American Public Square, Inc.
300 E. 39th Street
Kansas City MO 64111
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 601-1001
Mission Statement
American Public Square is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that seeks to change the tone and quality of public discourse. We organize programs that feature expert panelists and audience members with opposing views talking to each other, civilly, about controversial topics. Though these discussions are not intended to change minds, everyone walks away with a better understanding of the other side, a key step toward respect, compromise, and resolution.
CEO/Executive Director Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Board Chair Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Board Chair Company Affiliation American Public Square
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2016
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer Checks can be made out to American Public Square and mailed to 300 E. 39th Street #4F, Kansas City, MO. Please call Claire at 816-601-1003 to contribute using a credit card (email: We welcome in-kind donations, including venue space for programs, catering for our events, and volunteer aid. Please call 816-601-1001 or email to volunteer or donate in-kind.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement American Public Square is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that seeks to change the tone and quality of public discourse. We organize programs that feature expert panelists and audience members with opposing views talking to each other, civilly, about controversial topics. Though these discussions are not intended to change minds, everyone walks away with a better understanding of the other side, a key step toward respect, compromise, and resolution.
Background Statement
American Public Square was founded in 2013 and incorporated in 2014 by former United States Ambassador Allan Katz. Katz was concerned with what he saw as a growing lack of civility in communication between American citizens and an increase in hostile online dialogue at the expense of face to face and courteous discussions. This plays out every day across America.
The goal of APS is to create a safe environment for civil, fact based discussions on issues and, in particular, make this forum available in venues around the entire Kansas City metro area, to all demographics and populations. Ultimately, the process is what we do. APS seeks to be a mechanism to teach the community to talk to each other and to listen to differing opinions as a way to come up with solutions. This, in turn, can arm citizens with the tools to talk to and connect with each other in a civilized manner and to hold our leaders to the same standards, resulting in less gridlock and more solutions to the many issues affecting our community.
American Public Square programming centers on five major areas: Civics, Community, Education, Faith and Health. 
In addition to incorporating the previously mentioned "civility rules," American Public Square seeks to present outstanding and qualified panelists. They are chosen from a wide swath of backgrounds and locations. Area or regional panels may include local professionals, activists, citizens, and elected officials. If the topic is more national or global, we reach out to policy experts, researchers, academics, national figures or experts in various fields.
Past panelists have included national figures such as former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Senator John Danforth, Governor Howard Dean, Ambassador Ivo Daalder, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; experts from groups such as the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the National Council of La Raza; professors from schools such as MIT, Harvard, and Columbia; and community figures such as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. Kevin Yoder, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, Mayor Sly James, Councilwoman Jolie Justice and the Rev. Adam Hamilton.
Impact Statement
APS presents programs that address local, regional and national issues. We invite local and national experts, typically with differing opinions, to discuss contentious and polarizing issues in a civil, fact-based manner. We incorporate "civility rules," which include:
  • The presence of independent fact-checkers (typically research librarians) who respond to audience and/or panel requests for statements to be verified via computer fact-checking.
  • Civility Bells, which are actual bells we place around the room so that guests can ding them if panelists become contentious or uncivil during the event; if that happens, we pause and take a break, returning when everyone is calm and ready to speak in a civil manner.
  • A “Roving Reporter,” who gathers, curates and reads aloud questions submitted in writing by audience members.
  • A "no-clapping or vocal audience comments” rule during the panel portion of the program.
  • We close each panel by giving panelists an opportunity comment on "Now What?" and "So What?"  This is a chance for the panelist to share a parting remark and suggested call to action for those who concur with his/her perspective.
Needs Statement
APS programs cost roughly $25,000.00 to produce. Costs are directly related to:
  • Panelists (we cover travel expenses but do not pay panelists)
  • Venue rental (we seek “in-kind” when able)
  • Catering (we believe food is an integral part of the process)
  • Marketing
  • Program materials
  • Staff

In a typical year, American Public Square hosts 15-20 events, most of which are free and open to the public.
Additionally, as American Public Square is a "membership organization," we seek to grow the number of members. APS currently has close to 400 members; our goal is to increase membership to 500 by the end of 2018.  Membership levels are based on a donor's financial capacity and are selected at the individual's discretion.  Student memberships are also available at a deeply discounted rate.  
