Meet the Board Members
Phillip Boyd | Zack Boyers | Trina Dyan Clark James | Josina Greene | Alicia Hernández | Justin Idleburg | Adelaide Lancaster | Elise Miller Hoffman | Gary Parker | Melanie Powell-Robinson | Claire Rippel | Dara Taylor | Nelson Williams
Forward Through Ferguson’s Board Co-Chairs are Adelaide Lancaster and Nelson Williams. Read more about FTF’s seven newest board members and staff leadership changes in our February 5th, 2020 press release.
Philip C. Boyd is an Assistant Superintendent in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. He has also served in the Jennings School District, as a prosecutor with the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office, and as a Children’s Service Fund Board member, all experiences that contributed to his understanding of the critical needs of North County, where he lives.
“It’s kind of funny to think that as a nation we still struggle with the idea that there can be long term trauma that can occur in communities,” Boyd says. “Somehow we accept PTSD when it comes to people who have been in war, maybe even people that have been in really bad domestic violence situations. But, for some reason, we have not acknowledged the full humanity, therefore, the full experience of trauma for African-Americans. Why wouldn’t we say that because of this multi-century history of oppression and denial of opportunity that there would be some fairly significant residue that’s being left on us as a people, as a nation?”
Boyd has a B.A. in general studies from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Illinois. He’s a member of the Leadership Council for Ready by 21, another role in which he addresses the needs of youth in distressed communities.
Read Phillip’s story.
Zack Boyers is Chairman and CEO of the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, which makes investments and loans to finance affordable housing, economic development in distressed communities, and renewable energy generation and historic rehabilitation projects throughout the country. For almost 20 years, Boyers has worked to support the renewal of downtown St. Louis, where he lives and works.
“I am committed to this work, within my own organization, in the St. Louis community, and elsewhere in the United States. I believe the opportunity for Forward Through Ferguson to lead and work with and on behalf of people and communities that have been for too long marginalized, diminished, harmed and forgotten will be enriching and humanizing for all of us who live here. St. Louis is growing and changing and is driving hard to be a place that cares for and believes in all of its residents. I believe the world is watching.”
Originally from upstate New York, Boyers has a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.B.A. from Washington University. He serves on the boards of Invest STL, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Downtown St. Louis, Inc., Full Circle, and Crossroads College Preparatory School, and also serves on the National Advisory Council for the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. He was also a founder of Arch Grants and a founding member of the Alliance for Economic Development.
Read Zack’s story.
Trina Dyan Clark James
Trina Dyan Clark James is the Founder of Jamaa Learning Center, a full-service community charter school on St. Louis’s north side, where Clark James herself grew up. As a young person, she took part in St. Louis’s public school desegregation program, attending high school in much-wealthier Clayton, MO. She went on to study engineering, earning a B.S. from Georgia Tech and a master’s from Stanford, then rose in her career to a position in engineering management at Apple Computer at California.
In 2006, though, she decided to change course with the explicit purpose of returning home to St. Louis to contribute to education reform efforts aimed at fostering racial equity in the St. Louis community.
“I viewed the charter public school that I founded as not just a school but a village,” she says. “I believe that it takes a village to accomplish anything of substance in our community. For this region to be a true community where all people want to live, learn, work, play, and serve, we must seize this opportunity and build upon the honest and raw dialogue that has already begun, to put some action behind the words.”
Read Trina’s story.
Josina Greene, MBA, is the Donor Relations & Services Manager for the St. Louis Community Foundation, where she stewards donors/their grantmaking and serves as a bridge between them and the non-profit work being done in the area. She’s dedicated to inspiring purposeful philanthropy that connects community and donors to build and preserve a more equitable and vibrant region. Josina came to St. Louis, MO from Columbus, GA, where she served on multiple Boards/Steering Committees, worked at the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley as the Donor Services Officer, and at the Columbus Consolidated Government as the Public Information Officer/Calendar Clerk for Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. She is a proud graduate of Leadership Georgia (c/o 2018) as well as the Southeastern Council Foundations Hull Fellowship Program (c/0 2018). Josina has an innate commitment to the progression of ‘community’ and is devoted to contributing her experiences, talents, knowledge, and expertise toward the conquering of racial equity. She’s married to her best friend, Derrick, and mother to one son.
Alicia Hernández is the Eastern MO organizer for the ACLU of Missouri where she works to protect civil liberties through advocacy, organizing, and public education. As part of Alicia’s role at ACLU MO, she has created Court Watch, and volunteer-run program to keep St. Louis County Circuit Courts accountable and make our criminal justice systems more transparent, rigorous, and more equitable. She is also co-creator of the STL ICE Rapid Response Line, a response hotline that supports community members concerned about immigration enforcement in their neighborhoods. Alicia believes in the innate dignity, worth, and power of all people.
Justin Idleburg grew up in St. Louis’s West End – which he calls “the forgotten west side” – and attended school in both the St. Louis and Lindbergh School Districts through the Voluntary Interdistrict Transfer program. He hadn’t seen himself as a leader or advocate until he spoke up in a town hall meeting at the agency where he used to work, and a supervisor invited him to address state representatives in Jefferson City.
