President's Message

A Unique Membership with a Common Link

Spirit of St. Louis Women membership is composed of a diverse group of women from nearly every corner of the St. Louis region. Even with all our differences, our members tend to have one common trait: we are naturally inquisitive.

We take time to thoughtfully question, explore, and invest time in learning. This curiosity, this natural drive to seek new knowledge through research and conversation, strengthens our ability to better understand the needs of our region.

I invite you to join us at one of our upcoming opportunities for education and inspiration. Please join us as we learn together!

Katy Dowd

President and Proud Member

Were You There? - SOS Event Recap

December Holiday Coffee, featuring Volunteers in Medicine

At our December 2022 Holiday Coffee, graciously hosted by SOS Co-founder Susan Block, we were honored to learn more about SOS Grantee Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) from their board chair, Chad Abel. VIM, a five-time SOS grantee with their first SOS investment dating back to 2010, is a health clinic in St. Charles County that provides primary medical treatment for adults without health care insurance and without the economic means to pay for even their basic medical needs.

The clinic was begun by a small group of volunteers, mostly retired health care professionals, in June 1996. Today, VIM has no paid staff. All physicians and nurses volunteer their time, and many of the support services – like cleaning, routine maintenance, accounting services, and website design – are provided by volunteers. VIM fills a major void in the health care system with minimal financial resources and with remarkable efficiency. For every $1 of operating expense, over $20 in health care services are provided. Learn more about VIM at

Why We Give - Impact of SOS Grants

Since 2013, The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective has served as a haven for artists and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) youth ages 16-24, working together to create social change with a focus on gun violence prevention. Story Stitchers is the current recipient of a Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund’s three-year, $100,000 grant, awarded in 2020.

A specific aim of the SOS grant was to build out a podcast studio, as well as to provide training and support to youth in developing podcast programs. The grant has enabled the purchase of essential equipment and supplies for the “StitchCast Studio,” workshops by teaching artists and mentoring by professional artists. Learn more about this unique program, and why SOS is an enthusiastic supporter of Story Stitchers.

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February 8, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Book Discussion

Becoming One Of The Grateful Dead: Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way by Carol Weisman


March 7, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Education Event

It Takes Two: Partners Impacting Our Community's Health


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Welcome New Members

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

Sylvia Nissenboim 

Carol Benoist 

Shannon Hagrman

Meet Becky Courtney,

Becky Courtney started her career in banking, but in the years that followed her professional and personal path took her in many different directions. Yet her financial roots remained strong, and today she describes herself as a “recovering banker,” having served as treasurer of many volunteer organizations – including SOS.

Becky joined SOS in 2017, jumping headfirst into the grant review and site visit processes. While those experiences were rewarding – and she continues to participate in them – she was ready for a deeper commitment. Her finance background made that next step a logical one.

“I love the mission of SOS so when the nominating committee asked me to serve, it was an easy decision. It’s gratifying to work with like-minded women, and I feel like I’m making an impact,” said Becky. “Managing our funds might seem boring to some, but I’m the nerd who gets a thrill when I balance the books!”

“Becky has been instrumental in streamlining so many of our financial processes,” said Katy Dowd, SOS president. “Her approach to continuous improvement is amazing. I have no idea what we’d do without her!"

Outside of SOS, Becky spends her time traveling with friends and family, golfing, reading, and volunteering in other various pursuits – her favorite being cuddling babies in Mercy Hospital’s neonatal ICU. She and her husband Bob share two adult children and two grandchildren.

Interested in Becoming a Member?

Join us for an SOS Information Session on February 9 at 11 a.m. This 30-minute Zoom-based presentation will highlight SOS’s impact in the community, information on how to get involved, and our upcoming events. 

  • New members are welcome at any time. Simply complete our short membership form here:
  • Membership pledge payment options are flexible. Annual, monthly, ACH, Donor Advised Fund, and more. Don’t forget to see if your employer might match your membership pledge.
  • We are a Volunteer Democracy – you can do a little or do a lot. Members have opportunities to volunteer to review grants, serve on committees and Board of Directors, and do hands-on work for our grantee organizations.

Register here: We hope to “see” you there!

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