Meet Maxine Clark and Bob Fox
We’re willing to put boots on the ground because it’s how we believe St. Louis will get better.”
With the same enthusiasm that propelled the founding and leadership of their own companies, Maxine Clark and Bob Fox tackle their philanthropic interests in immigration, incarceration, and education.
Working with others to solve problems led them to learn about the St. Louis Community Foundation. “When an issue captures our attention, we work with others to study it, explore solutions, and take action,” says Maxine. “It’s how we handled our charitable giving plan, and it’s how we discovered the St. Louis Community Foundation.
Maxine and Bob’s story began in 1984 when they were married. The same year Bob launched NewSpace Inc., a St. Louis-based company that does residential and contract furniture as well as retail store fixtures. In 1997 Maxine started her Build-A-Bear empire from an office in his building. The two launched their foundation, The Clark-Fox Family Foundation, in 2004 when Build-A-Bear went public.
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, racial and criminal justice reform, community leadership, and entrepreneurship.
More recently, Maxine has focused on the Delmar DivINe, a project that took more than eight years to complete before it opened in late 2021. The Delmar DivINe was created with the goal of creating a social enterprise zone like Cortex but for social service agencies. Its 35 tenants include nonprofit, capacity-building, social innovation institutions that work to better the lives of children and families in the St. Louis region. These organizations address matters ranging from health and education to food service and finance.
“Our team at the Delmar DivINe is small, but we like to say we have the pulse of the community,” says Maxine, “We connect the dots for people and spend a lot of time with tenants. If they thrive and grow, so does St. Louis.”
Maxine and Bob opened a donor advised fund at the St. Louis Community Foundation in 2015 and partner with the Foundation for a portion of their charitable giving. “Our advisors work smoothly with the Foundation in regard to distributions and contributions,” says Bob. “Having a donor advised fund at the Foundation makes it incredibly easy to support local causes.”
Maxine and Bob do not take a passive stance in philanthropy. “We show up. We don’t wait for things to come to us”, says Maxine. “We engage in challenges and motivate people in the community. We’re willing to put boots on the ground because it’s how we believe St. Louis will get better.”