St. Louis Community Foundation

PIPA Celebrates Another Successful Year with Graduation Ceremony

On Thursday, November 7th, the Philanthropic Institute for Professional Advisors (PIPA) held a graduation ceremony for their 32 students at the Log Cabin Club in St. Louis, signifying another successful year for the program.

The St. Louis Community Foundation, in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, created PIPA to help wealth advisors, attorneys and accountants to communicate better with clients about charitable giving.

The PIPA program was developed in 2018 to combat a common problem in advising: while 95% of clients would like to discuss charitable giving with an advisor, only 6% of advisors initiate the conversation. The program trains advisors on how to effectively start this conversation, with the goal of inspiring more philanthropic activity in the St. Louis area.

PIPA is split into five four-hour sessions throughout the year. In these sessions, advisors gain insightful knowledge of how to better facilitate value-based estate planning conversations with clients. They also have the opportunity to meet with professional coaches, do on-site visits and attend various interactive training sessions.

At the end of the year, the “students” graduate in a ceremony planned by the three St. Louis-based organizations. Though the 2019 PIPA program is completed, the advisors take with them a certificate, new networking connections, and the ability to better incorporate philanthropic practices in their work in the future.

Michelle de Silva, Giving Strategist at the St. Louis Community Foundation, began working alongside the program in spring of this year. For her, the graduation ceremony meant a successful end of her first year with PIPA.

“Our professional advisors are incredibly engaged, knowledgeable and caring when it comes to their clients and their community,” she said about this year’s members. “We are proud to be working with them to improve purposeful philanthropy in the region.”

According to de Silva, the graduation ceremony included a testimony about the “story behind the story” of Laila Anderson who suffers from a rare, acute illness and how impactful philanthropy was in Laila’s care at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. A panel then discussed why working with local organizations is so vital to our region and offered some tips on giving expert philanthropic planning assistance.

To learn more about the PIPA program, click here.

For questions about the program, contact Michelle de Silva at