Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Creating Space for Important Conversations

Commitment. Character. Action.

More than 9 out of 10 respondents said it’s important for the United States to try to reduce our divisiveness. Figuring out how to have a constructive conversation with folks on the other side would be a good start, most said.

– Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos poll December 2019

Founded to Make a Difference

With decades of experience in politics and law, Ambassador Allan Katz (Portugal 2010-2013) observed first-hand the increasing polarization of our two-party political system and the tribalization of Americans unwilling to talk to people with whom they did not agree.

Motivated to mitigate the chasm between extremes, Ambassador Katz founded American Public Square (APS) in Kansas City in 2013. Using civil discourse to bridge the partisan divide, APS engages in fact-based conversations about local, regional and national issues.

Learn more about APS’ impact in our 2023 Annual Report.

APS Team

Our Reserve of personal bonds and fellowship – is seriously depleted.

Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone

At American Public Square, we believe we must intentionally

      • re-build our personal bonds and fellowship
      • re-weave the frayed and tattered fabric of our community
      • re-commit to ourselves and our neighbors that we will face society’s most pressing issues together
Claire Bishop
Executive Director

Email Me


An experienced leader and organizational transformation expert, Claire believes in the power of community and advancing the missions of organizations. A proud Kansas City native, Claire has served as a marketing executive and board member in for-profit and nonprofit organizations.  A seasoned communication professional, Claire brings clarity, organization and passion to the APS community.

Alana Muller
Community Development Director

Email Me


Committed to relationship-building, entrepreneurship, leadership and community, Alana models respect, empathy and inclusion as tenants of a just society. A business owner, author and board member, Alana is founder of Coffee Lunch Coffee and KC Common Good, a 501(c)3 designed to give Kansas Citians access to hope and opportunity while reducing violence.

Cindy Johnston
Community Engagement Lead

Email Me


A former small business owner and business to business sales executive, Cindy brings operations experience, brand management and the desire to create an amazing member experience.

Tricia Maxfield
Civics Education Initiative Program Manager

Email Me


A lifelong learner, Tricia graduated from Kansas State University followed by the University of Kansas School of Law.  After living abroad and returning home to Kansas City, Tricia sought ways to give back to her community and country, which inspired her to earn a MEd and certification in middle school social studies, from Rockhurst University.  Before joining APS, Tricia taught 7th and 8th grade social studies.  Her passion for fostering critical thinking, civics engagement and media literacy skills for young people will come to life through APS’ civics education initiative. Tricia was born and raised in Kansas.

Robin Smith
Robin Smith
Marketing & Communications

Email Me


Bringing a background in organizational strategy and strategic communication at publicly traded and private corporations, as well as political and non-profit organizations, Robin’s colleagues tout her ability to understand audiences and reach them through communication and marketing campaigns, change management, and strategic programming. During her time as a William Jewell College undergrad, she developed deep respect for thoughtful discourse and critical thinking—something she has held onto it throughout her career and every day in her work with APS.

Board of Directors

Board Chair–Ambassador Allan Katz
Founding Co-Chairs–Peggy Dunn and Mary Bloch

Amb. Allan Katz
Board Chairman
Maggie Collins
Secretary of the Board
Bill Kort
Treasurer, investor
Rebecca Coulson
Program Officer at Hall Family Foundation
Ryan Bernsten
Ryan Bernsten
Writer, Author, Speaker & Creative
McClain Bryant-Macklin
VP of Policy and Impact
Judge Jon R. Gray
Judge Jon R. Gray
(Ret.) Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton
Sr. Pastor, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Mary Jorgenson
Community Volunteer
Ward Katz
Real Estate Investor
Tom McDonnell
Ret. DST Systems
Sue Nerman
Kansas City Art Institute
Greg Orman
Businessman, Entrepreneur, U.S. Political Reformer
Bill Pratt
Ret. Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Mary Sanchez
Mary Sanchez
Senior Reporter, Kansas City PBS
Dr. Rodney Smith
William Jewell College
Shaun Stallworth
Shaun Stallworth
Holman Schiavone, LLC
Jamila Weaver
Jamila Weaver
Chief Operating Officer, Mission Vision Project KC
Joni Wickham
Co-founder of Wickham James Strategies

APS' Academic Partner

William Jewell College

American Public Square at Jewell is proud to be formally affiliated with William Jewell College, a 170-year-old private college and academic institution. We recognize William Jewell as a Founding Sponsor of the organization, and as American Public Square’s academic home. APS at Jewell maintains an office in the Yates-Gill Union on the William Jewell campus.

Because William Jewell is more focused than ever on advancing critical thinking and preparing students to connect their thinking with their purpose, this formal affiliation is a perfect alignment.

APS and William Jewell’s teams partner on a number of key initiatives, including our Civics Education Initiative.

William Jewell College

Partner Organizations

The Bridge Alliance is a coalition of ~100 organizations working together to promote healthy self-governance in our democratic republic. Bridge Alliance members span ideological spectrums, but are unified to work efficiently, outside arbitrarily defined political lines. Learn more.

The KC Media Collective is a group of nonprofit and community-centered partners collaborating to make local news easily available, its coverage equitable and its operations sustainable. Learn more.