People sit facing each other at long tables in a collaborative environment People sit facing each other at long tables in a collaborative environment
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Driving Innovation

In the fall of 2017, we commissioned research into public opinions about safety net programs throughout the state, asking Missourians about their views regarding programs like SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and more. (This data ultimately led to the Foundation’s first communications campaign, #TheNetBenefit, also featured in this annual report.)


The research showed broad support for safety net programs, but we also heard a lot about the need for modernization. We thought we’d try something new and include the perspectives of those working in other sectors, bringing forth assessments that perhaps had not entered into our thinking. We decided to engage both the public and private sector to preserve, strengthen, and advance opportunity for all Missourians by creating the Missouri Opportunity Incubator.

With the Opportunity Incubator, we’re daring to reimagine the ways Missourians can live happier, healthier lives. Through this effort we’re hosting a diverse group of 13 leaders from across the region, identified as innovative thinkers, committed doers, and recognized trailblazers in their respective sectors. The Incubator creates space for the inspiration and fusion of new ideas and collaborations and offers a place where innovative approaches to secure opportunity for all Missourians are designed, tested, and cultivated.

We’re hosting incubator participants through 18-24 months of convening, learning, and idea development by providing access to research, experts, and site visits, and ultimately, by supporting promising pilot projects. We don’t know exactly where this incubator’s work will lead, but we’re excited to find out.

By convening a diverse group of outstanding leaders to bring their expertise and ingenuity to bear on some of Missouri’s most intractable challenges, we aim to generate impactful solutions that will enhance the lives of Missouri families for years to come.”

Bob Hughes,
Foundation President and CEO

The participants, who stem from varying sectors including business, technology, criminal justice, and education, are as follows: