Tyra Mariani

Tyra Mariani, president and chief operating officer of New America

The Just for Kids Community Conversations series returns to Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, 1000 N. Vandeventer Ave. at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday October 15 with Tyra Mariani, president and chief operating officer of New America, along with local leaders.

Based in Washington DC, for 20 years New America has been building a new kind of action and think tank: a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, national solutions network, media hub and public forum.

“I’ve been blessed to work on justice concerns with Tyra for years,” said Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “Deaconess is honored to host a leader of her caliber to share how New America is listening and leveraging local innovation to advance public policy to improve people’s lives.”

New America’s approach to public problem-solving listens to what people actually need and then includes the people policies are intended to help or serve in every iteration of the policy-making process.

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, including the President's My Brother's Keeper initiative and RESPECT, an effort to elevate and transform the teaching profession.

The forum will also feature the release of the Missouri Children's Budget: a multi-issue advocacy tool, developed by Deaconess and Missouri Budget Project, that puts forth a bold vision of investments child-centered public policy would require in Missouri. This is an advocacy tool that has been developed through collaborative listening sessions with youth and families, child advocates and policymakers over the last year, convened by Deaconess Foundation and the Missouri Budget Project.

“Every number in our state budget represents an investment in Missourians and in our future,” said Amy Blouin, president & CEO of the Missouri Budget Project. “The policies represented in this project show the many ways that we can invest in Missouri kids to give them the best start in life and the best shot at success, no matter their zip code.”

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