June 2019 Newsletter


The last few weeks have been exciting at The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund.

At our annual Spirit Awards, we invested over $224,000 in 13 wonderful nonprofits and met many women who are excited to join our collective giving circle.

In our 13 th  year, we have now invested over $2.5 million into our community and inspired women to get more deeply involved in St. Louis.

The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund is also transitioning to our new 2019/20 board of directors. One of the many strengths of our collective fund is that we are passionate about leadership rotation.

Fresh perspectives by new board members create space for innovation and healthy growth. Thank you to Amy Garrison, our upcoming Board President, and all our new board members for their willingness to lead. We know you will bring great things to our organization.

The past two years, as President, I have had the opportunity to listen to area teens share their gun violence stories, cry with women who have lost children to suicide, see the destruction of addiction, fight to keep siblings together in foster care, learn coding programs with immigrant women, plant trees to replace the devastation of the Ash Borer and pack lunches for the homeless.

Through our micro-nonprofits and my “spirit sisters”, we have given voice to the voiceless. Thank you for the opportunity to learn about St. Louis and fall in love with her over and over again.

All the best,

Amy Inman

Group standing outside for photo.

SOS Invests More Than $224K In The Community!

There are many words that could describe the women of the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund: Compassionate, Committed, Competent ,Collaborative . 

But there is a phrase that has drawn all of us together: Collective Giving.   We are like-minded women who come together to support shared causes.

We pool our resources and decide collectively where, when and how to award grants. Giving as a group, we are able to achieve a greater impact than we might do on our own.

The Spirit Awards is our way to celebrate collective giving. This event only happens once a year, but the lasting impact of this night inspires us throughout the year.

Since the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund was founded in 2006, its members have invested $2.5 million in the Greater St. Louis community.

In order to select our newest grant recipients, more than 120 SOS members reviewed 106 Letters of Inquiry and invited 39 organizations to submit full grant proposals. 

Twenty-one organizations were chosen for the SOS Final Ballot. SOS members selected 13 organizations to be funded this year including 6 nonprofits new to us as well as 7 organizations that we have previously funded. 

And . . . this year, SOS is investing more than $224,000 in the St. Louis community! It is definitely a time for celebration!  

