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Board — Forward Through Ferguson

Mosaic of Forward Through Ferguson board members, a diverse group representative of the St. Louis region's catalysts for Racial Equity.

Meet the Board Members

Josina Greene | Melanie Powell-Robinson | Adelaide Lancaster | Gary Parker | Dara TaylorZack BoyersAlicia Hernández |  Claire RippelElise Miller Hoffman | Natalie Self | Claire Schell | Lisa D’Souza | Seth Waite | Riisa Rawlins | Von Walker | Charlin Hughes 

Josina Greene

FTF Board Co-Chair, Josina Greene.

Josina Greene, MBA, joined the St Louis Community Foundation’s four years ago as the Donor Relations & Services Manager for the St. Louis Community Foundation, where she was responsible for stewarding donors/their grantmaking and served as a bridge between them and the non-profit work being done in the area.  Josina later transitioned to the Development sector of the Foundation as a Giving Strategist, where she is now responsible for ensuring that donors commit charitable assets for the benefit of the community.  She does this by cultivating and maintaining strong complementary relationships with donors and professional advisors, helping them to initiate a relationship with the Community Foundation to address the donor’s charitable giving needs.

Josina is dedicated to inspiring purposeful philanthropy that connects community and donors to build and preserve a more equitable and vibrant region.  Josina is the Board Co-Chair for Forward Through Ferguson (member, 2019 – current) and a Board member for the St. Louis Council of Charitable Gift Planners.  She 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/o 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 are proud parents of a daughter and son.

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Melanie Powell-Robinson

FTF Board Co-Chair, Melanie Powell-Robinson.

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.

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Adelaide Lancaster

FTF Board Vice Chair, Adelaide Lancaster.

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.

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Gary Parker

FTF Board Treasurer, Gary Parker.

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.

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Dara Taylor

FTF Board Member, Dara Taylor.

Dara Taylor is Managing Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) for the Missouri Historical Society (MHS). In that role, she works collaboratively with MHS staff to design and implement new, actionable, and measurable initiatives that create meaningful change through a culture of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Prior to joining the Missouri Historical Society team, Taylor worked for 12 years at Community Catalyst, the largest national consumer health advocacy organization in the country, as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. During her time at Community Catalyst, Taylor worked on national and state coalition building and consumer engagement. Taylor’s career is rooted in health and criminal justice reform policy and system change, having worked for the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Eastern District of Missouri Federal Office of Probation, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Taylor received a B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from Wellesley College, and a M.H.S. in Policy and Management from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Zack Boyers

FTF Board Member, Zack Boyers. Photo by Lindy Drew.

FTF Board Member, Zack Boyers.

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.

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Alicia Hernández

FTF Board Member, Alicia Hernández.

Alicia Hernández is the St. Louis Organizer with Missouri Jobs with Justice. She leads civic engagement campaigns to improve democracy and economic conditions for everyday people in Missouri. 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. She is also mom to Rosa Maria, a rambunctious toddler who can often be seen attending actions, rallies, or meetings with Alicia.

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Claire Rippel

FTF Board Member, Claire Rippel.

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.

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Elise Miller Hoffman

FTF Board Member, Elise Miller Hoffman.

Elise Miller Hoffman is a venture capital investor and startup executive with expertise leading digital health companies as an operator, board member, and investor. Elise has advised dozens of companies at all stages of the startup life cycle including idea generation, scale up, and exit. She serves as a General Partner at St. Louis-based venture capital firm, Cultivation Capital, and Chief Operating Officer of portfolio company, ImageMoverMD. She is a champion for inclusive economic growth and serves as Co-Chair of the Board of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective. Elise holds a BA in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. She and her husband Matt are proud parents to baby Madeleine Claire Hoffman, who was born in January.

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Natalie Self

FTF Board Member, Natalie Self.

Natalie Self, MSW, SHRM-CP is the Senior Vice President of Equitable Economic Impact at the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis, Missouri. In this role, Natalie builds strategies, capacity and partnerships to ensure Cortex leverages its 200 acre innovation community to narrow the racial wealth gap in the St. Louis region. Natalie brings an extensive background in building more equitable economies through cross-sector collective leadership, national grant-making and entrepreneurship support. Natalie’s previous roles include Executive Director of STEMSTL, a regional coalition that builds more clear, rigorous and equitable STEM learning; Program Officer in Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she managed the Inclusion Open grant portfolio, Program Manager at BioSTL, where she was responsible for the operations and evaluation of the BioSTL Inclusion Initiative. Natalie is also the founder of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective. Natalie is proud mom of 6 year old Lucy Mae Clay, with whom she loves to read, paint and go on hikes.

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Claire Schell

FTF Board Member, Claire Schell.