“When you see something that you’re passionate about,” he says, “you go all out. It’s helped open up avenues for me that i normally wouldn’t have gotten a chance to do if I’d of stayed quiet.” More importantly if where I live and have grown up is not right no one is stepping up. I’ll volunteer. I feel i owe it to the mothers of the city and the kids they’re trying to raise. 4th and long and I’m going for it.
Mr. Idleburg has since addressed many audiences, including internationally at the United Nations, and currently serves on boards at the City of Saint Louis Mental Health Board and Regional Health Commission as a consultant on advocacy for mental health awareness and community education. He provides research, insight.The Mental Health Transformation Grant from SAMHSA Continuum Of Care. During his membership, the board was able to secure this grant and provide permanent housing to more than 250 homeless veterans and single families.
Read Justin’s story.
Adelaide Lancaster is an entrepreneur, community builder, advocate, and writer. Most recently, she co-founded We Stories, a program that uses children’s literature to support family conversation about race and social justice. In its first year, the program has helped to galvanize more than 600 white and multi-racial families in St. Louis City and St. Louis County who are concerned about racism.
“I have seen the impact of the Ferguson Commission’s public education on the individuals and families I work with,” she says. “I have seen the storytelling help to change not just hearts and minds but behaviors and beliefs. I believe that political will can shift and is shifting. I see it happening slowly but powerfully every day.”
Originally from Philadelphia, Lancaster has a B.A. in educational studies and sociology from Colgate University, an M.A. in organizational psychology and a M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Columbia University, where she studied racial identity development and group dynamics. She was co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first-of-its-kind co-working space for women entrepreneurs in Manhattan, and is co-author of The Big Enough Company (Portfolio, 2011). She writes regularly for online magazines and blogs, including her own.
Read Adelaide’s story.
Elise Miller Hoffman
Elise Miller Hoffman, MBA is a Principal at Cultivation Capital. Managing the firm’s Life Sciences Funds I and II, Elise helps promising healthcare and biotechnology startup companies gain the funding they need to develop life-saving technologies, drugs, and medical devices. In addition to her work at Cultivation, she serves as an Investor in Residence and a Director of the Holekamp Seed Fund at Washington University in St. Louis, a Steering Committee Member of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective, and an Advisory Council Member at Arch Grants. Elise lives in St. Louis City with her husband Matt Hoffman.
Gary Parker, MSW, is Associate Dean of External Affairs at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also been named the inaugural Director of the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, which envisions a more just and equitable world in which policy solutions are impactful and innovative. The institute’s mission is to advance social and economic justice for children and the adults who care for them by working collaboratively to connect evidence-based policy solutions to public awareness, practitioner training, and policy decision-making. Prior to joining Washington University, Gary was Deputy Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. He is married to Jeremy Dewey.
Melanie Powell-Robinson serves the St. Louis region through her dedication to community service and advocacy for inclusion and equity both professionally, and personally. Melanie currently works as a lead consultant where she assists organizations with executive support, management and leadership motivation, diversity and cultural competence, equitable communications, and technical assistance. Previously Melanie served as an executive director of a non-profit, vice president of marketing, and as the executive director of communications and community engagement. She has advised leaders through national communication and diversity crises in several industries. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Management and Leadership, has won several awards, is an advocate for social change and serves the community as board member, mentor and activist. Melanie is married with two children.
Claire Rippel, MSW serves as the Community Economic Development + Engagement Specialist for the University of Missouri Extension. In this role, she develops programs and partnerships that strengthen community and foster equity through investment in resident leadership. Claire is dedicated to bolstering social capital, championing lived experience, and convening communities to solve critical civic challenges. Prior to joining MU Extension, Claire was the Director of Community Development at Grace Hill Settlement House. She co-founded the Park Picnic Project.
Dara S. Taylor, MHS is a proud native St. Louisan who is committed to advancing health equity and racial justice. She serves as Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Community Catalyst–the largest national health advocacy organization working with local, state, and national advocates to build a powerful movement for health equity and justice. A career rooted in health and criminal justice reform policy and systems change – prior to joining Community Catalyst, she worked for Missouri Foundation for Health, the Eastern District of Missouri Federal Office of Probation, and Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Alumna of Wellesley College and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dara is married with three children – her greatest joys.
R. Nelson Williams is an attorney with the law firm Thompson Coburn LLP, where he specializes in employment litigation. His work toward equity and inclusion began in college, where he was co-director of Duke’s Center for Race Relations. It’s work that “consumed his life in the best possible way,” and that he’s carried on since moving to St. Louis in 2007 through service on the board of Shearwater Education Foundation, on the diversity committee at his firm, and most recently, as a big brother in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
“As an employment attorney, I have a unique understanding of the ways in which the law, race, and equity often interplay both within and outside of the courtroom. While the law is my chosen field, I have a passion to create change and empower others to tackle the challenges that our community and nation face. Inaction is not an option.”
Originally from Waterford, CT, Williams has B.A. in Spanish and cultural anthropology from Duke University, and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law.
Read Nelson’s story.