Mission: The Belle Center promotes the rights and expectations of all children to be fully included in the community. The center provides a progressive, family-centered inclusive approach to education and community life that supports children with disabilities and their families.
Executive Director: Ms. Jodi Woessner
Need in the Community: According to the U.S. Department of Education, preschool education and therapies are critical for children with disabilities. This is due to the fact that young children with disabilities have a short window of opportunity to learn crucial skills. Belle’s programs take advantage of this brief timeframe, and enable children with disabilities to learn to walk, talk, feed themselves and develop friendships.
Research also supports the importance of full inclusion programs, like Belle’s preschool, because they create a bright path in life for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities who participate in inclusive schools are much more likely to graduate high school and receive jobs than children who attend segregated programs. This benefits the economy because for every dollar spent on programs like ours, society saves $7 by reducing later grade retention and special education services (New York State Board of Regents).
Strategy: Since 1984, The Belle Center has provided a bright start in the young lives of children with disabilities and their families. Belle’s services ensure that children with disabilities are fully included in their schools and communities, enabling them to reach their full human potential. Belle offers the Midwest’s first full inclusion preschool program, which means that children with and without disabilities learn and play together all day, everyday. Belle’s three programs—Center-Based Preschool Program, Outreach Therapy Program and Families as Partners Program—annually serve more than 300 children with disabilities in St. Louis City and County. Nearly 90 percent of the children served come from families who are uninsured, underinsured, underserved, and/or receive low reimbursement rates from government programs. This includes many middle-class families who struggle to afford preschool tuition and therapy services for children with disabilities. Belle’s commitment to serving children with all disabilities has led to two Stellar Performance Awards (in 2007 and 2008) from Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis.
Three opportunities that Belle is pursuing with capacity building: 1) Solidifying and expanding the financial management and sustainability of Belle; 2) Expanding its programs; 3) Developing a more visible presence in the greater St. Louis community.
Making the Most of an Opportunity for Growth. "As we build internal capacity, the entire staff- frontline and administrative - will have all grown in leadership and all have developed new skills that we can continue to use long after Deaconess Foundation has left Belle. The worst thing that could happen would be to have the consultants come in, do the work, leave, and we don't have the skills- that would be a missed opportunity to grow. We are striving to ensure that capacity building lessons are transferred to the whole staff, especially to the up-and-coming leaders in the organization"
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri
Mission: To provide a mentor for every child who needs and wants one.
Chief Executive Officer: Ms. Becky James-Hatter
Need in the Community: According to a study by Vision for Children at Risk (VCR), Citizens for Missouri's Children (CMC) and United Way of Greater St. Louis, there are an estimated 100,000 young people in Eastern Missouri who are in serious need of a mentor - a Big Brother or a Big Sister. These children have 3 or more risk factors such as one or both parents absent in their life, victim of abuse, live in unhealthy neighborhoods, go to failing schools and live in families affected by poverty and/or lack of education. Statistics show that unless someone intervenes these children will never reach their fullest potential.
Strategy: Big Brothers Big Sisters specializes in one key service – matching children age 5 to 17 in long-lasting, one-on-one mentoring relationships with Big Brother or Big Sister mentors.
Both prospective mentors and youth/parents must complete an in-depth enrollment and background check process prior to participating in the program. All mentors and youth must make at least a 12 month commitment. Matches meet an average of 6 to 8 hours per month.
Our Match Support model is key to ensuring our matches develop into a strong friendship and remain a part of each other’s lives for as long as possible. Each match is assigned a professional Match Support Specialist who works to strengthen the match relationship and assist in family/parental development.
Early Capacity Building Investments: 1) Increasing emphasis on communications and marketing; 2) Strengthening senior team leadership development; 3) Planning for growth in the St. Louis Public Schools.
