Meet the Berges Family Foundation

Jim and Cathy Berges believe in giving and they believe in giving to the community they call home, “making St. Louis a great place to live, work, and invest.” The Bergeses also want to give strategically and effectively.

As Elizabeth Mannen, the Berges Family Foundation managing advisor, noted, “giving is part art and part science.” The family identified the areas in which they wanted to give – youth empowerment, cultural engagement, STEM preparedness, and support for first responders and veterans. They also decided that they wanted to fund organizations that are “an inch wide and a mile deep. We want those institutions that perhaps take the child from early in the morning to late at night and include Saturdays, too, and work with kids year round.”

As the Berges Family Foundation’s grantmaking became more robust, the Bergeses turned to the St. Louis Community Foundation for guidance and support.

“We hired the Community Foundation to harness their vast resources,” Elizabeth Mannen stated. “The Community Foundation has the staff that can see the grant making and do the follow up, the boots on the ground, and they know a number of these organizations intimately. When you start to weed your way through who is doing their work effectively and who is collaborating with other partners, you need someone like the Community Foundation that really understands who the key partners are.”

The Bergeses are taking advantage of our grant management services. For the Berges Family Foundation, as well as other family and private foundations, the St. Louis Community Foundation:

  • Helps ensure that the Foundation is giving within their initiatives and strategic priorities;
  • Raises questions regarding best practices in philanthropy;
  • Identifies and vets nonprofit organizations;
  • Coordinates the competitive grant process;
  • Communicates with nonprofits; and
  • Synthesizes and analyzes grant reports.

The St. Louis Community Foundation team is also available to the Berges family, and other family and private foundations, as they consider future strategy and new areas of grantmaking. With over 13,000 nonprofits in the region, it is the Community Foundation’s role to know the complex landscape and make it easier for families like the Berges’ to have impact in the community through their giving. The Foundation digs deep to understand donors’ intentions, then bring the unique perspective of community-based philanthropy as you make your giving decisions.

As Cathy Berges said, “it doesn’t matter how big or how small your gift is. It is the passion that you have to see something get better, to make St. Louis a better place.”

Review the video below to learn more about the Berges Family Foundation and how the St. Louis Community Foundation assists them with their grantmaking.