Founded in 2004, the Clark-Fox Family Foundation supports the economic development of the St. Louis metropolitan region through program development and investments in K-12, higher education, public health, immigration, social and racial justice, community leadership, and entrepreneurship. The Foundation prioritizes programs and investments that empower the end user and leverage each other for greater impact for our children and in our community.
CEO / Co-Founder
Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are nearly 500 stores around the world and over 225 million stuffed animals have been sold. In 2022, Build-A-Bear celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In June 2013, Maxine stepped down from her Chief Executive Bear role to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education and to invest in and mentor women and minority entrepreneurs. Maxine credits her teachers as her foundation for success—classroom teachers and mentors alike. To honor them she gives back. Her next “act” is making public education much more consumer friendly by creating more access for families and students to systems and supports to enrich each child’s learning experience. Launched in 2015, her first product, Blueprint4.com, is a free and easy-to-use mobile app designed to help ALL families navigate the best summer activities, pre-college programs and career options for their family. Her latest venture is the Delmar DivINe™—the transformation of a neighborhood eyesore into a multi-use and mixed income real estate development that opened in Fall, 2021. Maxine is also a Managing Partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis based fund created to invest in women owned businesses and a member of the Board of Advisors of Lewis & Clark Ventures, a St. Louis based private equity firm and is a trusted advisor and mentor to several women and minority owned businesses.
In 2008, Maxine Clark was named one of The 25 Most Influential People in Retailing by Chain Store Age; in 2006, she was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. Maxine was named one of the Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys and was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year; it was named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers “Hottest Retailers of 2004” and the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001 by The National Retail Federation. In 2018 Build-A-Bear Workshop was named to the FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For® list for the 10th year in a row. In 2017 Maxine was named to the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame and in 2019 was given the Missourian Award for her outstanding public service to Missouri.
In addition to her seat on the Build-A-Bear Workshop Board, Maxine is a recent past member of the Board of Directors of Footlocker, Inc. Ms Clark is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Barnes Jewish Hospital and its Goldfarb School of Nursing, the national Board of PBS where she is the Vice Chair of the Board, and an Emeritus member of the local Nine PBS Board of Directors and is an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis. She currently serves on the Boards of Operation Food Search and the Delmar DivINe. She is also Co-Chair of the ReadyNation CEO Task Force on Early Childhood, and she is a past board member of Parents As Teachers. Maxine is a past member of the national Board of Trustees of Teach For America and is on the local St. Louis regional board.
Maxine is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University and A Doctor of Humane Letters in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis and an Honorary Associates degree from St. Louis Community College. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”.
Chair / Co-Founder
A native of St. Louis, Bob served in The United States Air Force from 1962 to 1966. He graduated with a B.S. in Business and Economics from Drury University in 1968 and received his MBA from Saint Louis University in 1976. Bob served on the Board of Trustees of Saint Louis University from 2006 to 2022.
Bob and Maxine are founding sponsors of Teach For America and of KIPP Charter Schools in St. Louis. In 2006, they funded a new Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They also endowed the Chair of the Dean of Goldfarb School of Nursing and established a professorship in the name of Raymond and Alberta Slavin at Saint Louis University. In 2015, they funded the new Clark-Fox Policy Institute and Forum at the Brown School of Social Work and Public Health at Washington University and the Fox-Clark Civic Scholars cohort at the Gephardt Institute of Civic and Community Engagement.
Bob and Maxine received the 2011 Jane and Whitney Harris Community Service Award given annually to couples in the community who, through their public service, have greatly enhanced the St. Louis region. They were also honored with the 2013 NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, the 2013 One Hundred Black Men Educational Award, the 2014 Saint Louis University Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Leadership Award and the 2015 Better Family Life Civic/Community Award. In 2016, they received the Spirit of Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in St. Louis.
Bob is the Founder and Past Chair of the Board of Casa de Salud, a not-for-profit health and wellness center that welcomes new immigrants out of isolation and into the embrace of the community. It opened its doors in January of 2010, and today serves more than 14,000 patient visits annually providing both physical and mental health service to un and under insured immigrants from over 60 countries.
In 2011 Bob served on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Taskforce on Immigration for the Midwest. In 2012, he founded the St. Louis Regional Taskforce on Immigration and Innovation at the World Trade Center of the Joint Economic Partnership of St. Louis City and County which in 2013 launched The St. Louis Mosaic Project where he continues serves on its steering committee. Its mission is to attract and retain foreign individuals and families to live, work and thrive in the St. Louis region.
Bob is the Founding Chair of the Board of inspireSTL a not-for-profit educational initiative started in 2011. inspireSTL identifies bright, motivated, socio-economically challenged, middle school students in urban underperforming middle schools, helps them with academic preparation and access to the finest college prep high schools in the region, tutors and mentors them through high school and college with the goal of developing them into transformational community leaders.
He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Advisory Board for Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a magnet school in the St. Louis Public School District. Which in the 2022 addition of US News and World Report was ranked the 3rd best high school in the state of Missouri.
In 2006 Bob became a founding member of the Gephardt Institute and National Council for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University. He also serves on the Education Committee of the St. Louis Zoo Foundation.
In 2015 Bob launched the Clark-Fox Family Foundation’s Mass Incarceration Community Education Initiative which has presented its findings to over 7,000 community, regional and statewide officials with a focus on reducing mass incarceration and its negative impact on society.