-Berta James, SOS Grant Chair

Announcing Our 2019-2020 Grantees

Lydia’s House has received four previous grants from SOS since 2007. It is now the recipient of our very first multi-year grant of $100,000. In 2017, we began investing more than $33,000 per year for three years in Lydia’s Ladle. This year’s grant completes our commitment to invest $100,000 in Lydia’s Ladle.
Lydia’s Ladle was created in 2014 to continue the mission of Lydia’s House. It provides job employment, job education and training from some of the best in the culinary business to make, sell, and distribute delicious pot pies. Lydia’s Ladle is able to provide its residents the opportunity to work in a safe environment free from their abusers. Lydia’s Ladle chicken pot pies and fruit pies are now being sold in several area grocery store chains. The packaging was designed to raise awareness of domestic violence in our community.
Almost Home has received two previous SOS grants since 2010. This year’s grant is $7,500.
Almost Home provides transitional housing and supportive services to 16-20 year old low-income single mothers and their children. With this funding, Almost Home will provide essential therapeutic counseling to moms in their program, ensuring they have the solid foundation and tools they need to achieve educational, career and financial success, and to begin developing the habits that will lead to financial security.
Angels’ Arms has received three previous SOS grants since 2007. This year’s grant is $20,000.
Angels’ Arms provides loving homes for foster children by keeping brothers and sisters together. This grant, however, will focus on a newer initiative – the Life Launch Program. This program works to prepare foster youth for a successful transition to adulthood once they age out of the system. Life Launch is currently helping 30 youth ages 13-22. In 2017, Angel’s Arms opened the Launch Pad, an apartment for young adults in need of a transitional living program to prepare them for independence. This grant will focus on the Launch Pad renovations and direct assistance to youth for school and living expenses.
Create A Loop is receiving its first SOS grant this year for $18,000.
With this funding, Create A Loop will provide 6 th grade students the opportunity to become the next generation of technology experts, while breaking down barriers often set by gender, income and race. A custom curriculum engages and challenges students to use programming and technology in ways that are enterprising, collaborative and self-motivated. During the one year program, students will learn the fundamentals of computer programming and attain the knowledge and skill to create original code of their own design, opening a new world of career opportunities. Funding will specifically be used for instructor salaries, computers and instructional materials.
The Fit and Food Connection is receiving its first SOS grant of $19,500 this year.
The Fit and Food Connection empowers individuals in need in the St. Louis area to achieve healthy living through food assistance, physical fitness and nutrition education. SOS funding will open The Fit and Food Connection waitlist to provide healthy food to 30 additional low-income mothers and their families to help alleviate hunger and promote wellness. These families live in areas where there is little access to fresh, organic food. The SOS grant will serve families with children 5 and younger struggling to stay healthy and live longer lives.
Girls in the Know is receiving its first SOS grant of $16,722 this year.
Girls in the Know implements school-based programming to underserved pre-teen girls. This year, it provided outreach programming to more than 39 schools impacting more than 1,100 participants. Workshops are offered to teach life skills and to discuss essential life topics such as empowerment, self-esteem, bullying, nutrition and safety. SOS funds will be used to underwrite the costs of three workshops impacting a minimum of 90 girls.
Healing Action Network is receiving its first SOS grant of $9,984 this year.
The Healing Action Network combats commercial sexual exploitation through creating awareness by providing programs and services focusing on empowerment to create an environment where all can thrive. Survivors of sexual exploitation face extensive barriers as they are healing from abuse and trauma. Access to safe and affordable transportation is crucial for survivors so they can attend trauma therapy and peer support groups in order to rebuild their lives. SOS funding will be used for transportation services to survivors, helping them access resources in the community.
The Megan Meier Foundation is receiving its first SOS grant for $5,000 this year.
This grant will help fund the Annual Leadership Workshop geared to Missouri high school students. The Workshop exposes up to 250 students to the impact and consequences of bullying and cyberbullying, and teaches students to become leaders and advocates against bullying. Small group activities allow students to explore topics of bullying, peer pressure, mental illness and suicide prevention. The workshop concludes with small-group planning sessions where students brainstorm a project action plan they will implement within their own schools. SOS funding will be used for teaching supplies and lunch for workshop participants.
The Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project has received three previous SOS grants since 2014. This year’s grant is $20,000.
This grant will focus on the Children’s Immigration Advocacy Project which was established in August, 2019 following the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border. It provides immigrant children with holistic representation, offering justice and equality to immigrant youth through both legal and social services. Nine out of 10 immigrant children without an attorney are deported; 8 out of 10 immigrant children who have an attorney are granted permission to remain in the U.S. SOS funds will be used to provide the partial salary of a multilingual staff attorney.
Sneakers with Soul is receiving its first SOS grant for $14,000 this year.
Sneakers with Soul distributes shoes to K-12 students by partnering with social service agencies. The ultimate mission of Sneakers with Soul is to ensure that one day no child will go back to school without a new pair of sneakers. SOS grant funding will underwrite the cost of purchasing more than 450 pairs of quality brand-name sneakers for impoverished students attending schools in the Normandy School Collaborative. Sneakers with Soul works with manufacturers and shoe retailers to negotiate deep discounts off retail pricing.
St. Louis BWorks is receiving its first SOS grant for $10,000 this year.
St. Louis BWorks mission is to enhance the character and quality of life of youth in need through programs focused on bicycling, literacy and technology. SOS funds will be used to provide salaries and teaching supplies for the Byte Works Earn-A-Computer program. This program teaches basic computing, networking, binary coding and programming skills to low-income students. Upon completing the program, each student receives a refurbished computer, keyboard, mouse, flash drive and WIFI device.
SoulFisher Logo
The SoulFisher Ministries has received two previous SOS grants since 2015. This year’s grant is for $25,000.
The SoulFisher Ministries’ mission is to respond to the needs of youth with incarcerated parents and to promote restorative justice for those currently or formerly incarcerated. This grant will support funding for the expansion of the re-entry program for women involved with the criminal justice system. SOS funding will partially support the salaries and supplies for two staff members, as well as housing and direct services for women newly released from prison. This pilot project will serve more than 400 formerly incarcerated homeless women over a four year period.
Urban Harvest received one previous grant in 2017. This year’s grant is for $25,000.
Urban Harvest grows healthy food and promotes a healthy community through urban agriculture and education. Their Food Access Program serves low income residents, the working poor populations and people of color in north St. Louis City and County. This grant will provide salaries, rent for the Food Roof Farm and farm equipment to support the work of the organization in the areas of farming, food justice and nutrition. Urban Harvest will also train 65 interns in community development, leadership and sustainable farming.
Congratulations to all the 2019 Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund grant recipients!
“Turning good into greater good. It’s why we give together.”