March 2021
Deaconess Community,

This month marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. And while many may be breathing a sigh of relief with the increasing availbility of COVID-19 vaccines, the trauma and disproportionate impact of the pandemic continues to unfold. From loss of family income, to school closures, to a reduction in health and social services, to increased exposure to illness and death, the devastating impact of this past year on children and their wellbeing is immeasurable. We will continue to learn of the effects in the years to come.
But, for now we must meet their current needs and prepare a future for them, through public policy, that create conditions for them to thrive. 
Immediately, this requires substantive federal, state and local policy changes that are sustainable beyond the pandemic, such as:

Increasing access to comprehensive health care services by:
  • equitably distributing COVID-19 vaccines so caregivers seeking to be vaccinated in communities with increased risk of illness and death have access to vaccines; and
  • implementing medicaid expansion in Missouri so more children and families are insured and have access to health, particularly behavorial health, services.
Positioning families to achieve economic stability by:
  • expanding, extending and distributing housing assistance to prevent displacement;
  • permanently expanding the federal Child Tax Credit which would allow qualifying families to reduce their income tax burden;
  • creating an Earned Income Tax Credit in Missouri which would reduce the tax burden for 494,000 families with low earned incomes;
  • eliminating barriers to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and increasing the maximum benefit in Missouri to provide families with cash assistance to meet immediate needs; and
  • increasing wages so that workers earn family-supporting and living wages.

By no means is this list exhausitive. However, these few, but mighty, sweeping policy changes will meet immediate and future needs of thousands, and in many instances, millions of children and families. What we have learned this past year is that child advocates have been right all along. The policies they have been championing for years are not only good for children but for everyone, and dare I say the economy. We must do well by our children.

In service to our children,

Cheryl D.S. Walker
Interim President and CEO
Deaconess Foundation
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis (SFSTL) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1920, and it is rooted in the conviction that an educated society is essential to a healthy democracy. SFSTL provides access to postsecondary education to members of our community who otherwise would not have the financial means to fulfill their educational goals. SFSTL contributes to enlightened public policy through advocacy for its vision of postsecondary educational opportunity without financial barriers.

Deaconess Foundation provides funding to The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis through both its Responsive Grant portfolio and the Deaconess Foundation Nursing Scholarship. The Nursing Scholarship provides grants of up to $10,000 to approximately 15 students pursuing nursing degrees annually. These grants are renewable through completion of a bachelor’s degree or up to ten semesters. The application period for 2021 is now open. The deadline for application submission is April 15, 2021. Learn more and apply here.

Learn more about the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis at: sfstl.org
More than 1,000 advocates across the state of Missouri participated in Child Advocacy Week March 8 through 12. Because we were unable to physically gather in Jefferson City this year, the traditional day of advocacy for children was instead a week-long virtual experience. As a result, 11 workshops were offered, and the week of events provided many opportunities for parents, advocates, and policymakers to participate and engage the critical issues affecting our children.

On Monday, March 1, the Advocating from a Distance – Virtual Advocacy 101 workshop offered ways to effectively participate in the virtual Child Advocacy Week and ways to effectively advocate throughout the year. The remaining workshops offered include Keeping Missouri’s Youth Learning: School-Based Health During COVID-19, Kids Health Coverage: Medicaid Expansion & Other Developments, COVID-19 Vaccine Recent Developments, Updates from State Departments Serving Children and Families, Serving Missouri’s Kids, Families During COVID-19, Diversity & Inclusion in Children’s Advocacy Efforts, Children’s Issues in the Budget, and Responding to Children’s Mental Health & Trauma During COVID-19. As advocates for children, deeply understanding the issues is key to effectively advocating for policy change on their behalf.

The presentations, workshop recordings, and resources from Child Advocacy Week are available here. Please join us in using these tools to advocate for children year-round.
Deaconess pursues a focused, power-building strategy to advance child well-being through racial equity and public policy change. Beyond financial investments, the Foundation is deeply committed to ensuring the sustainability of our Funded Partners. To this end, our Partners have access to exclusive learning opportunities for leadership, staff and board development.
This year, the peer learning opportunities offered to our Funded Partners will be provided in partnership with the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) and The Management Center. IISC’s Facilitative Leadership for Social Change workshop develops practical collaborative skills and tools needed to create the conditions for groups, teams, organizations, and communities to effectively and creatively move together from vision to action in extraordinary ways. It provides participants with a forum to explore their challenges and aspirations as leaders.
The Management Center’s Managing to Change the World Crash Course is a 2-day fast-paced course covering the basics of effective management. Participants learn to: delegate tasks effectively, use goals to hand off broad responsibilities, check in with staff efficiently, hire great people, give feedback and develop staff, resolve performance challenges, work more effectively with supervisors by managing up, keep organized and use time effectively, and incorporate an equity lens in applying the management practices all in an effort to ensure great results.

