President's Message

Spring Forward

As a new season begins, our members are anxiously awaiting the start of our next granting process. We are so excited to spring forward into the first two-year grant cycle, which begins May 1! Keep an eye out for emails from our Grants Committee team to stay informed.

Spring into Action

Don’t forget to sign up for an LOI (letters of intent) review team and make a difference! Every part of our granting process is essential and a learning opportunity, with the review of LOIs as an important first step. In the meantime, log in to to edit your profile to say yes to volunteering.

Spring into Leadership

I’m excited to share that the SOS Board recently welcomed two new members: Marianne Baer, who many of you know as the dedicated leader of our volunteer activities, and Barb Meyer, who has served on the Marketing Committee for the past year as SOS newsletter editor. Welcome, Marianne and Barb! We are currently seeking nominations for a Vice Chair of Membership. Our current Membership Chair, Sarah Woodburn, would be happy to talk with you about work of the committee, along with time commitments. Please reach out to Sarah to nominate yourself or another SOS member.

Spring into Giving

Our members give more than just their money to SOS – they give their time, education, and engagement. As we go “beyond the check,” we still would like to thank our members for paying their dues. Even though our annual dues deadline was March 15, there is time to get in dues for this giving cycle. Please reach out to SOS Treasurer Becky Courtney with questions.

Ally Melvin

Remembering Joni Karandjeff

SOS members are mourning the loss of long-time member Joni Karandjeff, who passed away unexpectedly March 13. Joni was a valued member and leader of SOS, most recently serving as Chair of the Nominating Committee. In addition to her many contributions to SOS, Joni dedicated her time and energy to countless other St. Louis organizations supporting children, health, and education. She was honored for her community service in 2008 through her selection as a Woman of Achievement, which recognizes area women for their significant leadership and volunteer service.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Joni’s family, including her husband Drew and daughter Kelley Karandjeff, an SOS member. SOS is in conversation with Joni's family to determine how best to memorialize our friend and fellow member.

New Grant Cycle Kicks Off May 1

Our first-ever two-year grant cycle kicks off in May with the acceptance of Letters of Intent (LOIs) from nonprofits seeking to be funded. See the full schedule, including dates for LOI team review and agency site visits, at this link:

SOS 2024 Grant Cycle Calendar.pdf

Meet the Board:
Pat Crowe, Education Committee Chair

Collective giving was an unfamiliar concept to Pat Crowe prior to joining SOS, but five years in she’s convinced of its significance.

“I believe in its power to create change within small non-profit organizations,” she says. “There is so much wonderful work being done by these groups, and to know that SOS has contributed to their success is fulfilling.”

Pat joined SOS a few years prior to her planned retirement because she wanted to get involved well ahead of her work “stop date.” Wasting no time, she joined the Education Committee where she’s served as a member, Vice Chair and now Chair. “I had an interest in having input about the topics and issues presented to members. And the committee members are fantastic to work with – they are so knowledgeable about relevant issues and trends in the region, and always so full of ideas and enthusiasm,” Pat says.

This year, the committee has been working on developing programs and book discussions on topics that have not been introduced or covered in a while. The Fall Kickoff, for example, gave SOS members and guests an overview of the work three grantees – Books for Newborns, Urban Harvest, and Girls in the Know – have been doing for children from birth to adolescence. SOS book discussions have touched on exploring difficult issues, from bias to racism. The next book will explore environmental issues.

Pat also serves on the Membership and Marketing committees, finding common ground with her work in Education and also fulfilling her diverse interests.

“Pat’s contributions to so many SOS activities and committees make her an invaluable member of our leadership team,” says Kathy Frost, a former SOS president and current chair of the Marketing Committee. “She’s exceptional at bringing her creativity and ideas to the table, and then rolling up her sleeves to actually get the work done.”

Pat worked professionally in advertising, marketing, communications, and public relations, finishing her career as the Director of Marketing and Communication at the Saint Louis Art Museum. A St. Louis native, she and her husband Bob are parents to two adventurous grown children. In her spare time, Pat likes to garden, read historical fiction, try “new-to-me” restaurants, travel, and participate in all sorts of physical fitness activities.

Why We Give:
The Kerengende Foundation

When her daughter experienced sexual abuse, Amber Clayborne quickly discovered a world she knew little about. From working with law enforcement to finding therapy services, she slowly built a reservoir of knowledge and resources that she realized could help other victims and families. Her experiences led her to establish The Kerengende Foundation in 2019, a 2023 SOS grantee, to support families dealing with similar crises. Based in Belleville, Illinois, the Foundation currently reaches over 1,000 people annually, primarily in the Metro East.

Read Full Story

Grantees in the News

Congratulations to SOS grantee Welcome Neighbor, which has been named a winner by Focus St. Louis' “What’s Right with the Region” Awards. The organization is an honoree in the “Improving Equity & Inclusion” category. The awards ceremony will be held May 9.

Welcome, New Members

Since our last newsletter, SOS has welcomed these new members:

  • Amy Davis
  • Nancy Liberman

Don’t Miss It:
Discussion on Environmental Racism

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. for a special discussion hosted by the SOS Education Committee. The discussion will center on a 2019 educational report issued by the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University School of Law, in collaboration with four community partners. Titled Environmental Racism in St. Louis, this report spotlights the environmental injustices that disproportionately endanger public health for underserved populations in St. Louis. The report also offers creative approaches to addressing these interconnected environmental issues. To join this discussion, register here. The program is free to attend and guests are welcome.

View All Events

Were You There?
Education & Volunteer Events

March 25 – SOS welcomed KSDK-TV anchor Michelle Li, who shared information about why and how she started The Very Asian Foundation. The enlightening Q&A session revealed the history of the Asian community in St. Louis and its impact today. "I was thrilled to be invited to share my story with SOS," says Michelle. The program also highlighted the rewards and challenges of starting a foundation to shine the light on their issues and opportunities while maintaining objectivity as a journalist. 

February 6 – SOS members met to discuss "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You," by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi. Kendi, one of America’s leading historians and antiracist voices, teamed up with Reynolds, an award-winning author, to write about the important individuals, movements, and events that have propagated racist and antiracist ideas. 

January 27 – Members stuffed SOS bags for the Kerengende Foundation. Each bag included clothing, hygiene products, and comfort items for youth survivors of human trafficking and vulnerable youth transitioning out of detention centers or into foster care. 

Make the Most of the SOS Website

If you’ve experienced problems accessing sections of the SOS website, keep in mind that some features are “members only” and require you to login. This content includes a directory of all SOS members, links to grant cycle resources (when active), and other helpful information. 

Read Tutorial

Do you have news to share? Please email us at