eNews
September 2021
COMPOUNDING CRISIS: EVICTIONS AND INACTION
Deaconess Community,

In the last few weeks, local and state governments scrambled to extend and reinstate eviction moratoriums following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject the Centers for Disease Control's national eviction ban which has provided housing security to millions of families during the pandemic. Yet, millions of families without the protection of locally or state enacted bans faced eviction at the onset of the new school year while billions of dollars in rental assistance sat undistributed. In Missouri alone, approximately $45.2 million of the $324 million received in federal assistance to help tenants who lost income due to the pandemic pay rent and utility bills has been distributed.

Certainly, the distribution of federal aid has picked up since late August. For example, St. Louis County has distributed $14.7 million of the $26.6 million received in federal assistance as of mid-September compared to $8 million earlier this month, and the City of St. Louis opened two in-person clinics to serve and assist residents seeking relief. However, the crisis is not averted with eviction moratoriums expiring on October 3 in both Missouri and Illinois.

Housing destabilization and displacing children and families must be avoided at all costs. We join our partners in demanding proactive local, state, and federal leadership in the face of yet another crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. 
In service to our children,

Cheryl D.S. Walker
Interim President and CEO
Deaconess Foundation
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: KIDS WIN MISSOURI
Kids Win Missouri began in 2013 as a small group of children’s advocacy stakeholders seeking to ensure children have a voice in Missouri’s legislative arena. Then called the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council, the organization has since become Kids Win Missouri. Their mission is to further child well-being by advancing the health, education, safety and development of Missouri children and their families, especially those who are at-risk because of poverty, abuse, neglect, racial inequities or other risk factors.
 
Deaconess Foundation has supported Kids Win Missouri’s work through our Responsive Grants portfolio since 2017. The Foundation supports Kids Win Missouri’s policy and advocacy efforts that focus on protecting and expanding the state’s investments in early childhood and afterschool care and education and advancing juvenile justice. 
 
Learn more about Kids Win Missouri: https://kidswinmissouri.org/
FROM THE FOUNDATION: ACCESSING HEALTH INSURANCE
While Medicaid eligibility has been expanded to include more than 270,000 Missourians, the state has received only a few thousand applications. Many may be unaware of their eligibility status while others may be unfamiliar with the process to apply for health insurance through the state and need assistance navigating the process.
 
The Missouri Department of Social Services is accepting applications and will begin processing applications for the newly expanded adult coverage in October. There are resources available to assist Missourians eligible for coverage through Missouri’s Medicaid program, also known as MO HealthNet. Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has compiled a Medicaid Expansion Fact Sheet and offers assistance by phone at (314) 534-4200. Additionally, Cover Missouri helps locate trained assisters to answer questions and help navigate Missourians through the process.
 
We remain excited about this victory for the people of Missouri and encourage our partners and advocates to continue informing communities of the new eligibility criteria and share resources to help alleviate barriers to access.
PARTNERSHIP & CAPACITY BUILDING: MISSION RELATED INVESTMENTS RETURN
Deaconess Foundation is currently accepting proposals for up to $600,000 in community investment funding through our Mission-Related Investments (MRI) initiative. The initiative provides low-interest loans to social impact organizations with exceptional capital management and a strong commitment to advancing the health and well-being of children and families in the St. Louis region. Social impact organizations include nonprofit service providers, advocacy groups, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, nonprofit financial intermediaries, and social enterprises. Deaconess created Mission-Related Investments to expand community access to financial capital and subsequently, build local capacity to achieve positive outcomes for all children.

MRI is an integral part of Deaconess' ongoing commitment to socially responsible investing and falls under its goal of spending up to two percent of the market value of the Foundations endowment, or up to $1 million, on community investments. Since 2017, Deaconess has disbursed $1 million in total funding its Mission-Related Investments initiative to three organizations: Justine PETERSEN, IFF, and Employment Connection. Deaconess' partnerships with these organizations have helped to strengthen St. Louis families, provide economic supports, and increase access to quality early childhood care, education and healthcare.
 
Deaconess recognizes that significant gaps in civic infrastructure, resources, and capacity inhibit the health and well-being of children and families in the St. Louis region. In response, the Foundation makes grants and investments with diverse partners to catalyze sustainable solutions to the issues facing the region’s most vulnerable children and youth. Funding from Deaconess has helped to address shortfalls in healthcare access, economic mobility, and early childhood education.

The Foundation looks forward to partnering with more organizations in the St. Louis region through this current cycle of its Mission-Related Investments initiative to advance critical efforts on behalf of the area’s children and youth. To be selected for Deaconess’ Mission-Related Investments, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate: 

  • proposed use of capital aligned with Deaconess policy priorities to advance well-being for metropolitan St. Louis children and families; 
  • organizational strength and readiness for borrowing; 
  • a track record of lending or investment; and 
  • a clear business model for repayment of the investment. 

Learn more about our MRI initiative and submit a proposal here. Proposals are due October 15, 2021.
Funding Opportunities – Visit our website for an up-to-date list of funding opportunities for 2021.
AT THE CENTER: BLACK ORGANIZING SUMMER SCHOOL
Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being has been home to Action St. Louis’ Black Organizing Summer School (BOSS) since the launch of the fellowship in 2019. The Center partners with Action St. Louis to host the powerful eight-week fellowship that focuses on the fundamental tenants of community organizing. This year’s fellowship began in August and continues through October.

