debut of the U.S. Small Business Institute [SBI] on November 5, 1985 in a local, regional and national effort to ‘Help Keep the SBA Alive.’ Our mission is ‘to give continued support to small businesses and charities with consulting, coaching and mentoring…at no charge.’

  The Saint Louis Ambassadors also ignited the launch of the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation [1904] on March 14, 2002 with 1K attendees at the ‘Top of the Chase’. It’s original goal was to host celebratory events throughout 2004 in Forest Park with grass roots support from a diverse group of volunteers in order to celebrate the ‘100 Year Anniversary’ of the 1904 World’s Fair & III Olympics, which was a complete success. On January 1, 2005 our new mission became ‘to have our 501 (c)(3) all-volunteer public charity help plan events to support the Forest Park ‘beautification program,’ the St. Louis Zoo ‘special projects’ and other local charities.’

  Effective 2015 the new mission of the Saint Louis Ambassadors will be ‘to continue as an all-volunteer group of diverse individuals, move forward as a symbolic group of civic leaders and promote volunteerism, community pride and goodwill throughout the entire St. Louis Region.’

  On 1-3-15 the Saint Louis Ambassadors merged with its two related organizations, which are the U.S. Small Business Institute and the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation, launched the ‘Community Through Unity’ campaign. This effort will be led by our Sr. VP & ‘Community Affairs Committee’ Chair, Dr. Jim Logan, our SLA ‘Regional Affairs Council’ Chair, Rick Stream, our ‘Advisory Committee Chair, Rachel Hankerson, and our ‘Communications Director’, John Parker. Joining this team on May 4, 2015 is MO State Rep, Tommie Pierson, who is the Pastor of the Greater St. Mark Family Church and our new Honorary Chairman of the WFRG: Ferguson/USA ‘Hot Talk Radio.’ Additionally, radio and TV personality, Mark Kasen, has been elected as the WFRG Station Manager, Mark Moebius, a 30 year veteran of radio, has been installed at the WFRG Senior Advisor, along with Fran Capra who is the WFRG Executive Producer. This team will assist Dr. T.R. Carr who is a board member of the Saint Louis Ambassadors, the St. Louis County Police Commission and the Ferguson Commission to help him implement the STL Positive Change plan, which will be aired on WFRG and be presented to 300+ groups by our Ambassadors ‘Speakers Bureau.’ Our goal is to “help ease racial tensions and promote St. Louis as a good, safe, harmonious place to live, be educated and conduct business.”

Cicardi A. Bruce                                               Richard T. Pisani

Chairman                                                                                                                                                                              President