Jeanette Mott Oxford is Executive Director of Empower Missouri (formerly Missouri Association for Social Welfare), a 100+-year-old citizen organization. Empower Missouri (www.EmpowerMissouri.org) advocates for the well-being of all Missourians through civic leadership, education, and research. She was State Representative for a portion of the City of St. Louis from 2005-12.
Oxford has been an advocate, educator, writer, and organizer on issues of poverty, health, housing, racism, human rights, equality, and campaign finance reform in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri since 1983. She was executive director of Reform Organization of Welfare (ROWEL), a statewide anti-poverty organization, from 1991-2000 and founded the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums when use of tax dollars was proposed for a new Cardinals’ ballpark in 2001. That grassroots effort saved taxpayers more than $200 million and contributed significantly to a national trend away from publicly funded sports projects.
Oxford graduated with high honors from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1986 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary (1989) where she received a Niebuhr scholarship. Eden Theological Seminary also presented an honorary doctorate in humane letters to Oxford in 2010.