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.
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 real estate development to open in 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 member of the Board of Directors of Footlocker, Inc. and privately held Big Dot of Happiness. Maxine is a recent past member of the national Board of Trustees of Teach For America and is on the local St. Louis regional board, an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis, The Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Barnes Jewish Hospital and its Goldfarb School of Nursing, the Board of Directors of Beyond Housing, the national Board of PBS where she is the newly elected Vice Chair of the Board, and the local Nine Network of Public Media Board of Directors. She is also a board member of Parents As Teachers, New America and a member of the Committee of 200. Maxine is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from 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 has served on the Board of Trustees of Saint Louis University since 2006.
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 Recent 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 12,000 patient visits annually.
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 which launched The St. Louis Mosaic Project in 2013 where he still serves on the steering committee. Its mission is to increase the foreign-born population in the St. Louis region so that by 2020, it has the fastest growing immigrant population of any major metropolitan area in the country and that goal was met four years early in 2016.
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 children in urban underperforming 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 bringing them back to their communities as transformational leaders. inspireSTL merged with Wyman Center in 2016 where Bob now serves on the Executive Committee of the Board. He also serves on the External Advisory Board of Collegiate School of Medicine and Bio-Science a St. Louis Public School District magnet school.
In 2006 Bob became a founding member of the Gephardt National Council for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University where he personally mentors both Civic Scholars and Goldman Fellows. He also serves on the Education Committee of the St. Louis Zoo Foundation.
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.
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 Strategic Partnerships & Programs
Michelle Miller joined the Clark-Fox Family Foundation in Spring 2020. As Director of Strategic Partnerships & Programs, she manages Foundation program staff and works to connect and build the capacity of individuals and institutions working to shape a St. Louis that is equitable and thriving. Michelle brings 24 years of advocacy experience and 15 years of professional work with nonprofits, policymakers, and philanthropy. These experiences have robustly tested and not dampened her belief that change – even within the most entrenched systems – is possible.
Before joining the Clark-Fox team, Michelle was a nonprofit consultant and previously served as the Director & Trainer of the St. Louis Coro™ Fellows Program in Public Affairs at FOCUS St. Louis. As an alum, it was her great joy, over several years, to train 50 full-time Fellows in systems thinking, project and team management, general semantics, continuous improvement, critical inquiry, and more. Between being a Coro Fellow and training Coro Fellows, Michelle was honored to help lead community and government outreach for Missouri Foundation for Health. A versatile team member, she managed a portfolio of grants and contracts (including projects focusing on policy, communications, and statewide systems change), cultivated relationships with policymakers and advocates, and collaborated with other experts to design and deliver capacity building training, including an advocacy workshop and experiential learning series.
While her professional work has focused primarily at the state and federal level, Michelle’s advocacy work started at the local and institutional level in her small hometown in Central Texas. Michelle moved to St. Louis to attend Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned degrees in history, painting, and biology – and slowly made peace with winter. She’s a proud 2006 Coro Fellows and 2013 Leadership Missouri graduate, seeks out opportunities for new learning and travel, and actively participates in her communities. Michelle serves on the boards of Nurses for Newborns and Seeds of Justice Network. She is a past board member for Washington University Alumni Board of Governors, Catholic Charities Advocacy Council, FOCUS St. Louis, Coro Leadership Center-St. Louis, and Missouri Nurses Foundation.
Zasmine Johnson, a native of St. Louis, serves as Programs Manager working with the Blueprint4SummerSTL program. She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Science with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she also obtained a master’s degree in Public Health. She worked as a peer advisor within residential life providing guidance to freshman managing the transition from high school to college.
She interned as a summer job coach for Paraquad helping high school students with disabilities gain independence through workplace training for job skill development. Zasmine previously conducted state-wide teen pregnancy prevention trainings and developed LGBTQ-focused inclusivity and cultural competency trainings as an adolescent health educator for the State of Missouri. She also was a lead child development teacher and volunteer soccer coach for the YMCA.
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.
Research and Data Associate
Allie Cicotte is a native of St. Louis and serves as a Research and Data Associate 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. Allie was previously the Senior Programs Manager for the Foundation, but has recently stepped into a part-time position. In her role as Research and Data Associate she seeks to create research and products designed to create better experiences for all constituents, higher engagement, and successful children in the community.