On May 18th, SOS members, grant recipients, friends, and families gathered together virtually to celebrate the culmination of our 2020-2021 grant cycle.
In September we received a record 286 letters of inquiry. In January, 38 invited agencies submitted full grant proposals and participated in virtual site visits with 62 SOS volunteers working in small teams. The final ballot was made up of 20 agencies for our members’ voting consideration.
Since the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund was founded in 2006, our members have invested over $2.7 million in the Greater St. Louis community. Today I am honored to announce that SOS is able to award over $216,000 in support of the important missions of ten nonprofits.
I recently read a quotation that resonated with me:
“True power is living the realization that you are your own hero, healer, and leader.”
The 2021 SOS grantees truly embody what it means to be a hero, healer, and leader working tirelessly to make our community a better place to live.
JoAnn Sanditz, SOS Grants Chair
Casa de Salud facilitates and delivers high quality clinical and mental health services for uninsured and underinsured patients, focusing on new immigrants and refugees. Specializing in culturally competent care in a patient’s preferred and/or native language, health care services include telehealth sessions, in-clinic appointments, case management and mental health therapy. Over 4,000 patients are served each year.
CHADS is an acronym for “Communities Healing Adolescent Depression and Suicide”. Partnering with local schools throughout the metro area, CHADS provides suicide prevention education, family support services, and bullying prevention/mentoring services for youth ages 5-25. It is the only agency in the St. Louis metro area to offer a wraparound menu of evidence-based suicide prevention, social-emotional education, and solution-focused counseling.
The Hyde Park Youth-Driven Community 5-Year Development Plan will: offer a summer academy for at-risk youth to develop leadership skills with mentoring on construction skills in rehabilitating properties; and will redevelop the Hyde Park neighborhood to build financial equity within a low-income, distressed community. In the first year of the project, 50 youth will be engaged, 3 vacant homes gut rehabilitated and 5 homes remodeled for senior citizens living in Hyde Park.
The Eye Thrive Mobile Vision Clinic provides free vision screening, glasses and follow-up services so that no child in our community fails to thrive simply because his or her family cannot afford glasses. By bringing needed services onsite to schools and public libraries, the Mobile Vision Clinic overcomes barriers of cost, transportation, and inflexible parent schedules. Eye Thrive currently maintains relationships with more than 35 school districts and community centers in our region and more than 30 schools are on their waitlist.
The Girls in the Know Empowerment Workshop Series provides pre-teen girls with fact-based, medically accurate information about physical, social, and emotional development and fosters open communication with trusted adults. The Empowerment Workshop Series will be delivered to 100 girls in St. Louis Public Schools. The series provides needed information to empower girls and increase their confidence in making safe and healthy decisions. The workshops are delivered by experts in the topics addressed.
The Join Hands Dream Path Program provides programming for children and young adults in East St. Louis that supports a pathway out of poverty based on education, mentorship, the pursuit of academic goals and dreams. Teens attend scheduled group and grade level meetings, training in Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and are paired with mentors, developing lifelong friendships. Education Advocates monitor academic progress weekly. Moms have a support care system, including diaper delivery, regular meetings and family outings. Incentives and rewards help motivate both teens and moms; they wish to succeed, escape poverty and follow the Dream Path.
Through the College Church ID and Birth Certificate Program, trained volunteers are paired with individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness to facilitate access to State IDs and birth certificates at no cost. Without these legal documents, it is difficult to access services needed to transition out of poverty, such as employment, housing, education, social services, childcare, health and financial needs. Over 3,000 individuals are assisted each year.
The St. Louis Mobile MetroMarket grocery store on wheels travels into the heart of food deserts in north and south St. Louis providing residents with access to fresh, healthy and affordable groceries. A food desert is a low-income community with no supermarkets and poor public transit. This adversely impacts health, resulting in food insecurity and much higher rates of obesity and chronic disease. In 2021, a pilot program of 20 weekly Mobile Market stops will expand services to the Dutchtown neighborhood in south St. Louis City.
The Collective Thread trains immigrant women and others in need of vocational training to qualify as industrial sewers ready to move on to paid on-the-job training. Students are multi-cultural immigrant women and others; teachers are multi-lingual and translation services are available as needed. Located in the historic Garment District on Washington Avenue, The Collective Thread offers “small batch” manufacturing to designers and clothing production firms. Their vocational training will move students from very limited job opportunities to the potential of jobs supporting a middle class life and creates a workforce to re-establish the garment production industry in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Story Stitchers StitchCast Studio project brings together youth, ages 16-24, and professional artists in St. Louis to develop and produce a series of podcast episodes. Youth lead meaningful dialogues that inspire original content in mentor-led workshops based on participants’ lived experiences in economically disadvantaged, high crime areas. Podcasts focus on the streets, gun violence, and finding solutions to issues that are coming at our youth hard. The project goal is to gain greater understanding of the needs and desires of the youth served and to give them an amplified voice to create needed changes in society, to support youth in a successful transition to adulthood, and to reduce youth crime in St. Louis. Youth artists use dialogue, original poetry, and music to highlight their personal experiences with gun violence, life transitions, and mental health, promoting mutual respect for diverse ideas, greater understanding, and a more peaceful society. SOS grant funds will support the StitchCast Studio project second year funding of a three-year grant.
The SOS Membership Committee invites you to join us for three casual meet-ups this summer.
Enjoy a free outdoor community activity and spend timing visiting with your SOS sisters. Watch for an email with complete details coming soon!
Saturday, June 5 at 10:30 am
Tower Grove Park Farmers Market
(Come at 9:30 am for free, all-levels, outdoor yoga class)
Learn more about the market: https://tgfarmersmarket.com/
Wednesday, June 16 at 3:00 pm
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Learn more about the park: https://www.laumeiersculpturepark.org/
Saturday, July 10 at 9 am
Ferguson Farmers Market
Learn more about the market: https://fergusonfarmersmarket.com/
(Please be prepared to respect and adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines of the venue.)
SOS wishes we had enough resources to fund all of the Organizations that our 100 plus volunteers nominated for the final ballot.
Due to the democratic process of our members voting for the grantees, we have deserving organizations that we cannot fund.
It is with great pride that we list these organizations with an honorable mention and acknowledgment that they too continue to work diligently to meet the needs of our community. A big Thank you to these organizations for their dedication.
Congrats to SOS Member Justine Craig-Meyer for getting her JD from Washington University!
Congratulations to 2021 Honoree from Women of Achievement Susan Colangelo, social justice artist and ED of Story Stitchers – SOS’s 2020-2022 multi-year grantee & for this too https://wp.me/p5t7mo-1nuV
Tasha is our New Social Media Coordinator.
Currently, the Communications and Marketing Committee is putting together a Social Media calendar for 2021-22 AND…, we need your help.
If you find news or articles that you think we should promote or share with our followers, please send them to email@example.com
And type “Social Media” in the subject line.
We will consider your suggestions for our social media feeds. Examples are articles about our current or past grantees, articles discussing current philanthropic practices, or articles specific to the needs of the St Louis community, etc.
We welcome all suggestions for consideration.
……And, as always please continue to “like”, “share” and subscribe to our social media platforms
Here is a link to the recording of the 2021 Spirit Awards event held on May 18th 2021 https://youtu.be/l9nMFiZw8X8