Clark-Fox Policy Institute launches

(From left) Gary Parker, associate dean for external affairs at the Brown School and inaugural director of the Clark-Fox Policy Institute; Bob Fox; Maxine Clark; and Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, gather before the institute's launch event April 19 in Hillman Hall.

The Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Policy Institute at the Brown School officially opened with a launch event April 19 in Hillman Hall.

The Clark-Fox Policy Institute is a center for public policy engagement. Its mission is to advance social and economic justice by working collaboratively to connect evidence-based policy solutions to public awareness, practitioner training and policy decision-making.

The launch event, “Amplifying Impact: Launching a Platform for Connecting Evidence to Policy,” was held in the Clark-Fox Forum.

“Structural barriers hold people in multi-generational, life-long poverty,” Gary Parker, associate dean for external affairs at the Brown School and inaugural director of the institute, said during his speech at the event.

“These barriers disproportionately impact communities of color,” he said. “We can and must deconstruct barriers to improve the lives of children, youth and the adults who care for them. The solution is policy. The Clark-Fox Policy Institute will work tirelessly toward the development and implementation of evidence-informed policies that advance social and economic justice and racial equity.”

The Clark-Fox Policy Institute was founded through the generosity of civic leaders Maxine Clark and Bob Fox, who, after enjoying highly successful careers as innovative entrepreneurs, founded the Clark-Fox Family Foundation in 2004. The Clark-Fox Family Foundation supports the economic development of the St. Louis metropolitan region through program development and investments in K-12, higher education, public health, immigration, social justice, community leadership and entrepreneurship.

In addition to the launch event, the institute has released its first policy brief, “Credit Where It’s Due: Establishing an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Missouri’s Working Families in Need.”

“The task of the Clark-Fox leadership team is to amplify the already incredible impact of the work of Brown School scholars through rapidly translating their research findings into evidence-informed policy,” Parker said. “Policy that is developed from empirical facts. The Clark-Fox Policy Institute is dedicated to partnering with policymakers from both sides of the aisle. We are building strong relationships, as well as a robust communications platform for the dissemination of our policy briefs to policymakers, elected and public officials. And we not only want to get this critical information into their hands, we want to partner on implementation.”

The keynote during the event was given by Jason Purnell, associate professor at the Brown School and director of For the Sake of All.

Other speakers included: Bethany Johnson-Jarvois, CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network; Provost Holden Thorp; Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School; Maxine Clark; Bob Fox; JaLisa Wines, Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis; and Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri.

“Gary brings a passion for  social, economic, health and racial equity to all of his work,” McKay said. “He continually seeks to put science as well as commitment to stakeholder collaboration into practice to effect positive social change. We are grateful to have him lead as the director of the Clark-Fox Policy Institute.”

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