Service Categories
Alliances & Advocacy
Citizen Participation
Areas of Service
KS - Johnson County
KS - Wyandotte County
MO - Clay County
MO - Jackson County
MO - Platte County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
I am proud to share an update on American Public Square. During Season Three, American Public Square presented five “Dinner at the Square” programs in partnership with the local Kansas City Public Television station, KCPT; five “Conversation at the Square” programs, four of which were done in partnership with the local Kansas City Public Radio station, KCUR 89.3; and 11 additional events (one of which, “An Eye for an Eye,” took a critical look at the death penalty and was done in cooperation with The Lyric Opera, The Kansas City Public Library and KCPT. The resulting televised program was nominated for an Emmy Award.). The organization hosted its events in six different venues around the Kansas City Metropolitan area and our total attendance for the season increased by approximately 60% to 3,202. That’s progress!
For 2017-2018, as we enter our fourth season, American Public Square programming will center on the theme, "Our Town, Our Country, Our World." With that comes new developments and events focused on five topics: Civic Engagement, Community, Education, Faith and Health. Working with many partners and sponsor organizations from Kansas City and beyond, programs will be presented in a variety of formats. We will continue to branch out into communities by bringing these events into Kansas City, Kansas, Johnson County, Kansas, Independence, Missouri and various other locations in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
Join us! Whatever their politics or perspectives, encourage your family, friends and neighbors to come along. Everyone is welcome. We will continue to employ our Civility Tools including real-time Fact Checkers, Roving Reporters and Civility Bells while engaging in productive dialogue about issues that threaten to polarize our society.
APS hosts ~20 events per year. Events fall into one or more of several topic areas: Civic Engagement, Community, Education, Faith and Health. Below is a sampling:
“Up in Arms: Kids and Guns.” Panelists from both sides of the aisle explored the causes of gun-related deaths among youth, discussed the dramatic increase in recent years, talked about policy and education programs around firearms, and more.
“The Criminalization of Policy.” So many policies have “criminalized” that we now have neighborhoods of criminals. It's difficult for citizens to rise above the heft of “crimes” such as motor vehicle and housing code violations. This panel explored the varying perspectives on finding alternative solutions to the degree and severity of punishment for lesser offenses.
“Common Good: A Model for Community Engagement and Racial Equity.” This program explored building a city-wide vision of involvement in moving the Metro forward as a collection of communities bound together by a linked fate.
Program Budget $75,000.00
Category Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
Short Term Success of APS:
  • Feedback from prior year’s surveys reflected high rates of satisfaction by members and attendees. An example from the “Cops & Community: Policing and Community Relations” event, held at the Mohart Multi-Purpose Center near Linwood & The Paseo, reported a 94% rate of guests who felt they gained insight into the issue and 80% who reported they gained insight into how different sides view the issue.
  • APS increased our reach around the Kansas City Metro area based upon the locations of our events and we also expanded the age range of attendees and the diversity of gender and race.
  • Respondents at the “Aging in Place’ forum, held at the Kauffman Conference Center, reported learning about resources available that they would be able to access, resources they previously were not familiar with.
  • Attendees at our events also grew, from just over 2,000 during the 2015-2016 season, to over 3,200 during the 2016-2017 season, then to over 4,000 during the 2017-2018 season.
Long-Term Success
Long Term Goals of APS:
  • Increase guest knowledge of the event topics
  • Increase guest understanding of opposing views on event topics
  • Present events that are in locations and times that are easy to access for community members around the metro area
  • Broaden topics to include more Kansas City-specific issues while still presenting events that address regional and national issues as well
  • Increase diversity of attendees and panelists
  • The main product of our efforts is the process itself; our intent is to drive civility, understanding and awareness
  • Increase Corporate Sponsorships
  • Increase general and student memberships
  • Create a formal advertising campaign
  • Increase outreach to youth population and explore the creation of a youth civics program
Program Success Monitored By
All milestones to be met by the end of each season, which runs from July 1, through June 30 of each year.

  • APS will continue expanding the diversity of guests.
  • APS will continue engaging guests in pre/post-surveys to determine their knowledge before/after events, satisfaction with the panelists, level of knowledge gained with regard to the topics discussed and level of insight into how fellow citizens with opposing views see different sides of an issue.
  • APS will increase our reach throughout the KC area by using venues in WyCo & JoCo, KS, and the broader KCMO area.
  • APS will re-broadcast at least three programs each season in partnership with KCUR 89.3 and/or KCPT.
  • The KC Star newspaper will live-stream at least two programs through our new partnership.
  • Panelists will come from varied backgrounds, expertise & political perspectives, race/ethnicity & religions.
