Our Mission

The Community Innovation and Action Center at UMSL conducts applied research, builds skills, and convenes partners to create whole communities.

Our Vision

We envision a metro region that creates whole communities for all.

A region of neighborhoods where residents reach their full potential and enjoy healthy lives; that build meaningful connections among neighbors; that have quality housing, economic opportunity, effective education, sustainable energy, efficient transportation, and vibrant public spaces; and that engage all parts of the community in decision-making and promote equity.

We envision neighborhoods with all of these attributes - neighborhoods that are whole communities.

Our Work

  • Foster powerful leaders and change makers.

  • Enhance effective and accountable nonprofit organizations and local governments.

  • Build strong partnerships and coalitions advancing community health and development.

  • Promote public policies and shared infrastructure that build whole communities.

Our Values


We build trust through respect, transparency, accountability and positive, measurable results. Trust is actively established and earned every day.


Celebrating and appreciating diversity is not enough. We work to create truly inclusive, whole communities - ones that seek equity and fairness. The center and all of its work will be community driven and community governed.


All can be innovators, creating knowledge, driving change and promoting new practices that build whole communities.


Our research, our creativity, and our service to the community is for everyone. We connect students, staff, and faculty to community work for everyone's benefit.


We listen first. It is everyone's duty and responsibility to listen with open minds, invite others into conversation, and create solutions that incorporate all elements of the community.