St. Louis Community Foundation Commits $150,000 to St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund
At its June 12, 2020, Board of Directors meeting, the St. Louis Community Foundation Board approved $150,000 to support the Regional Racial Healing Fund, which will support the racial justice movement in St. Louis. Established through a collaboration with the Deaconess Foundation, Forward Through Ferguson and Missouri Foundation for Health, the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund will invest in healing community trauma and changing the conditions that reinforce systemic racism.
With a matching grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a growing pool of participating organizations, $1.4 million has already been committed to the effort. Through a community-led grantmaking process, the fund will support efforts to develop capacity and infrastructure in the racial justice movement to envision, articulate and create a transformed St. Louis region through community organizing and healing arts.
The initial group of ten diverse funders of the effort include: Deaconess Foundation, Incarnate Word Foundation, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, Midwest Bank Centre, Missouri Foundation for Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, St. Louis Community Foundation, St. Louis University’s Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and YouthBridge Community Foundation.
Recognizing the longstanding need to convert plans to support community wellness and resilience into action, a broad table of organizers and institutions helped develop the concept of the St. Louis Regional Racial Healing Fund. The collaborative, clear that the work of the fund must be grounded in community, will engage residents to participate in strategy development and grantmaking decisions.
Through this participatory grantmaking process, a cohort of grassroots leaders, artists, creatives and residents of color will identify specific funding priorities and outcomes and distribute invested funds to a combination of mid-scale and grassroots organizations. These targeted investments, guided by a shared community-driven vision, aim to
- heal individual and community trauma,
- engage a broader range of residents in systems change work,
- prepare leaders of color to organize for healing justice,
- build local capacity to nurture support, and cultivate healing assets and
- align resources for long-term sustainability.
With the focus on helping the region heal from the effects of racism and produce actionable change, the Fund Partners have collectively committed to a set of collaborative practices to assure sustained momentum for organized advocacy and civic action for systemic transformation. These include, in part:
- Expanding opportunities for community members to express grief, connect to sacred cultural assets, and seek/offer forgiveness through healing circles and other restorative practices;
- Investing in grassroots organizations that promote intragroup and intergroup healing and foster community resilience;
- Preparing and inviting more community residents to participate directly in leading and facilitating community mobilization, organizing, civic engagement, and system change; and
- Investing in community-wide, neighborhood level, and small group platforms that offer residents opportunities for deepening relationships through restoration, reverence, respect, and trust building.
These practices, informed by The Ferguson Commission Playbook, will foster greater inclusion of underrepresented groups in the allocation of resources, increased civic and community engagement and a leadership pipeline of residents trained in racial healing practices and engaged in professional development opportunities.