Community Builders Network Staff

Todd Swanstrom

 
Dr. Todd Swanstrom

As the Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), Todd Swanstrom has used the resources of his endowment to support the Community Builders Network (CBN). He has a master’s degree from Washington University and a Ph.D. from Princeton. He is the co-author of Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century, 3rd ed. (2014) and is co-editor of Justice and the American Metropolis (2011). Presently, Todd is doing research on neighborhood change in older industrial cities and the challenges of equity planning in fragmented suburbs.


Karl Guenther

Karl Guenther
Community Development Specialist

Karl Guenther helped to organize and launch CBN in 2011. He joined the Public Policy Research Center (PPRC) at UMSL in June 2011 as a Community Development Specialist to facilitate and staff a network of community development organizations in the St. Louis region. Before joining the PPRC, Karl worked at the Incarnate Word Foundation on their strategic initiatives in North St. Louis. He received a Master of Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where he concentrated on social and economic development and research. He also holds a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Truman State University.


Gary Newcomer

Gary Newcomer
Community Development Specialist

As a native of South St. Louis City, Gary Newcomer has always held a passion for exploring and strengthening the rich fabric of neighborhoods in the St. Louis region. He graduated from Boston College and later received a master’s degree from Saint Louis University in Urban Planning and Development with a research focus on alleys in St. Louis City. Before starting at CBN, Gary worked on historic redevelopment projects in St. Louis and Davenport, Iowa and specialized in the historic tax credit program. His background in urban planning and historic real estate development have informed his approach to community development and made him a strong believer in place-based solutions for promoting vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods.


Jenny Connelly-Bowen

Jenny Connelly-Bowen
Community Development Specialist

Jenny Connelly-Bowen joined CBN as a Graduate Research Assistant in 2016 and transitioned to a Community Development Specialist role in 2017. She has a master’s degree from UMSL in Public Policy Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Policy and Program Evaluation. In 2016, Jenny served as an intern for Rise Community Development and worked with Northside Community Housing on their marketing, fundraising, and community engagement initiatives. Prior to entering the community development field, Jenny spent over five years working in distribution, buying, and pricing at Save-A-Lot Food Stores. She has been an active volunteer in St. Louis for several years and is committed to cultivating a sense of place and purpose in her work.


Elisabeth Coats

Elisabeth Coats
Practicum Student

Elisabeth Coats is a first-year Master of Social Work candidate at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Her concentration is domestic social and economic development, and she looks to specialize in policy. Elisabeth received her undergraduate degree from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a double major in Psychology and Political Science and a minor in Dance. Elisabeth looks forward to gaining practical experience and insight with CBN as she learns how to effectively contribute toward community development in St. Louis.

 
 


Kathleen Redmon
Practicum Student

Kathleen Redmon is a second-year Master of Social Work student at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Her concentration is Domestic Social and Economic Development and she is specializing in Policy and System Dynamics. Kathleen comes from Louisville, Kentucky originally, but most recently from Washington, D.C., where she worked at an international public health NGO. After receiving bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2010, Kathleen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a western Ukrainian village from 2011-2013. Her professional aspiration is to utilize system dynamics and policy to better understand and influence the ways social systems in the United States create and restrict opportunity for people, with a particular focus on marginalized and vulnerable populations.