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Maurice Alvin Watson

Maurice Alvin Watson

Maurice Alvin Watson, co-founder and principal of Credo Philanthropy Advisors, LLP, has more than 30 years of experience in law, social and public policy, and board governance as a lawyer, advisor, and board member. He has been a partner and chairman of the law firm of Husch Blackwell, which is among the 100 largest law firms in America, representing public and private schools and school systems, colleges and universities, education advocacy groups, and education associations at the state and national levels.

Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the Kansas City community and in the nation, he is a frequent speaker before groups across the country and has been named among the 100 most influential leaders in Kansas City, among the 500 leading lawyers in America, and among the most influential Black lawyers in America.

Watson was born in Kansas City and grew up in a modest, working-class neighborhood in the urban core. He attended the City’s public schools until he won a scholarship, in high school, to attend Barstow School, a college preparatory school where he was its first Black graduate in its history.

As an undergraduate at Harvard College, he concentrated in social studies, a selective interdisciplinary honors program, and received a baccalaureate degree, cum laude. He subsequently received his law degree at Harvard Law School.

After law school, Watson served as legislative aide to the Honorable John Danforth in the United States Senate in Washington, D.C, where he advised on education, welfare, health care and judiciary legislation.

Watson returned to his hometown and joined the Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary and Lombardi law firm and continued as partner and was eventually elected firm chair of its successor firm, Husch Blackwell. When elected chairman, he was the only African American to lead an AmLaw 100 law firm in the country.

In 2018, Watson stepped down as Husch Blackwell chair and founded, with Tracy McFerrin, Credo Philanthropy Advisors, to help individuals, families, private foundations, and other donors sharpen their philanthropic focus and realize their vision to change lives and communities through effective grantmaking.

Watson has served in numerous leadership roles, including as board chair, of large national nonprofit organizations and foundations in the fields of education and youth development, biomedical research, health care, higher education, arts and culture, public policy, and government.