For more information and to register for these opportunities please contact Michael Shultz at [email protected]

Funding OpportunitiesVisit our website for a list of funding opportunities for 2021. Upcoming grant deadlines include the Deaconess Nursing Scholarship on April 15 and Responsive Grants on April 30.
Though convenings at Deaconess Center have yet to resume, there are still opportunities to volunteer with Deaconess Center and join the movement of child advocates, organizers and families who are building power for children in our region. 
Our volunteers are creating a welcoming, accessible, safe and inviting space for all both on our campus and through our virtual convenings. We believe well-supported volunteers can make this happen. Deaconess Center offers a wide variety of long-term and short-term ways to connect and get involved. Opportunities for volunteers of at least 18 years of age include: 
  • Providing hospitality and set up for Outdoor Open-Air Convenings beginning April 1
  • Supporting Virtual Convenings hosted by Deaconess Center through our Zoom Platform
In order to cultivate a COVID-19 safe environment for staff, guests and volunteers, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being has implemented the following procedures and precautions:

  • Frequent disinfecting of common areas;
  • Physical distancing measures throughout the Center;
  • Placement of hand sanitizing stations throughout the campus; and 
  • Requiring face coverings to enter the Center.
To join the volunteer team, complete the Volunteer Application Form or contact David Nehrt-Flores at (314) 356-2533 or [email protected].
In maintaining our commitment to informing and engaging with our community relating to Deaconess Foundation’s nation-wide search for our next chief executive, we continue to hold space for updates in our monthly newsletter.

Over the course of several weeks, at the direction of the Search Committee, the consultive search firm has been engaging in one-on-one discussions with many within the Deaconess community to identify the qualities, skill sets, and experience desired in the next leader. The insight gathered from community leaders, former Deaconess chief executives and volunteer leaders, local and national peer funders, North Central Plan steering committee leaders, current and past board members and trustees of Deaconess Foundation and Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, Foundation staff, and Deaconess’ multi-year grant partners is invaluable and helped to guide the curation of the chief executive position profile.

The nomination and application period for the position of President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is now open. Deaconess has retained Issacson, Miller, a national executive search firm to assist with the search process. To view the position profile, apply for the position, submit nominations of others or inquire about the search in confidence, please visit: www.imsearch.com/7799.
'One of the most exciting days.' St. Louis area school districts begin vaccinating teachers

Annika Merrilees | The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

More than half a million Missourians became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, opening the door for several area school districts to begin immunizing thousands of teachers, bus drivers, janitors and staff.

The Ferguson-Florissant School District scheduled mass vaccinations for Monday and Tuesday. Webster Groves, for Tuesday. And St. Louis Public opened a four-day vaccination clinic on Monday with help from the Missouri National Guard and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. The district also invited employees from charter, private and parochial schools in the area.

Melanie Vierling, dean of students at Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School on Jefferson Avenue north of downtown, said she signed up at multiple hospitals, plus St. Louis and St. Louis County health departments, but was relieved when she learned she could be vaccinated by the district. Read more>>>
St. Louis Judge Extends Eviction Moratorium Through April 5 to Help Families

Andrea Y. Henderson | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer has extended through April 5 his order halting evictions in the city.

In an order Monday, the day on which his previous order was set to expire, Stelzer wrote that the extension is necessary to keep people in their homes during a public health crisis.

Housing attorneys say the judge’s order will help people who lost income during the coronavirus pandemic and have been unable to pay their rent or mortgages.

“Right now we are in a limbo where many people are months and months behind. It's a very frightening situation for all of them,” said Thomas Pearson, an attorney for Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council. “If this is not handled properly we can see more homelessness since the Great Depression.” Read more >>>
How Covid is Changing Strategic Planning: Fresh Thinking for Nonprofit Leaders by Jennifer Holk, Gabriel Kasper, and Justin Marcoux | The Chronicle of Philanthropy | March 2021

How Philanthropy Can Support Equitable Vaccines Distribution by Kathleen Kelly Janus | SSIR | February 2021

Data Show the Shift from Policing to Harm Reduction Saves Lives by Martin Levine | Nonprofit Quarterly | February 2021
March 18 & 25: St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America hosts Immigration 101, 2 – 3 PM. Click here to register.

March 19 & 26: Kids Win Missouri's weekly legislative session call, 10 AM. Click here to register.

March 23: North Central Plan Final Town Hall, 6 – 7:30 PM. Click here to learn more and register.

March 24 & 25: Kids Win Missouri Parent Listening Sessions, time varies. Click here to learn more and register.

March 29: Black Funders of St. Louis presents Measuring Success: How to Effectively Evaluate Your Organization’s Programs, 12 – 1 PM. Click here to register.

Metropolitan Congregations United and the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina is conducting a study seeking to understand (1) how networks are formed between those working on police reform and racial equity, (2) how resources flow through those networks, and (3) how to be successful in reforming policing so that it is racially just. Click here to learn more and participate in the survey.

Generate Health is hiring a Manager of Strategic Initiatives. Click here to learn more about the position and how to apply.

Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) is hiring several positions, including Executive Director, Program Support Assistant, OBS Youth Organizer and OBS Racial Justice Organizer. Click here to learn more about each position, and to apply.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Call for Applications is open now through May 5. 15 teams will receive $125,000 in fundsClick here to learn more and apply.

Do you have an event you'd like to see in this Newsletter? Submit it here!
On February 2, the North Central Plan hosted its third virtual community-wide meeting. At this meeting, detailed conversation about the Plan’s Institutional and Community Anchor framework and other key concepts were discussed.
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