Center-Hosted Events

2019 Just for Kids (J4K) Community Conversations are forums designed to introduce our community action tank, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, to the St. Louis region and amplify Deaconess Foundation’s commitment to Building A Community Just for Kids, advancing the work of child advocates through public policy and racial equity. This series, first introduced in 2018, brings national leaders to St. Louis to hold forums designed to activate change for children in St. Louis. Each Community Conversation will bring timely insights on justice, equity, and well-being for children and leave participants with tools to apply these best practices in St. Louis.

Each event includes a networking breakfast available at 8:15 am, program beginning at 9:00 am and concluding by 11:00 am. 

Register to join us for one (or all!) of the Community Conversations here


October 15, 2019 - People Centered Policymaking

Tyra Mariani, New America

We welcome Tyra Mariani, President & Chief Operating Officer of New America. New America is a new kind of think and action tank: a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media hub and public forum. Highlights from their 20-year history include influencing federal policy relating to early childhood education, developing programs to help redefine care policy and pioneering the ASPIRE Act. New America’s approach to public problem solving is detailed a recent piece in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Prior to New America, Mariani was Chief of Staff to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education and Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. She helped shape policies and programs impacting education from early learning through college and career and led teams that took Administration priorities from vision to strategy and implementation: including the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and RESPECT, an effort to elevate and transform the teaching profession.

In addition to Conversation with Tyra, the October session will feature the release of the Missouri Children’s Budget: a multi-issue advocacy tool developed by Deaconess and Missouri Budget Project.

Public Problem Solving & People Centered Policy Presentation 

Built for Zero Presentation


November 18, 2019 - Service of Healthy Democracy

Joe Goldman, Democracy Fund and Democracy Fund Voice

As President of Democracy Fund and Democracy Fund Voice, Joe Goldman carries out the missions of these organizations ensuring that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people, and to help America build a stronger, healthier democracy.

Pierre Omidyar (founder and former chairman of eBay) created the Democracy Fund out of deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values. Democracy Fund envisions an American democracy that is healthy, resilient, and diverse. A society that respects the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of each individual and empowers each person to pursue and achieve the common good. A people that have the information they need to hold their leaders accountable and to actively participate in public life. And a public that is confident its voice is being heard and that democratic institutions are faithfully and effectively serving the nation’s best interests.

Joe will share the Fund’s perspective on essential elements and critical influences for healthy democracy and how the what the philanthropy is supporting to advance this framework. Conversation with Joe will be accompanied by announcement of Deaconess’ 2020 Policy Campaign Grant Funded Partners.


December 9, 2019 - Faith-Inspired Social Action

Jim Wallis, Sojourners

We welcome Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners, New York Times bestselling author and widely-recognized theologian.

Rev. Wallis a globally respected writer, teacher, preacher, and justice advocate who believes the gospel of Jesus must be transformed from its cultural and political captivities. He is a renowned speaker, regular international commentator on ethics and public life and is the author of 12 books, including American’s Original Sin, God’s Politics, The Great Awakening, and The Call to Conversion. He served on President Obama's White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has taught faith and public life courses at Harvard and Georgetown University. “Coach Jim” also served for 22 seasons as a Little League coach for his two baseball playing sons.

In his most recent book, Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus, to be published in September, he argues that our cultural and political crisis largely stems from how the American church has become disconnected from the teachings of Jesus Christ. As he has done throughout his career, his prophetic vision and pastoral wisdom both provoke and counsel, guiding us forward during this time of confusion and fear. He reveals how following the teachings of Jesus emboldens and empowers us to be not afraid, but to act in courage and hope.

Rev. Wallis will share reflections from his knew work and enter into conversation with local leaders about the intersections of faith and action. In addition to discussion of how to mobilize faith communities for community action, the Conversation will feature the announcement of Deaconess’ Rev. Buck Jones Memorial Grant for Tenant Organizing Funded Partners.