January 2022
Deaconess Community,

This season I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on the blessings this year has brought. While there is so much for us to do together in the months and years ahead, I want to take a moment to celebrate all who have made our work possible and our impact tangible. I am grateful for Deaconess’ staff, trustees and directors, our extensive network of partner organizations, our faith partners, and for each of you who are a part of our community, whether near or far. In this season of advent, I pray that hope, peace, love and joy fills your hearts, homes and communities.

As we welcome 2022, I share with you a gift I received my first few days here at Deaconess. As a centering offering Cheryl D.S. Walker, Deaconess’ former Interim President and CEO, recited a poem she penned years ago, The Power of A Praying Woman. I invite you to reflect on the power of a praying woman.
The Power of a Praying Woman
Cheryl D.S. Walker
the power of a praying woman 
shows in her hummmm
as soothing as soft strokes on a furrowed brow 
the power of a praying woman 
stands on ancestral shoulders  
looks out for our futures 
& transforms words into flesh 
her humming prayers ignite 
like a summer sun's rising 
& still like morning sky's serene blueness 
the power of a praying woman is found in her hum 
perpetual & resounding 
her gentle prayers & communion bring her closer to God 
her soft humble humming brings her closer to God 
learned listeners, spirit filled teachers  
studying & preparing 2 b free bring her closer to God 
a humble spirit keeps her closer 
to God 
for a praying woman is where  
God lives 
and hope resides 
the power of a praying woman 
lives in her hummmm 
guttural like wailing moms' cries 
blood soaked from battle 
healing & healed 
the power of a praying woman is ancestral 
sankofa steeped 
homemade hot butter rolled 
harmonious & hymned 
like pentecostal sundays, prayer meetings & tent revivals 
the power of a praying woman is heard in her hummmm 
her power is fueled by her spirited hallelujahs & soulful amen
her power packing prayers are sweet 
like a gooey butter's core 
they're amen draped 
gospel coated & blues licked 
the power of a praying woman lives in her hummmm 
her power shows in her song 
her power lives in her love 
God's love
the love of 
One Father 
One Son 
One Spirit 
One Love 
One Father 
One Son 
One Spirit 
One Love 
One Father 
One Son 
One Spirit 
One Love 
a Supreme love 
a love  
a love Supreme… 
a love Supreme… 
a love Supreme… 
In service to the mission,

Bethany Johnson-Javois
President & CEO
Deaconess Foundation
Over the last 21 months at Deaconess, we have learned so much as we have strived to meet the needs of a rapidly changing environment. Initially, we recalibrated the Foundation’s funding model and processes to expedite grantmaking specifically in response to COVID-19. We then strengthened our technical capacity and developed a new grantmaking portal to increase the efficiency of our grantmaking process. Most recently, we challenged ourselves to further review processes and look for other opportunities to eliminate barriers for our partners and prospective partners seeking grant funding. Though this form of discernment and recalibration of our processes will be ongoing for the Foundation, we are excited to share that in 2022 we are streamlining our grant proposal application for each funding opportunity in our portfolio.

Our funding priorities remain the same, and we will continue to support policy development, advocacy, and organizing efforts to improve child well-being in the St. Louis metropolitan area. However, we have simplified our ask of those submitting proposals. Partners and prospective partners seeking funding will simply need to describe how they will employ at least one of the tactics (policy development, advocacy, or organizing) to demonstrably impact systemic change in at least one of Deaconess’ four policy zones. Our policy zones are:
INVESTMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION - All children of the St. Louis region should enjoy full access to quality early childhood care and education from birth to Pre-Kindergarten.

JUSTICE AND EQUITY FOR YOUTH - All children of the St. Louis region should receive just treatment under the law, with specific emphasis on contact with the state’s systems for juvenile justice and foster and adoptive care.

ECONOMIC MOBILITY FOR FAMILIES - Families in the St. Louis region should be able to achieve economic stability within one generation in an environment marked by fair chance employment practices, family-supporting wages and asset-building supports.  