  • APS will maintain or increase current attendance.
Examples of Program Success
Public comments and feedback:
  • “I have enjoyed the programs a lot, learned a lot, been dismayed a lot, and changed some of my opinions. So glad you came to Kansas City!”
  • “Excellent example to have this kind of forum in other cities in United States. Please forward your example to other cities. Thank you for this work.”
  • “I believe that the format of the panel, the panelists themselves, the moderator, and even the audience maintained the mantra of civility in such an impressive manner. The event was not only enjoyable, but also edifying! I have definitely been further motivated to become better informed on the issues that society desires for voters to have an opinion on, and to pursue knowledge on those issues that society ought to desire to be addressed in more depth.”
  • “Great panel, very smart/enlightening, polite. Fabulous moderator. Thank you so much for putting this on. Good to see good conversation without confrontation. Hope to attend more events like this in the future.”
  • “We need more interaction of this nature - thank you.”
CEO Comments
It remains my privilege to have founded and oversee American Public Square as its President and Board Chair. What phenomenal progress we’ve made in a short period of time. Last year, for example, we presented more than 20 programs with record attendance on topics covering Civic Engagement, Community, Education, Faith and Health – all issues that impact every citizen on a local, regional, national and global stage. Here are a few highlights:
We are educating high school students about civil discourse in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council, the WK Kellogg Foundation and the McDonnell Foundation. Through this effort, we are able to interact with hundreds of students from high schools across the metro.
Additionally, our reach has expanded to include a large national audience by livestreaming several of our programs through the Facebook Live pages hosted by our partners, The Kansas City Star and the Health Forward Foundation.
We’ve taken programs to venues throughout the Kansas City Metropolitan area such as the National WWI Museum and Monument, The Mohart Community Center, the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, the Johnson County Public Library, Unity Temple on the Plaza, The Truman Library, and the Ball Center in Olathe.
Importantly, through our partnership with the Wm. T. Kemper Foundation, APS advanced its focus on civil, fact-based discussion by creating a series of fact sheets for most of our programs that were first opined on by panelists before being distributed to all registered attendees in order to begin our conversations from a common well of facts. All of the fact sheets are archived on our website and remain available to the general public.
To generate tangible takeaways from each of our events, we incorporated a set of closing questions for all panelists, “So What?” and “Now What?” as a means to give attendees food for thought on the actions they themselves can take to address the issues at hand.
Now, in our fifth year, APS programming is addressing topics impacting our community in the areas of violence, racial equity, health, politics and beyond. Suffice it to say, we are building momentum and I invite you, your family, friends and neighbors to be part of our movement. Irrespective of politics or perspectives, everyone is welcome at this table. Together, we will continue to bring together people from the corners of community to engage in civil, fact-based dialogue about issue of importance to us all.
Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Founder, American Public Square
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Term Start Sept 2013
CEO Total Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Experience Allan J. Katz served as Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Portugal from March 2010 until August 2013. Upon his return to private life, Ambassador Katz created Katz, Jacobs and Associates, LLC (KJA), joined UMKC as a Distinguished Professor with a joint appointment from the Bloch School of Business Management and the College of Arts and Sciences. He currently is the Chairman of the American Public Square which is modeled after The Village Square, a local initiative he started in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2006, and currently is growing into a national organization with chapters in every region of the continental United States. He serves as Executive Committee Chair of the Academic and Corporate Board to ISCTE Business School in Lisbon Portugal. He is a non-executive Board Member of EDPR and a board member of the International Relation Council of Kansas City. He is a frequent speaker and moderator on developments in Europe and on American Politics. Ambassador Katz received his BA from UMKC in 1969 and his JD from Washington College of Law at American University in Washington DC in 1974.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Co-CEO/Executive Director Ms. Ashley Beard-Fosnow
Term Start May 2018
Co-CEO Experience Ashley Beard-Fosnow is Executive Director of American Public Square. She spent several years working for various organizations in the Kansas City region including the UMKC Foundation, Missouri Jobs with Justice, and Mother’s Refuge. She serves on the board of Hope Haven of Cass County and on the Division of Youth Services Advisory Council of Missouri’s Department of Social Services. Ashley is an alumna of UMKC where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration.