The fellowship aims to (1) deepen participants’ knowledge of political organizing fundamentals and opportunities to apply training to current local campaigns, (2) sharpen participants political analysis around race, class and gender grounded in local history and movement building, (3) provide local grassroots organizations additional staff capacity, while giving current staff opportunities to sharpen training and facilitation skills, and (4) foster and deepen relationships between participants and develop opportunities for mentorship with the existing class of Black organizers in St. Louis.

Fellows spend the first quarter of the program emerged in organizing training guided by a curriculum Action St. Louis developed in partnership with the Movement for Black Lives and Advancement Project. The remaining time is spent applying the training. Fellows engage in hands-on work with partner organizations to advance current local campaigns. Each participant earns a $4,200 stipend for full-time engagement during the program.

Many organizations have expressed that there is a lack of Black organizers doing the work. This program is designed to fill that gap by building a pipeline of skilled, Black organizers who will go on to win campaigns that transform our communities.

This year’s cohort will graduate on October 2. Learn more about BOSS in the video below:
IN THE NEWS
Local African-American women win Women of Achievement Awards

The St. Louis American Staff | The St. Louis American

Women of Achievement recently honored the 2021 Women of Achievement – a selection of 10 extraordinary volunteers from the St. Louis metropolitan region. The St. Louis Women of Achievement Award, which was founded in 1955, is the oldest, ongoing program in the area whose sole mission is to honor and recognize the volunteer service and volunteer leadership of women.

The 10 honorees were recognized at the 66th Women of Achievement Awards Celebration—an hourlong awards broadcast on Nine PBS on Monday, September 13. A recording of the program is also online on Women of Achievement’s website (www.woastl.org). Read more >>>
Missouri launches Office of Childhood to expand services for children and families

Tessa Weinberg | Missouri Independent

Missouri’s new Office of Childhood officially launched Monday with a mission to transform the landscape of early childhood in the state for years to come.
The office’s ultimate goal: to expand the services the state offers for children and families and make it easier for them to be accessed in order to support the best outcomes for kids, said Pam Thomas, the assistant commissioner of the new office housed within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Read more >>>
WHAT WE'RE READING...
The child tax credit must become permanent. And refundable. | Robert Rudin | The Washington Post | September 2021

The Time is Right for Organizational Learning | Amanda Stewart, Marlene Walk, and Kerry Kuenzi | Stanford Social Innovation Review | September 2021

Guiding a Giving Response to Anti-Black Injustice | Susan Taylor Batten, Edward M. Jones, Leslie MacKrell, and Jerry Petit-Frere | ABFE and The Bridgespan Group | 2020

The Sum of Us | Heather McGhee | Penguin Random House | 2021
PARTNER OPPORTUNITIES AND EVENTS
Through 2021: Four St. Louis County Public Library branches will offer walk-up COVID-19 Vaccine clinics:

  • Lewis and Clark (9909 Lewis and Clark Boulevard in Moline Acres) will offer vaccines Wednesdays from 1 to 7 PM.
  • Natural Bridge (7606 Natural Bridge Road in Normandy) will offer vaccines Thursdays from 1 to 7 PM.
  • Florissant Valley (195 New Florissant South Road in Florissant) will offer vaccines Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Rock Road (10267 St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann) will offer vaccines Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM.

September 25: Join Beyond Housing and the 24:1 Community for the Annual 24:1 Community Conference. From 10 AM to 2 PM via Zoom. Register for this virtual event here.

September 27: Vision for Children at Risk celebrates their 30th Anniversary! 4 - 7 PM, at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, 1000 N. Vandeventer Ave., St. Louis MO 63113. Click here to register and learn more.

September 28: Action St. Louis will host a Tenant Meeting: Let's Get Organized! Held at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, 6 - 7:30 PM. Click here to learn more and register.

September 29: Join Dutchtown South Community Corporation for their monthly Community Empowerment Committee Meeting. 6 – 8 PM at Love Bank Park, 2853 Cherokee St., St. Louis MO 63118. Click here for more information.

September 30: Join Generate Health for their Coalition Meeting, including the launch of legislative report cards and other new advocacy tools. Join in the morning from 9 - 10:15 AM or join from 6 - 7 PM for the Legislator Report Card launch.

October 7: Join ACLU of Missouri for Truth & Justice. 6 – 7 PM, online event. Click here for more information and to register.

October 13: Join FLOURISH St. Louis for a virtual Safe Sleep Summit. 10:30 - 12:30 PM. Click here to learn more.

October 13: North Central Plan workshop at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, 1000 N. Vandeventer Ave. 4:30 - 6:30 PM. Click here to learn more and register.
 
Generate Health is hiring a Manager of Policy and Advocacy, an Evaluation Coordinator and a Marketing & Communications VISTAClick here to learn more about the positions and how to apply.

The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is hiring an Advocacy Director. Click here to learn more and apply.

Do you have an event you'd like to see in this Newsletter? Submit it here!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: ST. LOUIS REGIONAL RACIAL HEALING + JUSTICE FUND
In March of this year, the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing + Justice Fund’s Community Governing Board selected the first set of community grant recipients to lead capacity and infrastructure development efforts in the racial justice movement through community organizing and healing arts. Forward Through Ferguson released a compilation of the inaugural cohort of grant recipients sharing stories about joy, uplifting St. Louis' Black and Brown communities, and supporting Racial Healing that's #ForUsByUs.
Deaconess Foundation, Forward Through Ferguson, and Missouri Foundation for Health collaborated to establish the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing + Justice Fund on October 21, 2020 to invest in healing community trauma and changing the conditions that reinforce systemic racism. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported the launch of the Fund with a matching grant, and 17 local and national foundations have joined the pool of participating organizations.
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