Alumnus Jake Hollander Channels a Passion for Unity in St. Louis

Like many people living in Washington, DC at the time, Jake Hollander, SPA/BA ’13, watched the events in Ferguson, MO unfold in August 2014 and knew that something had to be done. Earlier, in the spring of 2014, the native St. Louisan had already explored ways to unify the region as a passion project. Following Ferguson, he built out a plan to help move his hometown forward. With momentum building, Jake made the tough decision to leave his job at a D.C. public affairs firm and return home to St. Louis to help bring his hometown together.

Today, his organization St. Louis Strong is working to champion a grassroots movement with the goal of unifying the St. Louis region and streamlining how the city and county operate. Currently, there are 91 different municipalities in the St. Louis region, including 57 police districts, 43 fire protection districts, and 81 different municipal courts. Because of the extremely fragmented nature of things, there is substantial inequality and inefficiency. 

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