A Focus on Learning. “The Impact Partnership is giving us the time, space and resources to reflect on why we do things a certain way and to transfer knowledge. Staff is learning that it is alright to make mistakes, to change, to make things better, to punch restart. As a longtime leader of BBSEMO, I am learning to transfer some of my responsibilities and some of my knowledge to others. We are focusing on building the talents of our team.”
College Summit-St. Louis
Mission: College Summit’s mission is to increase the college enrollment rate of low-income students. College Summit works to alleviate intergenerational cycles of poverty by increasing the college enrollment rates of disadvantaged youth. By building capacity within schools and school districts with large populations of underserved youth, College Summit ensures all students are guided through the college preparation and application process and helps develop a culture where college-going is the expectation for every student, not the exception.
Executive Director: Mr. Stacy Clay
Need in the Community: Low-income students who get A’s go to college at the same rate as top-income students who get D’s, resulting in the national college enrollment rate among low-income students of 52%. According to the U.S. Census, one-quarter of the citizens of St. Louis live in poverty; in our partner schools, free/reduced lunch rates average 70%—and are as high as 85%. In the areas we serve, only 24% of adults aged 25+ have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. In fact, nine of our eleven partner schools were recently labeled “dropout factories”—schools in which senior classes have 60% or fewer of the students who started as freshman. (Analysis of U.S. Department of Education data by Johns Hopkins researchers) Under-resourced schools like these, with over-burdened staff, cannot begin to provide enough time and support for the entire student body.
Strategy: College Summit partners with schools equipping them with a college access system that enables first-generation low-income youth to enroll in college. College Summit helps to: 1) Create an environment in which every student is expected to attend college and everyone in the school takes responsibility for making this vision a reality; 2) Create an affordable system for providing instruction and support to all students. By equipping high schools with the tools and resources needed to build and maintain a college-going culture, College Summit ensures that more students experience high school graduation as the launch pad for their college and career success.
Early Capacity Building Investments: 1) Building a strong board; 2) Developing a strategic vision and plan; 3) Raising the profile of College Summit; 4) Exploring new forms of collaboration; 5) Strengthening administrative support for the organization.
Strengthening Roots. College Summit-St. Louis is only five years old, so we are moving from simply being a collection of highly-motivated individuals with an effective program to implement, to becoming a real institution with a functioning board, systems in place, and a culture that outlasts any particular leader. We have been working on strategic planning and board development simultaneously and that has been a good opportunity for everyone to define our vision for the future of College Summit in St. Louis.
Visit College Summit at www.collegesummit.org
Fathers’ Support Center
Mission: The Fathers Support Center will unite Stakeholders, Board and staff to increase awareness and funding that will allow us to operate on a sound fiscal basis. We will provide programs that create positive outcomes for children and families. FSC will advocate for the promotion of social and attitudinal change that leads to committed, cohesive family relationships
Executive Director: Mr. Halbert Sullivan
Need in the Community: We face a critical problem in our society… Fatherlessness. The National Commission of Children reports that more than 23 million children live in fatherless families. In the state of Missouri 31% of children live in fatherless homes compared with 42.6% of children living in the City of St. Louis. These numbers are disheartening considering the negative consequences of living without a father. In a typical year, well over one-third of these children will not even see their dads. Dr. Wade Horn, the previous Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families stated “fatherlessness is a crisis because father absence drives almost every other social problem we experience. The most harmful demographic trend of this generation is fatherless children.”
Strategy: Fathers’ Support Center – St. Louis (FSC) strives to provide programming that creates positive outcomes for children and families. The work of FSC is targeted to fathers, and is designed to help them to become responsible parents who are committed to cohesive family relationships. FSC engages both parents to establish a supportive, cooperative interdependent relationship aimed at maximal child outcomes, regardless of the nature of the parents’ personal relationship. A trained facilitator disseminates Responsible Fatherhood, Employment Readiness and Retention and Male Health and Wellness information to clients for six weeks. Using reliable and valid curriculums FSC provides fathers with the skills necessary to be valuable assets s in the lives of their children. Once fathers have completed the six week component they are placed into employment and tracked for one year. Fathers have at their disposable a milieu of supportive services. FSC has a comprehensive Social Service team consisting of Social Workers, Family Therapist and a Psychologist. Additionally, fathers have access to Job developers for employment search and placement as well as the Director of Community Outreach whom provides advocacy and assist fathers navigate the legal system in the acquisition of custody and/ or legal visitation rights. FSC is truly a one-stop shop for father engagement.
