Gateway Center for Giving (GCG) convened grantmakers and nonprofits at GCG’s Annual Meeting today to celebrate excellence in sector leadership. This year’s Annual Meeting theme, “AMPLIFY,” reflects the importance of elevating philanthropic strategies that address compelling regional needs and goals. GCG Members collectively represent $5.8 billion in charitable assets, of which more than $261 million is deployed in the St. Louis region each year, creating sustained and meaningful impact. The all-new Innovation Hall at Cortex served as the event venue for Board Member elections and the Gateway Giving Awards presentation.
The annual Gateway Giving Awards reflect an emphasis on best practices in the field. Award winners are nominated by their grantmaking peers, community members, and nonprofits. Winners were selected in three categories:
Emerging Leader in Philanthropy: The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual or organization demonstrating generosity of spirit and a commitment to social impact both professionally, and personally. The award winner shows creativity and determination to improve the philanthropic sector, and demonstrates great potential for leading the sector in the future.
- Jenny Lynch, Louis County Children’s Service Fund (CSF): Jenny, a program associate at CSF, has worked in the philanthropic sector for three years. During this time, she has become a highly regarded co-worker and contributor who leads by example, mentoring new staff members, volunteering to accompany co-workers on site visits, taking the lead on internal workgroups, and serving as a valued member of the St. Louis Area Funders Learning and Evaluation Group (FLEG). As her nomination states, “Jenny has championed the partnership model of working with funded agencies, demonstrating transparency, respect, and collaboration in practices and communication.” She is also committed to continually growing her skill-set and applying that knowledge to better herself personally and professionally.
- Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), St. Louis Chapter: Established in 2017 by a group of local funders and nonprofit representatives, EPIP St. Louis is a community of emerging professionals, all of whom are newer to the philanthropic sector and are committed to cultivating a diverse field of practitioners equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to create a thriving, socially just, and racially equitable St. Louis. EPIP St. Louis strives to partner with mission-driven organizations to connect philanthropy with existing social movements that are working to achieve lasting, positive impact in our community. From hosting a community organizing training for funders to catalyzing a monthly “Lunch & Learn” discussion about topical sector issues, EPIP St. Louis is continuing to provide unique opportunities for newer grantmakers to experience professional and leadership development, shared learning, advocacy, and networking, all with the lens of social justice and equity.
Excellence in Collaboration in Philanthropy: The Excellence in Collaboration Award recognizes a grantmaking organization that has made collaboration a central part of its grantmaking strategy, and has shown itself to be an effective collaborator among its grantmaking peers and community partners.
- Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, and Saint Louis MHB: These three grantmakers collectively identified a gap by convening and then intentionally listening to their grantees and community partners share the challenges of serving the unique needs of St. Louis’ regional immigrant and refugee population. Recognizing that service providers would benefit from opportunities to learn and act in concert with their counterparts, this group of funders supported the launch of the Immigrant Service Providers Network (ISPN), a collaborative of community, labor, faith, business, and direct service organizations focused on providing support to the foreign-born. Still sustained individually by Daughters of Charity, Lutheran Foundation, and Saint Louis MHB, the ISPN is continuing to bolster organizations that are helping New Americans navigate the many challenges to success on the path to thriving in their St. Louis home.
Excellence in Innovation in Philanthropy: The Excellence in Innovation Award recognizes a grantmaking organization that has put significant support behind an unproven initiative or project that has the potential to yield great community outcomes, or has engaged in innovative investing strategies.
- Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM): The Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM) are being recognized for their leadership in strategic impact investing, with a decade of deliberate divesting, investing and re-investing their assets to further their organization’s core values. FSM’s impact investments generate positive environmental and social benefits, as well as financial returns. For example, FSM is moving clean energy initiatives forward to reduce the devastating effects of climate change at home and around the globe by investing in solar power for hundreds of thousands of customers in East Africa who would otherwise be burning kerosene or wood to provide light and heat. In addition to the mission alignment of their investment portfolio, FSM’s philanthropic activity is similarly guided by their core values. Essential to their focus on the compassionate care of creation, their philanthropy supports efforts that contribute to a thriving local food system in the St. Louis region, with the recognition that healthy and sustainably-produced food will improve the local economy and our residents’ health. Finally, FSM encourages other organizations to consider similarly targeted investing, and they amplify this practice by sharing their expertise and making information about impact strategies more accessible and visible to those who are interested in participating through the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative that they launched in 2014.
GCG Board Chair Jama Dodson welcomed the following three additions to the Gateway Center for Giving Board of Directors for a three-year term:
- Barbara Carswell, YouthBridge Community Foundation
- Angela Fleming Brown, St. Louis Regional Health Commission
- Roshelle Scott, Maritz
The following Directors were nominated to serve a second three-year term:
- David Desai-Ramirez, IFF
- Gregory Glore, Glore Fund
- Jenny Hoelzer, Commerce Bank
- Jenny Hoelzer, Commerce Bank, Board Chair
- Melinda McAliney, Brown Sisters Foundation, Vice Chair
- Gregory Glore, Glore Fund, Secretary
- Vander Corliss, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Treasurer
Outgoing Board Members:
- Three Board Members were recognized for their outstanding service to the organization: Debbie Schirmer, Maritz; Jeanne Dalba, Robert J. Trulaske Jr. Family Foundation; Matthew Kuhlenbeck, Missouri Foundation for Health.
GCG’s Annual Meeting was hosted at the new Cortex Innovation Hall and supported by Emerson, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, and Express Scripts.