Bob received the inaugural St. Louis Harvard Club Community Service Award in 2010. In 2011, he received the Hispanic Leaders Group Premio Esperanza Award and the St. Louis Award given to “the resident of metropolitan St. Louis who has contributed the most outstanding services for its development or… shall have performed such services as to bring great honor to the community.” In 2012, he received the St. Louis World Trade Center’s Global Ambassador Award and was inducted into the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University Smurfit-Stone Entrepreneurial Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2014, he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri Distinguished Humanitarian Award. Bob is the recipient of the 2015 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethics of Service Award at Washington University, and the Niagara Foundation 2015 Peace and Dialogue “Commitment” Award. In 2022 Bob received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cultural Leadership.
CFO / COO
Tina Klocke, a St. Louis native, serves at the Foundation as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. She is an accomplished finance and operations C-Level executive with a distinguished career and a record of success in the start-up and leadership of public and private corporations generating $30 million to $500 million in annual revenues. Hired during the start-up of Build-A-Bear Workshop as one of three original full-time employees, Tina is highly respected for helping Build-A-Bear Workshop become a leader in the retail make-your-own stuffed animal business. She excels at developing and advancing organizational strategy to spearhead revenue, profitability, and enterprise growth.
Since stepping down from her roles of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Build-A-Bear Workshop in 2015, Tina has continued to make an impact on the St. Louis region. She is a mentor for Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator where she uses her professional skills and experience to help budding businesses towards success. She has continued her mentoring past the accelerator program, such as she did with Bandura Systems now serving as an Advisor. She serves on a variety of boards supporting state and local educational institutions including Central Institute for the Deaf. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for Cor Jesu Academy, where she is an Alumna, and serves on the board for St. John Vianney High School where both of her children have attended. She serves on the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation Board in service to the University where she graduated with her B.S. In Business Administration, and received the Alumni Association Merit Award in 2009. Other honors and awards include being named one of the 25 Most Influential Women by the Business Journal in 2007, and various industry specific recognitions.
Director of Programs
Allie Cicotte is a native of St. Louis and serves as the Director of Programs for the Clark-Fox Family Foundation and Project Manager for Blueprint4SummerSTL. She graduated from Truman State University in 2011 with bachelor’s degrees in German and Spanish. Allie then joined Teach for America where she taught Kindergarten-8th grade Spanish, and then transitioned to teaching Kindergarten. While teaching, she loved working with students directly, integrating innovative approaches alongside traditional classroom curriculum, and learning new things about the educational landscape both nationally and in St. Louis.
She saw a bigger opportunity to support families, schools, and students through work with The Clark-Fox Family Foundation. In her role as Director of Programs she seeks to create research and products designed to create better experiences for all constituents, higher engagement, and successful children in the community.
Kerrie Murray is originally from Illinois, growing up in a rural farming community. In college during the summers she ran a park program for children 5 -16 years old. After receiving her degree in Healthcare Management from SIU Carbondale, she worked as a marketing coordinator for a physical, occupational and speech therapy company.
Kerrie then moved to St. Louis and has held several office and administrative jobs. She spent over ten years working in academics and student services working with both graduate and undergraduate students. In that capacity, she helped students with tutoring, course planning, career planning and financial aid. She was also in charge of the first- year student experience that helped high school students transition to college.
When the opportunity to work for the Clark Fox Family Foundation, Kerrie jumped at the opportunity to transition once again. She actively supports the operations and goals of the foundation.
Abbey Barrow, a native of St. Louis, serves as Program Manager, working to engage partnerships around the Blueprint4 platform. Abbey graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with degrees in English and Magazine Journalism. Following her graduation in 2015, Abbey joined the staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa working primarily on communications and resource development initiatives. While with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Abbey developed a passion for youth development and witnessed firsthand the power of out-of-school programming to help young people grow their skills and passions.
In 2019, Abbey joined the staff of Homeward, an organization pursuing systemic solutions to homelessness in the greater Des Moines community. She worked to bring together partners to implement a federal grant designed to prevent and end youth homelessness. Her work centered young people with lived experience homelessness, elevating their voice in the community to create change.
Now as part of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation team, Abbey looks forward to supporting youth, camp providers, and families in her hometown of St. Louis. In her role with the Blueprint4 platform, she will help provide connections to critical out-of-school resources, pursuing educational equity across the St. Louis region.
Assistant Program Manager
Sarah Blair is a passionate advocate for equitable education and community building in St. Louis. With a strong commitment to fostering awareness of Black history, she has dedicated the past five years to establishing the Missouri division of Remember The 400, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating communities about significant Black historical milestones.
Sarah’s journey in community engagement began during her youth when she actively participated in R.I.S.E. (Restoring Israelite Self-Awareness and Education), a community youth group. Growing up in St. Louis, tutoring and mentoring young women, empowering them to realize their full potential and strive for greatness.
Sarah firmly believes that Black history is an integral part of everyone’s history. For the past decade, she has been unwavering in her commitment to educating youth about the importance of representation. As a testament to her dedication, she is a BOSS Fellow, having completed the 2021 Action St. Louis Black Summer School, where she deepened her understanding of political analysis concerning race, class, and gender, all rooted in local history and the foundations of community movements.
Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. During her studies, she recognized the significance of creating inclusive environments where people of all races, ages, and ethnicities can thrive. During her first year as an undergraduate, Sarah co-founded, RAMP, a program bridging communication between the Kirkwood Board of Education and Black high school students. The program’s goal was to identify avenues for support and cultivate lasting success. She is excited to apply this knowledge to her role as an Assistant Program Manager where she aims to contribute to the development of vital community resources that empowers youth from diverse backgrounds to unleash their full potential.
Currently serving as the Community Outreach Lead for the Missouri branch of Remember The 400, Sarah remains at the forefront of educational advocacy and community development. Outside of her professional pursuits, Sarah keeps her creative spirit alive through her passion for art, photography, and film/videography.