August 2018
Vote No on Prop A on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 : Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation, Sanaria Sulaiman, executive director of Vision for Children at Risk, Jamala Rogers, board member of Vision for Children at Risk, Amy Blouin, executive director of Missouri Budget Project, Michelle Whitley, General Motors employee, and Jen Bersdale, executive director of Missouri Healthcare for All called on Missourians to vote "No" on Proposition A.
Deaconess Foundation joins our partners who serve and advocate for children and families across the St. Louis region in the fight to defeat Proposition A at the polls on Tuesday, August 7 th . As the hands that rock the cradle, wipe the noses, tutor after school, host parent roundtables and educate legislators in Jefferson City, our grantees are well positioned with proximity and perspective to discern the impact of this ballot referendum on the most vulnerable people in our state - our children.
Proposition A asks citizens of Missouri to sustain the so-called "right-to-work" bill passed by the Missouri Legislature in 2017. The law would effectively and specifically weaken labor unions' capacity to collectively bargain for better working conditions, fair wages and family supporting benefits of employment.

Our Commitment to Family Economic Mobility
Proposition A will drive down wages for Missouri families: If it passes, Proposition A will drive down wages for all Missourians. Research from the Economic Policy Institute shows that "right to work" laws like Proposition A are associated with lower wages and a weaker middle class. EPI found that wages were 3.1% lower in states with right to work laws like Proposition A. EPI's Heidi Shierholz said, "If Missouri goes in the direction of right to work, we will see that the wages of workers, including those that are not in unions, will decline."
This matters for our children because according to research by Dr. Sean Reardon of Stanford University, the leading indicator of student academic success at district scale is parental income.         
There are 261,353 poor children in Missouri. Our region boasts some of the most successful social service interventions in the country and remarkable children and youth programming. But, our children do no grow up in our programs. They grow up in the arms, households and hearts of their parents. Dad's salary directly impacts the daughters' test scores

Our Commitment to Racial Equity and Women
Economic Policy Institute's study of wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010-2017, finds that in right-to-work states:
  • Black worker's wages are 11.5 percent lower
  • White workers' wages are 15.1 percent lower
  • Hispanic workers' wages are 8.3 percent lower
The disparity is even worse for women.
  • Wages are 19 percent lower for white women
  • 14 percent lower for Hispanic women
  • 13 percent lower for Black women in RTW states. 
It is unfortunately the case that children are the poorest demographic of all Missourians. Yet, while one (1) in five (5) Missouri children grow up in poverty, two (2) in five (5) Black and Brown children are poor. To be clear, the majority of poor children in these communities are raised by their mothers, who will be harmed if Proposition A is not defeated on Tuesday.

Ballot Content and Issues - August 7
th Primary Election

Just For Kids (J4K) Community Conversations
This summer and fall, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being will host the J4K Community Conversations. The series brings national leaders to St. Louis to hold forums designed to activate change for children in St. Louis. Each Community Conversation will bring timely insights on justice, equity, and well-being for children and leave participants with tools to apply these best practices in St. Louis. J4K Community Conversations will continue through October.
The J4K Community Conversations will take place over the course of the next three months.
On August 21st Dr. William C. Bell, president and CEO, of Casey Family Programs, the nation's largest foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care, is the featured speaker. He will discuss "Faith Communities and Child Welfare" including plans to reduce the national need for foster care by 50 percent by 2020, and how St. Louis can achieve this goal as well. Community members, philanthropic, faith and child well-being leaders are invited to explore the intersection of child welfare, faith communities and philanthropy. St. Louis community leaders in attendance will also be the first in the country to be introduced to Casey's forthcoming Community Toolkit for child welfare partnerships.
Additional upcoming events feature Dr. Manuel Pastor of the University of Southern California on September 20th. He will lead discussions on a powerful prescription not only for St. Louis but also for our national challenges of slow job growth, rising economic inequality, and acute political polarization. His new book State of Resistance: What California's Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America's Future uses data, case studies, and narratives to inform changes to create economic wellness.

Finally, on October 23rd, Leslie Crutchfield of Georgetown University and author of How Change Happens, will discuss movements for social change in St. Louis. Crutchfield explains why some movements succeed while others falter. How Change Happens looks at successful movements like LGBT marriage equality, in contrast to those that have struggled to effect change like gun violence reduction. Crutchfield will also explore the implications for newer movements like Black Lives Matter in St. Louis.
The series began in April with Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. Leading more than 150 participants at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, Edelman outlined the steps St. Louis needs to take to Build a Community Just for Kids.

Funding Opportunities
Deaconess'  Just for Kids  funding strategy  advances child well-being in the St. Louis region through collaborative engagement and investment with diverse partners to improve systems and sustain actions that have long-term impact on the health and well-being of children. 

