Collective Giving – A Path Back to Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Community Philanthropy —
A Force for Locally-Driven Development

Dear Friends,

“It’s an enduring dilemma for donors: how can we ensure accountability and results with the funds we grant while still allowing our grantees the freedom and ability to control their organizations and activities? It is in this context that community philanthropy —as a form of, and force for, locally-driven development that strengthens community capacity and voice, builds trust, and, most importantly, taps into and builds on local resources—takes on a particular relevance.”

** (Excerpt from “How Community Philanthropy Shifts Power-And How Donors Can Make It Happen” by Jenny Hodgson and Anna Pond commissioned by the Global Fund/GACP).

This research emphasizes the importance of collective giving and its support of community-led, bottom-up agencies that work to unleash the power and insight of local citizens.

Collective giving provides space for people to come together, pool money and contribute to regional causes – a force for combating unjust power structures and inequality.

Collective giving leverages historic systems of mutual aid and support (neighbors helping neighbors) while re-framing philanthropy as more accessible and democratic.
In addition, collective giving, by its very nature, offers transparency, accountability, sustainability, ownership, and oversight.

When local people give and funding decisions are made closer to the ground, new kinds of internal checks and balances emerge.

Collective giving creates a gradual and steady shift away from dependency on external actors and their resources, toward communities and their resources. An important shift in power.

Collaborative investing is the future. It’s not about one person giving big checks, but about average citizens coming together to support solutions.

Invite your friends to join us as a growing group of global community donors who think and act locally.

All the best,

Amy Inman
President and Proud Member
Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund


Members of SOS bring valued skills, perspectives and talents that ensure our organization remains relevant and connected to our community. We rely on our active network of members to rotate leadership on our board.

If you would like to be considered for future leadership in SOS, please contact Gwen Wesley , Nominating Committee Chair,

Please visit our website and click on “How to Get Involved” for additional information.


Renew your membership for the 2019 Grant Season. Annual payments must be received by March 15 th to be counted in the 2019 Spirit Award Grants. If you are on a monthly payment plan, no action is necessary! Thank you for your support!

Matching Gifts for Dues – Did you know that many companies match their employees’ charitable giving? Often, these gifts are matched 100 percent or even more.

It is important to know that this can include your annual membership fee or any gift. This is a great way to double your investment in the community-whether this is a strategy for reaching your membership total or a way to amplify what you are already giving.

If your company matches your $600 gift to SOS for dues membership, that is equal to the full dues amount of $1200! Spread the word!

For more information please contact Wendy Witte at the St. Louis Community Foundation: or 314-588-8200.

Book Discussion – The Networked Nonprofit

What: SOS Book Discussion
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 8
Where: Rise Collaborative Workspace, 8820 Ladue, Unit 203, Clayton
Cost: $13

We’ll discuss “The Networked Non-Profit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change” by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. But we’ll also have brief book summaries on hand for those who didn’t have a chance to read the whole book!

Guest speaker Pam Jordan teaches fluency in sociotechnology at Washington University. Lunch options will be provided by The Women’s Exchange. Options are listed on the registration page, and additional choices are listed at

Register Now


Launching Careers in Technology Changes Lives
Join us March 13!

What: LaunchCode: Launching Careers in Technology Changes Lives
When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 13
Where: LaunchCode Mentor Center, 4811 Delmar Boulevard, St. Louis, 63108
Cost: $10

Join us on March 13 to learn more about LaunchCode, which works to build a skilled workforce by creating pathways for driven people seeking careers in technology.

At our event, we will hear from Jeff Mazer, executive director of LaunchCode, plus instructors and graduates of the program.

As we enjoy delicious appetizers and wine, we’ll learn how free education levels the playing field for everyone with passion, drive and aptitude, builds the community’s vital tech workforce, and launches those without traditional credentials into tech careers with family-supporting wages.

There will even be a mini-coding session at the end of the presentation!



Enjoy a Night at SLSO

What: SLSO: Equal Play, Celebrating Women Composers
When: Wine reception: 6 p.m.
Performance: 7 p.m. March 1
Where: Powell Hall
718 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, Mo. 63103

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra celebrates women in music with Equal Play, Celebrating Women Composers.

SLSO violinist Kristin Ahlstrom , cellist Anne Fagerburg and clarinetist Diana Haskell team up with pianists Peter Henderson and Alla Voskoboynikova and internationally-renowned soprano Christine Brewer to perform chamber works by women composers. Composer Stephanie Berg will introduce her piece.

Please be SLSO’s guest at a wine reception before the performance at the Met Bar. Special thanks to the concert’s presenting sponsor, Commerce Bank.

The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets are required but please RSVP.

For any questions, please contact Kristin Lamprecht – or 314.286.4131.



Helping Grantees Demystify Nonprofit Taxes

Mary Jane Pieroni made nonprofit finance interesting and helpful with her discussion of the wealth of information that can be discovered in the 990 tax form.

We had an enthusiastic group of 34 attendees including several new SOS members beginning the site visit cycle for the first time.

We also had nine guests representing local nonprofit agencies join us for the evening.


Thirty-Nine Nonprofits Submit Grant Proposals!

Thirty-nine local nonprofit organizations submitted full grant proposals in January. Site visit teams have been trained and will be conducting site visits in February and March.

Site visit teams will analyze grant proposals and visit each organization to follow up with in-depth questions. The site visit teams will then narrow the list of grant finalists to 20 organizations. The organizations selected will be placed on the SOS Final Ballot.

All members will have the opportunity to learn about the grant finalists at the Ballot Fair which will be held on April 10, 5:30-7:00 pm at the St. Louis Community Foundation.

Voting will take place April 10 – April 26.


Lunching & Learning at the Little Bit Foundation


SOS members and guests gathered at Little Bit’s spacious new location to hear how this agency is breaking down barriers to learning.

Rose Hanley, co-founder and executive director, shared the impact of receiving a significant SOS grant early in the agency’s existence.

That grant gave Little Bit credibility in the community and propelled it to the success it is realizing today.

We are so proud of our community partner and thank Betsy Schmidt for organizing the event.





SOS is Now on Instagram!

Follow us on Instagram to see recent photos from SOS events and gain access to SOS grantee and other St. Louis nonprofit photos that we follow.

Visit SOS on Instagram via

For any questions about Instagram, please contact Amy Garrison,

Follow us on Instagram !!


Pianos for People at Sisters of the Heart


Vicki Sheehan , founding SOS member, past president, and gracious host for SOS, opened her home for many SOS members and guests to gather as Sisters of the Heart.

Sheena Duncan, executive director of Pianos for People, gave a brief background on the agency as well as how SOS grant money has impacted the organization and the people they serve.

Sheena brought a student, Nicholas Murphy, who wowed the crowd with his beautiful music.


Welcome New Members to SOS!

Welcome new members to Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund!
Deborah Bloom
Lee Braff
Marty Chapman
Cortaiga Collins
Farris Hughes
Ally Melvin
Carol Rogers
Janet Scheel