Empower Missouri is renewing the tradition of recognizing the hard work of outstanding anti-poverty advocates across the state at our annual Advocacy Awards Brunch, to be held on Saturday, June 11th, at 11AM at the Piper Palm House in St. Louis. (The 2023 brunch will be held in Kansas City.) We have an exciting group of awardees to be honored. First up is our Food Security Advocate of the Year, Katherine Holley.
About Katherine Holley
Katherine is a senior staff attorney in the Public Benefits Project at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She focuses on healthcare issues affecting low-income individuals and families, including nutrition assistance (SNAP) and Medicaid access. Katherine is passionate about racial equity and serves as a co-chair of Legal Services’ Racial Justice Committee. She is a 2021 Fellow of the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute.
Prior to her time at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Katherine worked for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati in the Income, Work, & Health and Family Law practice groups. While there, she served as a Clinical Supervisor and adjunct professor of the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic. She also served two years as an Equal Justice Works Follow with a project focused on correcting systemic issues causing a decline in Ohio Works First (TANF) benefits.
Education: JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2013; Honors BA in Philosophy, Politics, & the Public and History with minors in Political Science and Gender and Diversity Studies from Xavier University in 2008. Recipient of the Louis F. and Mildred V. Simon Award for an Outstanding History Major.
From the Nominator:
Katherine was nominated for her work to assist individuals and families obtaining SNAP benefits for which they are eligible. Working in collaboration with advocates to find and propose solutions to our state agency, she has tirelessly beat the drum about the importance of food security for every household in Missouri. Over the last year, she advocated with our state agency around the roll out and implementation of pandemic relief benefits, which led to application extensions in Missouri. With her team she then helped at least 350 children receive meals.
Katherine knew systemic change was the only way to ensure food security in our state. In cooperation with her Legal Services of Eastern Missouri coworkers and national lawyers, she brought suit in federal court to assert the rights of people eligible for SNAP and seek systemic changes to Missouri’s systems, changes she hopes will improve food security for tens of thousands of Missourians and at the very least has already elevated the importance of this issue across the State.
Over the next few weeks we will be announcing more 2022 Advocacy Award recipients. They will be honored at our Advocacy Awards Brunch, to be held on Saturday, June 11th, at 11AM at the Piper Palm House in St. Louis. If you’d like to join us to celebrate the amazing work of these advocates, you can learn more and purchase your tickets here.