Deadlines to apply for new funding opportunities are approaching:
Responsive grants   provide 1-2 years of project support for policy development, advocacy, or organizing efforts that pursue systems change for children. Our updated and streamlined quarterly Responsive Grant   applications   are due  October 31, 2018.
Please visit our  website  to learn more about these opportunities!
NFG 2018 National Convening: Moving Money for Justice

Photo Credit: Neighborhood Funders Group
Rev. Starsky D. Wilson delivered a "compelling and dynamic" keynote address during   Neighborhood Funders Group's National Convening   in St. Louis. Rev. Wilson contextualized the current social and political dynamics in St. Louis four years after the death of Michael Brown, Jr. and three years after the release of the Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity Report .

ACTION: A Place for Collaborative Mission & Service
A generation ago local members of United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations organized mission groups and volunteered personal time to visit patients, serve as candy stripers and witness to God's healing presence at Deaconess Hospital. In April 2018, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being opened its doors. It is the first building dedicated to the Deaconess mission in nearly twenty years of our 130-year heritage. Today, we invite this generation of church leaders to join us in service to the community's children.
Established by Deaconess Foundation, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is a community action tank, located at 1000 North Vandeventer Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63113. Our mission is to build power to advance child well-being in the St. Louis region by strengthening alliances for child-friendly public policy, increasing citizen contact with policy makers, positioning youth and organizers to move systems and engaging faith communities in child advocacy. The Center is home to three child-focused, non-profits and grants free space to efforts shifting systems to serve kids.
Partnership between the faith community and child advocates will be critical for Deaconess Center's success. Join us!
Extend Extravagant Welcome
Welcoming child advocates, organizers and families who are building power for
children will be critical to the success of Deaconess Center. Our Extravagant We lcome Team is focused on creating a welcoming, accessible, safe and inviting space for all. W e believe well-supported volunteers  can make this happen. So, w e welcome enthusiastic, responsible, and thoughtful volunteers to join us in this work.
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 inc lude:
  • Greeting child advocates at our Welcome Desk (Monday-Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm)
  • Providing hospitality for meetings and special events (Episodic; Evenings and Weekends)
  • Setting up and breaking down meetings and special events
To join the volunteer team, contact David Nehrt-Flores at (314) 356-2533 or davidn@deaconess.org.
Deaconess in the News
Kayla Bishop, Eve Robinson, Lavonda Henderson Mariah Rodgers and Diamond Russell received New Deaconess Nursing Scholarships to support their education during a ceremony held Monday, July 9 at the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being in North St. Louis.
Six students receive Deaconess
Nursing Scholarships
By Sandra Jordan
St. Louis American

Rev. Starsky Wilson: 'Nurses Control health care in America'

The annual ceremony awarding Deaconess Nursing Scholarships was reformatted this year, with great relevance. You could say it allowed new nursing students to stay woke to what lies ahead during their studies.
The message, in short, was: Nursing studies not easy, regardless of where you attend school; peers may downplay your knowledge and abilities or act as though you do not exist; the support you need from some teachers may not manifest; and yet you must stay focused, stay encouraged, and stay in St. Louis.
The scholars receiving this tough love were Diamond Russell (Southeast Missouri State University), Mariah Rodgers (Missouri Southern State University), Eve Robinson (Western Illinois University), Kayla Bishop (Cuyahoga Community College) and Lavonda Henderson (Harris-Stowe State University). Read more>>
The Census Citizenship Question and Children , by Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund.
Building Community Power: A Philanthropic Strategy and an End Goal , by Caitlin Duffy, senior associate for learning and engagement at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Partner Opportunities and Upcoming Events
Aug 7       Election Day in Missouri. Your vote matters.

Aug 16  Kids Win Missouri , Vision for Children at Risk and ARCHS are hosting a St. Louis Listening Session on Child Well-Being at 3:30 p.m. at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being . The hosts will gather feedback on child well-being issues impacting our community. RSVP here .
Aug 21 Deaconess Center is hosting a J4K Community Conversation with Dr. William C. Bell of Casey Family Programs on Faith Communities and Child Welfare at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being at 8:30 a.m. Register here .
Sep 20    Deaconess Center is hosting a J4K Community Conversation with Dr. Manuel Pastor of University of Southern California on Equity, Growth and Community at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being at 8:30 a.m. Registration available soon.
Oct 23    Deaconess Center is hosting a J4K Community Conversation with Leslie Crutchfield of Georgetown University McDonough School of Business on How Changes Happens at Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being at 8:30 a.m. Registration available soon.

THANK YOU for joining us August 3 & 4 for 

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