Going for the Gold:

Local Leaders Discuss a Shared Vision at Conversations

On August 25, the leaders of three institutions came together at the Danforth Center’s Conversations event to discuss a new enterprise that will change the lives of young people in our region.

The three leaders were Dr. Jim Carrington, president and CEO of the Danforth Center, Robert J. Jones, PhD, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic legend and founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.

More than 260 people attended the program with an additional audience watching via livestream. The evening’s discussion, moderated by Sarah Fenske, executive editor of Euclid Media Group, revolved around the partnership between the panelists’ respective institutions and their push to empower students across St. Louis through a new, groundbreaking education initiative.

Jim Carrington, PhD, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Robert J. Jones, PhD at the Danforth Center’s Conversations event. The focus of the event was the recent partnership of the three institutions represented in creating a new education initiative in East St. Louis.

Being partners with Danforth—they took a chance investing in us, coming across that river and investing in our young people, and trying to make a difference.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee,
Olympian; Founder, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation


Opening Doors

Recognizing that “education is everything,” as Jackie Joyner-Kersee said, the Danforth Center, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation joined forces to establish the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition (JJK FAN) Innovation Center. Located in East St. Louis, this new enterprise is dedicated to teaching young people about health, nutrition, agriculture, and STEM through engaging and equitable lessons and opportunities.

This project is the most important, exciting thing I’ve been involved in in 43 years of higher education.

Robert J. Jones, PhD,
Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Guests socializing at Conversations. Free and open to the public, our long-running Conversations series offers an opportunity for people to get together and learn more about our world. To see our full calendar of upcoming events and programs, visit danforthcenter.org/events.

Reaching New Heights

JJK FAN was founded on the idea that the key to transforming the community is by empowering the individual. That’s why the unique programs at JJK FAN won’t just educate, they will also inspire. Through hands-on research experiences developed the Danforth Center, JJK FAN will equip young people with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed in life – creating pathways for underprivileged students that lead to higher education, meaningful careers, and a stronger St. Louis region.

We’re here to deliver on a vision that Bill Danforth set forth for us, and that’s to make an impact on the St. Louis region.

Jim Carrington, PhD,
President and CEO, Danforth Center

Watch the Event
Conversations — The Future of Education

Media Sponsor

For information on sponsoring Conversations, contact Sarah Jennings, Executive Director of Development, at 314.587.1074 or email: sjennings@danforthcenter.org.

Help Create Opportunity in our Community

As part of our mission to improve the human condition through plant science, the Danforth Center works to inspire the scientists of tomorrow by providing STEM education opportunities for students across our region. By donating to the Danforth Center as part of our Grow Challenge fundraiser, you can help ensure these programs continue and change the lives of young people in St Louis. Give today.