Remembering Robert Moss Ayres, Jr.

//Remembering Robert Moss Ayres, Jr.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities mourns the passing of Robert Moss Ayres, Jr. on June 19, 2018.  Robert and his wife, Patricia Shield Ayres, have been loyal CPPP friends and supporters for over fifteen years. Grounded in family values, the Ayres have played a foundational role in advancing public policies that help Texans of all backgrounds reach their full potential.

The Ayres have a long history of helping others and supporting worthy causes. In 1972, Robert assisted the Episcopal Church’s relief work in Honduras after Hurricane Fifi and in the aftermath of an earthquake afflicting neighboring Guatemala.  He also served The Episcopal School of Texas and the University of the South as Vice Chancellor and President from 1977 through 1988.  Together, Robert and Patricia founded the Shield-Ayres Foundation in 1977 to strengthen organizations that effectively meet the basic human needs of the most vulnerable, provide access to educational opportunity and the arts, advocate for social justice, and promote land and water conservation.

“Robert cared deeply about helping all Texans succeed. During our conversations about public policy, I recall his smart questions and his compassion for those less fortunate,” said Ann Beeson, CEO. CPPP will remember Robert fondly through our ongoing efforts to create the best state for working families.

CPPP extends our deep condolences to Patricia and family.  We remain humbled by Robert’s noble dedication to enriching Texan’s quality of life while championing equity.

In lieu of flowers, the Ayres family has graciously requested gifts to the Robert M. Ayres Jr. Scholarship Fund at the University of the South, St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development, or to the charity of your choice.

A renowned social justice lawyer, former philanthropy executive, and frequent public speaker and writer, Ann Beeson joined the Center in 2013. She was previously the Executive Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice, and accountability nationwide. Beeson was the national Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked from 1995-2007. She argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated numerous cases around the country, and launched groundbreaking programs to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security and to protect free speech and privacy on the Internet. Beeson has been recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by American Lawyer Magazine and the National Law Journal. A proud Texan, Beeson has embraced a wide range of innovative strategies to advance social change. Before joining the Center, she launched a new non-profit to involve the creative sector in social change. In 2012-13, she was a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas, where she co-produced a public media series to inspire more people to get engaged in their communities. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas. Beeson obtained her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and served as law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders, then chief judge of the Northern District of Texas.

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