Claire Schell leads the Employee Experience team at US Bancorp Community Development Corporation, where she oversees strategy development and implementation for internal DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts, employee engagement programming, and training and development offerings. Prior to her work at USBCDC, Claire spent several years creating customized diversity and inclusion strategies, training and resources for organizations throughout the St. Louis community. She also serves on the national advisory board of Creative Reaction Lab, and is a member of the Racial Equity Fellows advisory board for Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work. She holds a Masters Degree in the Sociology of Religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and received her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Religion from Wellesley College. She is married to Luke and they have two kids, Quinn and Milo.

Read Claire’s story.

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Lisa D’Souza

FTF Board Member, Lisa D’Souza.

Lisa J. D’Souza is the Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Chair at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She focuses on litigation and other impact advocacy tools to address policies and practices that create barriers to equal opportunities in education, housing, health care, public benefits, immigration or other basic civil rights for individuals that our society pushes to the margins due to their lack of resources, race, disability, or other circumstances. Prior to her work at LSEM, Lisa represented migrant farmworkers as a staff attorney at Texas Riogrande Legal Aid, enforced federal employment laws as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, conducted Medicaid class action litigation and policy work as a staff attorney at the Tennessee Justice Center, and zealously advocated for the indigent accused as an assistant public defender with Nashville Defenders. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1996.

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Seth Waite

FTF Board Member, Seth Waite.

Seth Waite is an entrepreneur, technology leader, and experienced strategist. He is the President & CEO of Algrthm, a technology consultancy focused on helping leaders navigate emerging technologies and new business models. Previously, Seth served as the Chief Experience Officer and technology executive for the United Van Line and Mayflower moving brands. He also has founded and led multiple technology businesses and worked within software development firms for Fortune 500 clients.

Seth and his family are engaged with a variety of service organizations that include family focused community events, child safety & trafficking prevention, and faith-based service through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He believes no one should fall through the cracks and we all must listen, learn and serve each other so that all people can truly feel at home. Additional non-profit leadership includes Meals on Wheels, Singularity University, and Workforce Connections.

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Riisa Rawlins

FTF Board Member, Riisa Rawlins.

Riisa Rawlins is the Chief Operations and Strategy Officer for the St. Louis Regional Health Commission. She has served in leadership positions and as an independent consultant for various nonprofits in the St. Louis Region since relocating to the area in 2004. She has over 20 years of experience in cultural competence and stigma reduction, integration of primary care and behavioral health, and positive youth development which she employs in her professional and volunteer service on numerous local nonprofit boards and committees. Inspired by her parents and motivated by her 3 children with a 19.5 year age span, Riisa is committed to a visionary yet tactical pursuit of just and equitable systems. “My guiding priority is to create mechanisms and accountability that refuses to take us off the hook but reorients us to action. We know what is wrong – now is the time to create anew.”

Read Riisa’s story.

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Von Walker

FTF Board Member, Von Walker.

Von was born in raised in St. Louis. He attended the Riverview Gardens School District K-4 and the Ladue School District from 6-12. Von is currently completing his Student Teaching Practicum at Classical Junior Academy in St. Louis Public Schools. As Harris-Stowe, Von has been heavily involved in extracurricular activities. He has served as the University’s Student Government Association President, President of the Collegiate 100, an auxiliary organization of the 100 Black Men and is a member of the Semper Fidelis Pre-Law organization. Von was is also apart of the 2020 Cohort of the UNCF:United Negro College Fund Education Fellowship. Von is also serving as the Membership Engagement Director for the St. Louis Young Democrats. Von currently resides in the City of Ferguson and serves on the City’s Personnel Board. He also managed a successful campaign for a local School Board Director in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

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Charlin Hughes

FTF Board Member, Charlin Hughes.

Rev. Charlin Marie Hughes, M.S.W. is the LEAD Co- Program Manager at the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office. Her breadth of intentional and impactful work as a community leader, advocate and change agent spans more than 30 years. Charlin’s courage, creativity and capacity to inspire participation and collaboration have been and continue to be instrumental in making sure community voices are heard and community needs are met. Her limitless efforts have positively affected teen moms, the unhoused, those with mental illness and St. Louis’ community at large. Moreover, the unjust verdict in the Philando Castile case bolstered a need to help bridge the gap between police and community so as a result Charlin birthed Humanity in the Middle in an effort to do so.

She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree with a minor in Psychology including an emphasis on Trauma from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She also earned a Master of Social Work and certified in Non-profit Leadership and Management from the University of Missouri St. Louis as well. At this point in her career, we are not surprised by her efforts of excellence but rather warmed by knowing that she is committed to making the world a better place to live!

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