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The Community Innovation and Action Center’s family tree has roots in the community and in the academy. The Center was formed by merging Social Innovation STL with the Public Policy Research Center.

Social Innovation STL was an entrepreneurial organization founded in 2015 to strengthen the social sector in St. Louis. SISTL launched with a focus on program quality, nonprofit excellence, partnership performance, and social purpose real estate. SISTL successfully incubated key programs in each of these areas during its first two years, during which time Wyman served as a temporary fiscal agent.

Social Innovation STL sought a permanent home. The PPRC and Social Innovation STL had a common mission, complementary roles, and aligned strategies. Social Innovation STL and the PPRC had worked closely together for several years before its formal merger in 2018.

The other side of our family tree begins when the University of Missouri-St. Louis established the Public Policy Research Center (PPRC) in 2000 to conduct applied research for civic, nonprofit, and public organizations in the St. Louis region and the State of Missouri.

The PPRC was a successor structure to the Public Policy Research Centers, formed in 1990 through consolidation of the administration of the Center for Metropolitan Studies, Survey and Applied Research and the James T. Bush Center for Dispute Resolution. Those three units had been established over the course of the first 20 years of the history of the University of Missouri-St. Louis to engage UMSL in basic and applied policy research and community service.

In summer 2018, the PPRC transitioned into the Community Innovation and Action Center to focus UMSL’s community commitment on developing powerful community leaders, strong community partnerships, effective nonprofits and governments, and public policies and shared infrastructure that build whole communities.