ACCESS TO COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE - All children of the St. Louis region should have universal access to affordable, high-quality, comprehensive mental, physical and dental care, supported by a trauma-informed care approach, a network of school-based health centers and the benefits of Medicaid expansion. 
Our goal is to eliminate overly complex components of our grant proposal process that may inadvertently perpetuate inequity. Rather than expending invaluable time and resources responding to complex prompts, our partners and prospective partners could focus on the work they are passionate about across the region.

Funding Opportunities: The first round of Responsive Grant proposals for 2022 are due January 31, 2022. Please visit our website to learn more about our funding opportunities.
The Freedom Community Center (FCC) is a Black-led organization in North St. Louis that was founded to dismantle systems of oppression that inflict harm and trauma on Black communities in St. Louis City, particularly the police and the criminal punishment system. They ground themselves in the knowledge that Black survivors of St. Louis have the solutions to the question: What will keep us safe? They seek to build a community-based approach centered in safety, healing, accountability, and true freedom.
Deaconess Foundation supports Freedom Community Center through our Responsive Grants Portfolio. We support their work known as Resisting Systems of Oppression. Through this partnership, Freedom Community Center is better able to equip and position young survivors of harm to join and organize with a strong collective of Black survivors of harm in St. Louis. FCC staff organizes young people who have experienced violence in their community. Through bi-weekly power building meetings and other efforts that grow out of the We Keep Us Safe Power Building Meetings, they work to build a strong network of people who have survived significant harm who are ready and capable of engaging with political actors to advocate for the material change that they seek in their community.
Learn more about Freedom Community Center: freedomstl.org. 
A tale of two Medicaid expansions: Oklahoma jumps while Missouri lags

Bram Sable-Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Temp worker James Dickerson applied for Medicaid because it will be cheaper than his current health plan. Home health aide Sharon Coleman looks forward to having coverage that will cover a hospital stay. Incoming medical student Danielle Gaddis no longer worries a trip to the doctor will leave her in debt. Read more >>>
St. Louis receives $50 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Sophie Hurtwitz | The St. Louis American

The city of St. Louis announced Tuesday it received nearly $50 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to help fund $100 million in affordable housing construction, renovation and preservation of nearly 600 units.

This funding is part of an ongoing national program that has allowed for the construction or rehabilitation of about 110,000 affordable rental units across the country each year since 1986. Read more >>>
Integrating Individual Well-Being with Environmental Systems | Randall Amster and Linda Bell Grdina |Stanford Social Innovation Review | December 2021

If Congress Fails to Act, Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments Will Stop, Child Poverty Reductions Will Be Lost | Kris Cox, Chuck Marr, Arloc Sherman and Stephanie Hingtgen | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | December 2021
January 13: Queerness & Disability: Showing up as our Full Selves, 3:30 – 4:30 PM EST. Hosted by the United Church of Christ. Click here to learn more and register.

Through January 17: the Racial Healing + Justice Fund is recruiting community members to join the Community Governance board to direct the Fund’s investment. Click here to learn more and to apply.

January 21: Join ArchCity Defenders and Faith For Justice for the Fatal State Violence Response Program Monthly Meeting, 7 PM. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

SaturdaysFree drive-through COVID-19 testing available at Machinist Lodge #777, 12365 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sponsored by Healthy Living MO. 

Action St. Louis is hiring for three new roles: Data & Digital Coordinator, Communications Coordinator, and Administrative Assistant. Click here to learn more and to apply.

East Side Aligned is seeking nominations for The Champion’s Initiative, highlighting those in the Greater East St. Louis area advancing equity and justice with and for young people. Click here for the Youth Nomination FormClick here for the Adults, Organizations, Events, & Initiatives Nomination Form.

Missouri Kids First offers Mandated Reporter Training at no cost. Click here to learn more and to register.

Do you have an event you'd like to see in this Newsletter? Submit it here!
Our 2019-2020 Biennial Report is available! We share how we activated plans to evolve our philanthropy, advocacy and engagement and affirmed our commitment to racial equity in our governance during unprecedented times -- from the COVID-19 pandemic to the racial justice movement to the attack on democracy.
Stay Connected!