Foundation Launches Missouri Opportunity Incubator to Drive Innovative Solutions to Help Missourians Thrive


Contact: Courtney Stewart
Missouri Foundation for Health
(314) 345-5505

Foundation Launches Missouri Opportunity Incubator to Drive Innovative Solutions to Help Missourians Thrive
New project establishes coalition of leaders from across Missouri, committed to the common good

ST. LOUIS, MO (February 28, 2019) – Missouri Foundation for Health is launching the Missouri Opportunity Incubator, a new project to discover and develop fresh ideas and innovative solutions to meet the needs of the state’s underserved families and communities. The Foundation is pleased to announce the 13 statewide leaders participating in the inaugural Missouri Opportunity Incubator.

A project of MFH, the Incubator is a diverse collective of Missourians from throughout the region who are known for being innovative thinkers, committed doers, and recognized leaders in their respective sectors. Each has been invited to come together to imagine new ways to strengthen the structures that sustain the well-being of Missourians. 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. Plans for the Incubator are designed in partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security.

“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,” said Bob Hughes, MFH president and CEO.

The Foundation will support Incubator participants throughout 18-24 months of convening, learning, and idea development by providing access to research, experts, and site visits, and ultimately, by funding promising pilot projects. The Foundation will host a kick-off convening for the participants in early March 2019 in St. Louis.

“The Missouri Opportunity Incubator will definitely broaden our network and expose us to different thinking within various sectors we have not yet included on the health issues that are most important to us. This initiative is meant to keep fresh ideas coming, as well as develop new partnerships and reach new audiences,” said Kristy Klein Davis, vice president of strategy and learning, and lead of the Incubator project.

In the fall of 2017, the Foundation commissioned research into Missourians’ public opinions about safety net programs which led to #TheNetBenefit, MFH’s ongoing communications campaign launched in June 2018. While research indicated broad support for such programs, the need for modernization was a recurring theme, leading MFH to pursue new approaches and foster new public and private sector partners to preserve, strengthen, and advance opportunity for all Missourians.

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

  • Carlos Vargas, President, Southeast Missouri State University
  • Charli Cooksey, Founder and CEO, WEPOWER
  • Charlotte Blank, Chief Behavioral Officer, Maritz
  • Desiree Coleman, First Vice President, Diverse Client Segments, Diversity and Inclusion, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Glenn Kage Jr., President, UAW Local 2250
  • Jeff Mazur, Executive Director, LaunchCode
  • John Jungmann, Superintendent, Springfield Public Schools
  • Michael Barrett, Director, Missouri State Public Defender System
  • Megan Morris, Foundation and Philanthropy Advisor, Bass Pro Shops
  • Perri Johnson, Captain, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
  • Susan Talve, Founding Rabbi, Central Reform Congregation
  • Travis Sheridan, President, CIC Venture Global Café Institute
  • Wendy Doyle, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of Kansas City

More information about the inaugural Incubator can be found here.


Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding.