Our Core Values in Action
The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS) educates and inspires women to engage in informed, collective grant making by investing in Greater St. Louis’ small nonprofits to positively effect change in our communities. SOS operates according to a set of guiding core values – our “how.” As we enter our 16th season of collective giving, please join me in celebrating these examples of our core values in action.
Engagement at Your Desired Level: A great attribute of SOS is the ability to be as involved as you wish. There are opportunities to participate in our grants review process, on committees, on our board, and more.
Philanos, a network that serves to catalyze the movement of women in philanthropy by connecting women’s collective giving grantmaking organizations, is a tremendous resource to SOS. In turn, we are of service to Philanos. Two of our members offer their time and talent – going beyond their commitment to SOS – by serving Philanos.
Another opportunity for our members to engage beyond their investment is through our Outreach Program which matches our grantees’ volunteer opportunities with our SOS member volunteers. One of our grantees, Eye Thrive, recently honored SOS as their “Volunteer of the Year” for providing 100 hours of service this year. This award is attributed to SOS member Marianne Baer for her leadership of the Outreach Program and to SOS Member Pat Crowe for advising the Eye Thrive team on their media outreach strategy.
Continuously Evaluating Our Approach: Another example of our core values in action is our culture of continuous improvement. In this effort, SOS applied and was selected to participate in Thinksgiving. This program, to be held November 3rd, connects St. Louis nonprofits and organizations with innovative teams from St. Louis corporations for a day of creative problem-solving focused on the future. At the end of the day, all are welcome to join us at 4pm for Venture Café, an open-to-all networking session where SOS will have an information table. Some of our grantees, including The SoulFisher Ministries, are also participating.
A sincere thank you to our members who volunteer to make SOS operate. For those members who want to volunteer their time and talent beyond their SOS investment – we welcome you at any time!
Why We Give
SOS Impact Report – How our grant impact in 2021-2022
Our grants in 2021-2022 served our community in a multitude of ways. The various services our grantees provide include: healthcare for immigrants; suicide prevention; community development; vision screenings; girls’ empowerment; homelessness services; resources in food desert communities; education; job training and artists working on community messaging.
Please take time to ingest the amazing work our grants provide the St. Louis community. (SOS members will need to sign in to the member side of the website to access this fantastic report).
Philanthropy News - Collective Giving in the Spotlight
TED TALK released
We’re so excited to share that the TED Talk on the power of giving circles was released this week after Philanthropy Together CEO Sara Lomelin gave the talk in April. You can watch it here: https://philanthropytogether.org/ted
This is a HUGE moment for the collective giving field as we try to expand understanding of giving circles to a much wider audience.
We hope this TED Talk inspires all of our members to keep pushing forward and spreading the word of how SOS serves as a catalyst for change and is disrupting philanthropy to better serve our community.
Thank you all SOS members for being part of this growing movement.
October 18, 5:30 – 7 pm
St. Louis Community Foundation
November 1, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
St. Louis Community Foundation
November 14, 5:50 – 7:00 pm
December 2, 9:00 – 11:00 am
February 7, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Book Discussion: Becoming One of the Grateful Dead: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way by Carol Weisman
April 2, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Annual Ballot Fair – SOS members only
April 25, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Book Discussion: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrisson
May 23, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Annual Spirit Awards
Welcome New Members
Meet Ally Melvin, Membership Chair/President Elect
Growing up in a small town in southern Illinois, Ally Melvin knew from an early age that she wanted to make a difference in the world, particularly in the area of human rights. In college she spent eight weeks in Ghana studying human trafficking, which ultimately led her to the master’s program at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. As she studied social causes more deeply, it became evident to Ally that money is the access to everything, so Ally turned her field of study toward social finance, to empower both herself and others to make a true impact in securing human rights for everyone.
In 2018, Ally heard Amy Inman speak at the St. Louis Business Journal Women’s Conference and was immediately intrigued. When she realized SOS was a community of women who understood that giving worthy nonprofits the money they need and then letting them decide how best to spend it, she knew she had found her place to give.
Ally likens SOS to a dandelion. “They are the type of flower that you see all over. They’re not just in one spot and anyone can have them in their backyard. I remember as a kid seeing dandelions growing everywhere, spreading their beauty all across the town.” The one thing she knows for sure about SOS is “no matter what it takes, each year we will be granting money.” As Ally might put it, wildflowers always grow back.
SOS Member in the News
SOS member Cortaiga Collins was recognized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for her work with The Good Shepherd School for Boys – a first of its kind preschool education for young boys. Cortaiga says, “It’s easier to build strong boys than to repair broken men,” she said. Click here to read more about her work.
Were You There?