Early Capacity Building Investments: 1) Upgrading IT systems; 2) Formalizing HR functions; 3) Defining a strategic direction; 4) Coaching and training for senior management team; 5) Focusing on resource development efforts.
The Future for Father’s Support Center: Fathers Support Center is a founder-led, 10+ year old organization. Capacity building is giving us the chance to do some things we have wanted to do since we began: invest in staff development, work on marketing, build our board. If we are going to succeed and grow over another decade, Father’s Support Center is going to need to last beyond my vision. I am trying to help others become leaders in our organization so that I know that Father’s Support Center will be around for a long, long time.
Visit Fathers' Support Center at www.fatherssupportcenter.org
Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club
Mission: The mission of Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable youth ages 6 to 18 to realize their full potential as productive responsible and caring citizens. To achieve this, we offer a variety of program activities and support services designed to assist in the educational, emotional, physical and social development of 6 to 18 year olds, without regard to social, racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds.
President: Dr. Flint Fowler
Need in the Community: Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club serves nearly 4000 children and youth each year. Nearly all (90%) are considered low-income and 75% are growing up in single-parent households. HHBGC youth often face multiple challenges such as lack of income for basic needs, dilapidated housing, family instability, exposure to violence and drug use, high mobility, high rates of health problems, difficult access to health care and low academic achievement. To meet those challenges, HHBGC offers high quality, comprehensive programs which address the wide range of risks faced and skills needed by HHBGC youth.
Strategy: The Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club was incorporated in 1966 as part of the nationwide federation of youth-serving agencies of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With special concern for youth from disadvantaged circumstances, our mission is to inspire and enable them to realize their full potential as productive responsible and caring citizens. Our youth development strategy seeks to give each child a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Based on the physical, emotional, cultural and social needs and interests of girls and boys, and recognizing developmental principles, we offer diversified program activities in five areas: Character & Leadership Development; Education & Career Development; The Arts; Health & Life Skills; and Sports, Fitness & Recreation
Early Capacity Building Investments: 1) Creating an HR department; 2) Upgrading IT so that staff have better communications capacity; 3) Creating a Resource Development Plan; 4) Strengthening internal communications and teamwork.
Catching Up with Growth: “We grew fast over the last few years. Every year has brought a new partnership or program, from opening Adams Park Center in 2006 to (merging) with Mentor St. Louis in 2009. The Impact Partnership is giving us the opportunity to catch up with our growth. We are spending a lot of time building the systems we need in place to support strong programs and position us for more opportunities.”
SouthSide Early Childhood Center
The mission of SouthSide ECC is to:
- Provide and support high quality care for young children.
- Assist families to earn a sufficient living.
- Developing productive, healthy citizens who contribute to neighborhood economic stability and cultural richness.
Executive Director: Ms. Anne Kessen Lowell
Need in the Community: The majority of SSDN families live in St. Louis’ South Side neighborhoods - Benton Park West, Gravois Park, Fox Park and McKinley Heights. Ninety percent of the children in our programs live in poverty; 80 percent live in single-parent homes; and 56 percent receive food stamps. Our families include teenage moms completing high school, grandparents who have custody of their grandchildren, and “working poor” parents who struggle to stay in local restaurant, health care or retail jobs. Many parents work two jobs or attend school or training programs to earn more money and benefits.