Former CEOs
Ms. Kim K. JacobsJan 2014 - May 2018
Senior Staff
Title Program Director
Title Director, Communications and Marketing
Title Director, Community Development
Experience/Biography Alana Muller is a consultant and Community Director of American Public Square. In this role, she is responsible for providing strategic insights, community outreach for friend- and fund-raising purposes and project management. Alana is also a networking speaker, workshop facilitator, coach and author of the book, Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking and a companion blog, She is the former president of Kauffman FastTrac (a division of the Kauffman Foundation) and was an executive with Sprint. Alana has a BA in mathematics from Smith College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Paid Full-Time Staff 3
Paid Part-Time Staff 0
Paid Contractors 1
Volunteers 67
Retention Rate 66%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
Caucasian 3
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 1
Male 2
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ambassador Allan Katz
Company Affiliation American Public Square
Term Jan 2018 to Dec 2020
Board Members
Mr. Irvin V. BelzerBryan Cave
Honorable Peggy J. DunnCity of Leawood
Ms. Rebecca HallHall Family Foundation
Ambassador Allan J. KatzUMKC
Mr. Ward KatzDRS Management
Mr. Bill KortRetired
Mr. Leo MortonDeBruce Companies
Ms. Colleen McCain NelsonThe Kansas City Star
Mrs. Ann RegnierPhilanthropist
Mr. Paul Russellej4
Ms. Alicia Noonan StarrMartha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund
Ms. Joni WickhamCity of Kansas City Missouri
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Mary BirchLathrop and Gage
Ms. Monica CurlsTerracon
Dr. Denise Dowd MDChildren�s Mercy Hospital
Ms. Tamara FalicovUniversity of Kansas
Ms. SuEllen FriedReaching Out From Within
Rev. Dr. Wallace Hartsfield IIMetropolitan Missionary Baptist Church
Ms. Jenny IsenbergCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Ron JonesKCUR
Ms. Mary JorgensenCommunity Volunteer
Ambassador Allan KatzAmerican Public Square
Dr. Sofia Khan MDPhysician
Mr. Bill KortCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Janet MarkKauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Mr. Terry MatlackVantedge Partners
Ms. Martina McLarneyCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Mike McShaneEdChoice
Mr. Ramon MurguiaWK Kellogg Foundation
Ms. Sally MurguiaAttorney
Ms. Sue Seidler NermanCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Daniel RosenfieldOut Front Media
Ms. Elizabeth SitesUMKC
Mr. David SmithKansas City, Kansas, Public Schools
Ms. Cynthia SpaethCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Marvin SznelerCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Ursula TerrasiTerrasi Home
Mr. Wim van KlinkenCommunity of Christ
Dr. Wayne Vaught, PhDUMKC
Mr. David WestbrookChildren�s Mercy Hospital
Mr. Jerry WhiteColliers
CEO Comments
I attended my first American Public Square event in February of 2015 and was hooked immediately by the organization’s effort to encourage and cultivate an engaged, informed citizenry. I’ve been a member and volunteer at American Public Square for several years, including working to secure sponsorships and partners for the 2017 Evening at the Square event. I’m very excited about being part of American Public Square as Executive Director.
As our society becomes more politically polarized and tribal, I fear that we are being discouraged from participating in the conversations that inform public policy decisions. Diverse perspectives and input from all citizens allow the best ideas to rise to the top. And that’s what I love about our mission at American Public Square: we’re changing the tone and quality of public discourse through civil, fact-based conversations.
APS programs are informative and fun! We curate a space in which all members of our community can speak truthfully and substantively with those we do and don’t agree with. It is incredibly meaningful to be a part of an organization that protects the public square for future generations as a space for everyone, whatever their politics or perspectives. Please join us in our mission to advance civility in public discourse!
Ashley Beard-Fosnow
Executive Director, American Public Square
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $497,000
Projected Expenses $493,924
Audit Documents
2016 UMKC Audit
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2017: Financial data reported using the organization's internal financial statement. Did not include a balance sheet.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$248,655----
Administration Expense$0----
Fundraising Expense$0----
Payments to Affiliates$0----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.31----
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$0----
Current Assets$0----
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0----
Total Net Assets$0----
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets------
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount ------
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Comments Through June 2018, American Public Square operated on a June 30 fiscal year end.  Starting July 2019, the organization switched to a December 31 fiscal year end.  As such, the period from July-December 2018 will be considered as "stub year" and will be reported with 2019 financials.
Other Documents
2017-2018 Annual Report2017View
Organization Name American Public Square, Inc.
Address 300 E. 39th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Primary Phone (816) 601-1001
CEO/Executive Director Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Board Chair Ambassador Allan J. Katz
Board Chair Company Affiliation American Public Square
Year of Incorporation 2016