Mark Arnoldy, Henry Bloch, Pat Danner, Jimmie Edwards and Laura Ingalls Wilder will be inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame April 14.
The five inductees were chosen as citizens with a connection to the state of Missouri who serve as examples of global citizens by defining the essence of public affairs, and who have acted consistently for the benefit of others. Up to six recipients will be honored annually, with each induction class including up to one legacy award, which is being awarded to Wilder this year.
“We are proud to recognize this group of individuals for the positive impact they’ve had on the lives of people from around the world,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. “These honorees exemplify the characteristics of ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence. The state of Missouri, our nation and the world are better because of these individuals.”
Attend the induction ceremony
The induction ceremony will be held at the White River Conference Center in Springfield. The black-tie optional dinner event will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. April 14. Tickets are $40 and tables are $750. Tickets can be purchased online.
Mark Arnoldy is CEO of Possible, a nonprofit healthcare company that delivers high-quality, low-cost healthcare for the world’s poor. Possible delivers healthcare at a hospital, network of clinics and via community health workers and served its 300,000th patient in December. Arnoldy leads strategy, builds the team and develops partnerships to advance care for Possible’s patients.
Arnoldy formerly worked with a Nepali social entrepreneur on ways to treat malnutrition and created two businesses to fund nutrition programs in Nepal. In 2008, Arnoldy founded NepalNUTrition in partnership with Himalayan Healthcare and Nepali Ashoka Fellow Anil Parajuli to produce and distribute a fortified peanut butter locally in Nepal as a solution to the severe acute malnutrition crisis. The company transitioned to Himalayan Healthcare in 2011.
Arnoldy grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and graduated from Kickapoo High School. His parents still live in the area. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder, completed Harvard’s Global Health Effectiveness Program and was a Fulbright Scholar to Nepal. He was named a 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation/World Economic Forum, a 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and a 2015 NYC Venture Fellow.
Henry W. Bloch is the co-founder and honorary chairman of the board of H&R Block, Inc., which he and his brother, Richard, founded in 1955. Bloch is a businessman, civic leader and philanthropist who has worked to improve the quality of life in his hometown of Kansas City.
In 2011, Henry and his late wife, Marion, established the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation to improve the quality of life in Greater Kansas City through thoughtful, innovative and responsible philanthropy. After his retirement from H&R Block, Bloch has worked on his many philanthropic endeavors including the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation and The H & R Block Foundation.
Among many achievements, Bloch has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Missouri Arts Council, Distinguished Friend of Education Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and as International Entrepreneur of the Year from UMKC.
Bloch holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan and he also has received honorary degrees from Washington University, the University of Michigan and several other universities. He served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corp from 1943-45, navigating a B-17 on 31 missions, and was decorated with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and a Presidential Citation.
Pat Danner is known as a moderate, independent Democrat who served in the United States Congress from 1993-2001 and opted not to seek a fifth term due to health issues.
Danner became involved in politics during the 1970s. From 1970-72 she served as a member of the Macon County Central Committee and as vice-chairman of the 6th District Democratic Committee. In 1973 she became district assistant to Congressman Jerry Litton. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to a sub-cabinet post as Federal Co-Chair of the Ozarks Regional Commission, the first woman to serve in that position. Danner served as a Missouri State Senator from 1983-93 when she was elected to Congress.
While much as her legislative work focused on the needs of her district, she was actively involved in a number of important pieces of legislation – most notably H R 2428 which addressed the needs of the hungry. In 1995, recognizing that many entities had ceased donating useable, but not saleable, foods to help feed the hungry – Danner introduced legislation to protect donors from civil or criminal liability, so long as the donations were made in good faith.
In 1996 Danner asked Missouri Congressman Bill Emerson to co-sponsor the bill. When Emerson passed away later that year, the Republican speaker told Danner that the House would pass the bill if she would change the name of her legislation to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. After passage by both chambers of Congress – HR 2428 became the law of the land. Today, food pantries, churches and others are able to acquire and distribute food to the hungry because of this legislation.
Danner graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University).
Jimmie M. Edwards has served as a circuit court judge for the 22nd Circuit Court in Missouri, serving St. Louis, since 1992. From 2007-12 Edwards was also the administrative judge of the Family Court and Chief Juvenile Court Judge.
After recognizing that his hometown of St. Louis was suffering from a large number of juvenile offenders dropping out of school and becoming lifelong criminals, Edwards resolved to attack the problem himself. He secured partners, cut through bureaucracy and opened the Innovative Concept Academy in 2009, the first school in America supervised by a judge and dedicated to the education of juvenile delinquents.
Edwards graduated from Saint Louis University in 1978 with an undergraduate degree followed by a law degree in 1982. He has presided over more than 500 jury trials and has handled important state litigation, including the Missouri Tobacco case. He has also served as a Special Missouri Supreme Court judge and is an adjunct professor at Webster University and Saint Louis University.
Edwards is an international speaker and has been featured in several national public documentaries including “Education Under Arrest” and “Blood Brothers.” People Magazine named Edwards its “Editor’s Choice National Hero” recipient in 2011, Ebony magazine selected him to its 2013 Power 100 most influential in America List and Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts presented him with the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence – one of the nation’s highest judicial awards.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pioneer woman Laura Ingalls Wilder was an accomplished author, mother, teacher, journalist and businesswoman. Born in 1867 in Wisconsin, Wilder began teaching at age 15 to help support her family. After three years of teaching, she married Almanzo Wilder and turned her attention to being a wife, mother and farmer. In 1894, Laura, Almanzo and daughter Rose moved to Mansfield, Missouri, where she lived until her death in 1957.
Wilder was the author of the autobiographical “Little House” kids’ books series – the basis of the television show “Little House on the Prairie.” Her books and the television show allowed millions of readers and viewers to experience what it was like to live in the pioneer days.
Wilder worked primarily on the farm until after World War I, when she became secretary-treasurer of the Mansfield Farm Loan Association, processing more than a million dollars in government loans. Wilder also wrote columns for the Missouri Ruralist, the St. Louis Star, McCall’s Magazine and the Country Gentleman.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Historic Museum in Mansfield is home to the largest collection of Ingalls and Wilder memorabilia.
Previous inductees into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame include Simone Bernstein, George Washington Carver, John C. “Jack” Danforth, Eric Greitens, Dr. Donald M. Suggs and Harry S. Truman.
Visit the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame website for more information.