Strategy: Serving south St. Louis neighborhoods since its founding in 1886, SSDN provides high-quality, nurturing, affordable infant/toddler care, educational preschool, and family support services for children and families in South St. Louis City. We offer a seamless connection of early care and education services designed to improve the cognitive, language, and social-emotional development of 102 children in preparation for school success. With their children safe and well-cared for during the day, our parents and guardians can work toward building economic stability for their families, through education, job training, and/or employment.
Our families reflect the demographic and socioeconomic diversity of Benton Park West, Gravois Park, Fox Park, and McKinley Heights neighborhoods, including single mothers working toward a high school degree while working part-time; parents working one or two jobs in the service sector to make ends meet; and grandparents supporting two generations under one roof. Uniting SSDN families is their commitment to education and achievement for their children and their desire to provide greater opportunity for them.
Initial Capacity Building Investments: defining strategy – from marketplace through program definition and planning; 2) upgrading staffing to meet new standards and credentialing; 3) bringing financial systems in-house; 4) identifying facilities needs and crafting a plan to meet them.
Deepening Leadership. “My hope is that we will cultivate a layer of visionary leadership throughout the organization so thatI, as Executive Director, could step away and know the organization is running well. This will allow SSDN to be more of an advocate and a networker in the community while the business is taken care of. This is the way that all of us at SSDN can be influential in our field.”
isit SSDN @ www.ssdn.org
University City Children’s Center
Mission: The University City Children’s Center is a nonprofit United Way agency committed to providing quality care and innovative education to a diverse population of children between the ages of six weeks and six years in a nurturing environment while providing supportive services for families.
Executive Director: Mr. Stephen P. Zwolak
Need in the Community: There is a serious need for holistic and integrated QUALITY CARE AND EDUCATION for children and families in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Educating families and communities about what constitutes quality early childhood education is essential to our mission, vision, values and philosophy.
UCCC serves a diverse population of children and families from many zip codes throughout the Metro area. Thus far, we have developed an innovative curriculum model that prepares children to be lifelong learners and an accompanying business model that supports scholarship for middle- and low-income families and employs talented faculty. The current groundswell in early childhood education emphasizes Literacy and the Emotional Development of children, but UCCC integrates a third domain, Values and Character Development of children. UCCC believes the triadic relationship among each of these domains will create systemic change for children and families and create a “new paradigm” in early childhood education.
Strategy: UCCC wants to help develop new centers, revitalize existing centers and create new partnerships by establishing its current model as a new paradigm in early childhood education. The model integrates and supports UCCC’s Program and Curriculum Model, Diversity Framework, Leadership and People Assessment and Development, with a Strong Economic Sustainability Model. This model would incorporate localized strategies to give all children, families and communities what they need in a school: a sense of power, a sense of belonging, and unconditional love. UCCC program goals are:
* To provide innovative quality early care and education for an economically, racially, and culturally diverse population of children from 6 weeks to 6 years of age in a year-round program.
* To enhance early literacy development of children in an emotionally responsive environment that advances the intellectual, emotional, social and physical development of children.
* To develop partnerships with families that increase their understanding of the importance of early care and education through comprehensive family services.
* To enhance character and value development of children, families, and UCCC’s faculty and staff by building a caring community.
* To provide an emotionally safe environment where children have the opportunity to develop their intellectual capacity while building the skills for academic success.
Key investments: 1) defining organizational culture and identifying characteristics for replication; 2) developing a business plan, including structure, name, and marketing for program expansion; 3) reviewing and upgrading human resources policies and procedures; providing training for HR staff.
Thinking Big. "University City Children’s Center is putting the systems in place that will allow us to move forward and establish our philosophical model as a paradigm shift for early childhood education – locally, regionally, and nationally. We have learned so much through the Impact Partnership. It’s been more than simply the capacity building activities outlined in our plan, but through analyzing our organization through new eyes, discussions with other executive directors, and the resources, consultants and staff, that Deaconess brings.”
Visit University City Children's Center at www.uccc.org