President's Message

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 affect 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 grant-making 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.

  • Thank you to SOS past president and member, Gwen Wesley, for serving on the Philanos board of directors.  As Gwen’s term came to an end earlier this year, Paula Perkins of Philanos said, “Gwen has remarkably represented your organization while also leading the national charge in furthering women’s collective giving.  Thank you for sharing her with us!” 
  • And thank you to Amy Conard, the current chair of the SOS Technology Committee, who just began her term on the Board of Directors of Philanos. Amy will be an incredible asset!

Volunteerism and Outreach: 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, held November 3, connects St. Louis nonprofits and organizations with innovative teams from St. Louis corporations for a day of creative problem-solving focused on the future. Some of our grantees, including The SoulFisher Ministries, participated.  

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! 

Katy Dowd
President and Proud Member

Girl in the Know Honors SOS as Community Empowerment Champion

Thank you to SOS Grantee Girls in the Know for honoring SOS as their 2022 Community Empowerment Champion.

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Why We Give - Impact of SOS Grants

SOS Impact Report – How we impacted the community 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).

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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:

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.

Upcoming Events

November 14, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Delmar DivINe
Supercharging Nonprofit Impact at the Delmar DivINe: Fostering Collaboration & Building Capacity

Speaker – Maxine Clark


December 2, 9 – 11 a.m.

Holiday Coffee

View All Events

Welcome 2022 New Members

Sue Clifford

Maribeth Concannon

Mary Corcoran

Kim Schwarz Duerr

Lorraine Graves Simpson

Linda Haley

Joan Humes

Jill Lewin

Karen Mullis

Nancy Nix-Rice

Kay Park

Christy Potthast

Tabitha Reuther

Peggy Slater

Emily Stuart

Teresa Sunyer

Amy Tipton

Bobbie Waters

Sharon Weissman

Shvetha Zarek

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

Cortaiga Collings

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.

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Were You There? - SOS Event Recap

SOS Hosts Fall Kickoff at Grantee EarthDance Farms 

Members and guests gathered on a warm September evening for our annual Fall Kickoff at EarthDance Organic Farm, a SOS 2022 first year grantee. Everyone enjoyed an insightful tour of EarthDance Organic Teaching Farm along with yummy eats from local restaurant favorite Ferguson Brewing Company. Fall Kickoff is a very special event for SOS because it is a celebration of the start of our next SOS grant-making year!  To learn more about EarthDance Farms, please visit

Are you interested in making an impact in our community through women's collective giving?

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 affect change in our communities.

Please consider joining us!

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