Saint Francis Ministries – an organization fostering healing and hope for children and families – is investing in a new national initiative to improve policy and advance change for children, families and society. Marlo Nash – an influential policy strategist whose 25-year career includes executive leadership roles in national non-profit child advocacy networks – leads Saint Francis’ Washington, DC office as National Director of Partnerships and Policy. In her new role, Nash helps spearhead collaborative efforts among Congressional offices, state legislators, federal and state policymakers, statewide and local human services organizations and advocates.
Nash most recently served as the senior vice president of public policy and mobilization for the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance), where she led the member network in multi-issue, values-based public policy and advocacy. She was the lead for the Alliance in support of implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First). During her career, Nash has been a strategic partner for hundreds of advocates, business leaders and nonprofit human services executives, providing consultation, training, technical assistance, and engagement campaigns that effectively advanced policy goals benefitting children, families and communities.
Nash joins the public policy and community engagement team headed by national child welfare practice and policy expert Dr. Page B. Walley. Together with Nash and other experts, the team will partner with a national network of stakeholders and clients on policy development, advocacy strategies, technology-driven solutions, legal consultation, systems change management, and service delivery programs. This work builds on Saint Francis’ experience in policy advocacy and program delivery in multiple states and communities.
“Saint Francis Ministries is on a mission to provide healing and hope to children and families,” said The Very Reverend Robert N. Smith, CEO. “Transforming systems through policy change is essential to our work. We’re elated that Marlo Nash joins us in our efforts to work hand-in-hand with partners and clients across the country who share a commitment to strengthening families and helping children reach their full potential.”
“Successful implementation of Family First across states is our initial focus,” said Walley. “The immense possibilities this new law ushers in will only be realized when state policymakers invest in drawing down the federal match and public systems are aligned in the best interest of children and their families. After conducting a national listening tour earlier this year to learn what state officials and leaders need, Saint Francis is responding with solutions for effective implementation of Family First and other ways to develop human potential.”
Adds Nash, “Saint Francis knows that well-built, integrated systems make a positive difference in people’s lives. Poorly constructed systems exact too high a cost to human potential and to public resources. Through collaborative work in DC and across the country, we can turn the expectations of Family First into tangible, life-changing results and construct other critical systems changes over time.”
Prior to her advocacy leadership at the Alliance, Nash amplified the voices of former foster youth as executive director of the National Foster Youth Institute and advanced the critical policy voice of the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organization’s known today as the Partnership for America’s Children. She first moved to Washington, DC from Oklahoma to join United Way of America, where she oversaw the implementation of two national community impact initiatives for the 1,300-member network: Success By 6 and 2-1-1.
Before making national contributions, Nash spent 10 years with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, where she worked with the governor’s office, the state legislature, multiple state agencies, and a statewide network of public and private leaders to improve early childhood systems and address poverty, child welfare, and health care issues through the Oklahoma KIDS COUNT initiative. Early in her career, she held senior level positions in central Oklahoma’s child care resources and referral and the U.S. military child care system.