Anonymous St. Louis Community Foundation Donor Helps St. Charles County Prosecutor Pay Off Student Loans
According to news reports, the average law school graduate enters the work force with as much as $200,000 of student loan debt, a hefty burden for anyone — particularly those seeking a career in public service.
However, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor to the St. Louis Community Foundation, one dedicated public servant will see some of her loans paid off. Jillian Anderson, a St. Charles County prosecutor with 16 years of public service, learned today that her loans would be forgiven provided she continued working as a prosecutor in the public sector.
Last year, an anonymous St. Louis Community Foundation donor and former prosecuting attorney from St. Louis established the Missouri Prosecuting Attorney Outstanding Service Award. This annual award recognizes the achievements and leadership of someone who is committed to public service and criminal prosecution for the long-term; Jillian is the inaugural recipient. Award recipients will have up to $50,000 of their outstanding federal and/or institutional student loans repaid.
“I am elated and so very grateful; I can hardly believe it,” Anderson said after being surprised with the news by the St. Louis Community Foundation. “This will make a huge difference for our family. I am truly over the moon.”
The anonymous donor established the fund at the St. Louis Community Foundation to ensure the best and brightest were able to seek public service careers.
“As citizens, we all have a stake in having talented legal minds conducting the public business. However, with the high cost of law school, that isn’t always possible,” said the Community Foundation donor. “I established the Missouri Prosecuting Attorney Outstanding Service Award as a mechanism to reward public service and enable those who want to serve as prosecutors to do so without having to worry about student debt.”
The award is available to any practicing federal or state assistant prosecuting attorney, assistant circuit attorney, or assistant attorney general who is engaged in prosecution within the state of Missouri. Candidates must have at least three years of prosecutorial experience and be employed full time prosecuting criminal or juvenile delinquency cases.
Anderson graduated from George Washington University Law School in 2003 after completing her undergraduate work at Florida State University. She worked briefly in private practice after law school, but realized she wanted to serve in the public sector and joined the Saint Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 2008.
“With my dad serving in the military, public service was part of my upbringing and I knew working in criminal prosecution would be more rewarding for me personally,” said Anderson. “With two kids and the loans, it was tight, but taking this debt off my shoulders means the world to me. I am so grateful.”
Applicants were evaluated on the strength of an essay, letters of reference, character, integrity, quality of work, leadership, ethical standards, commitment to public service and victims’ rights, contributions to the community and the legal profession, and financial need in the form of outstanding student loan debt.
For complete eligibility requirements, deadline information, and application materials, please visit stlgives.org/community-impact/mpaosa. Applications for the 2020 award will be due on January 31, 2020.
The Missouri Prosecuting Attorney Outstanding Service award is a component fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, national origin, gender, age, color, sexual orientation, veteran status, or physical or mental disability. Final decisions on eligibility, selection, and award amount will be determined by the St. Louis Community Foundation.
About the St. Louis Community Foundation
The St. Louis Community Foundation is a nonprofit foundation composed of nearly 700 charitable funds with total assets of approximately $500 million. Each fund represents a unique charitable giving partnership between an individual, family, or business and designated nonprofit recipients.
In 2018, the Foundation and its donors distributed nearly $90 million to nonprofits around the world. Over the last 10 years, the St. Louis Community Foundation and its donors made nearly $422 million in grants to charitable organizations. In both periods approximately 90 percent remained in St. Louis and supported local nonprofits.
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Pictured (left to right): Amelia Bond, St. Louis Community Foundation President & CEO; Jillan Anderson, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; and Tom Lohmar, Prosecuting Attorney of St. Charles County.