With A Renewed Emphasis On Community, St. Louis Community Foundation Unveils New Five-Year Strategic Plan

Listen to Dr. Adams’ thoughts on the strategic plan with KMOX host Debbie Monterrey.

ST. LOUIS, March 4, 2024 — In an effort to more closely align its discretionary giving with community needs and the interests of its donors, the St. Louis Community Foundation will now concentrate a portion of its discretionary grantmaking and resources in two priority areas — Economic Mobility and Youth Connections, Foundation officials announced today. The move is part of the organization’s new five-year strategic plan entitled “A Foundation for the Future.”

The Economic Mobility priority area is defined as organizations and initiatives that address housing, financial empowerment, and job creation issues. The Youth Connections priority area encompasses early childhood development, educational innovation, and scholarship efforts.

The Foundation selected the priority areas after an analysis of current donor giving patterns and interests, an assessment of community needs, a review of partnership opportunities with other funders, and conversations with community stakeholders.

Spearheaded by Foundation President and CEO Dr. Kelvin Adams, who assumed leadership of the Foundation last August, the new strategic plan was prepared with input from regional stakeholders and staff and approved by the organization’s board of directors.

“We intend to be an active and visible part of the problem-solving process in St. Louis by renewing our emphasis on ‘community’ in all of our activities,” said Adams. “With our region at a crossroads, our visits to Community Foundations in Atlanta, Columbus, and Pittsburgh helped us learn how they rely on this community-centric approach, and we believe it will be highly effective here.”

Adams made clear the new priority areas will not affect community-based initiatives or the current portfolio of donor-centric advisory services the Foundation provides to charitable St. Louisans.

“Our donors will continue to support the organizations important to them and work with our staff to prepare giving plans that meet their needs,” said Adams. “We will invite them to join us and lend their support to these initiatives, but there is not a requirement they do so.”

Over the next year, the Community Foundation will build the organizational framework for the initiative by forging collaborative partnerships with other funders and expanding funding streams. Formal grantmaking in support of regional nonprofits and initiatives is anticipated to begin in late 2024 or early 2025.

“Our region is one of the nation’s most generous, yet our philanthropic resources and energies are often pulled in multiple directions,” said Adams. “Our intention is to drive meaningful progress in these focus areas by building on our donors’ existing generosity and interests and leveraging the Foundation’s community reach and discretionary dollars.”

Helping facilitate this community-centric strategy is a new strategic initiatives senior officer, who focuses on donor education and engagement related to the strategic plan, while also helping familiarize donors with philanthropy best practices and community needs.

“The St. Louis Community Foundation is a philanthropy leader and catalyst for change for the bi-state region,” said William Schmidt, Board Chair of the Foundation and Managing Partner of Cultivation Capital. “This collaborative giving approach will enable the Foundation to leverage its immense experience and tremendous local knowledge to foster truly meaningful improvements for our community.”

About the St. Louis Community Foundation

The Foundation is a nonprofit with nearly 900 charitable funds and total assets of more than $525 million. Each fund represents a unique charitable giving partnership between nonprofit recipients and an individual, family, or business. The St. Louis Community Foundation inspires purposeful philanthropy that connects the community and donors to build and preserve a more equitable and vibrant region, now and forever. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit stlgives.org.