Meet the Board Members
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.
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.
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.
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.