Deaconess Announces Community Capacity Building Funding

Foundation adds Youth Organizing to Grant Opportunities

February 3, 2015 – Deaconess Foundation is introducing a Youth Organizing funding stream to help support and promote community organizing among the region’s youth who have taken the lead in demanding policy change from civic leaders and elected officials. Deaconess will award grants to organizations working with youth and young adults as they map power, cut issues and engage in direct action on issues which are affect them. The Foundation views this as an opportunity to support youth in their role in the present movement for positive change for the region.

“In the last year, we have seen young people in our region come together to voice the need for policy change,” said Rev. Starsky Wilson, Deaconess Foundation president and CEO. “With our new Youth Organizing funding stream, we want to encourage and support those efforts because no long-term solution to systemic issues is possible without the input of those most affected.”

This new funding stream is part of Deaconess’ Community Capacity Building Initiative to align regional systems around children and youth. In addition to Youth Organizing, the 2015 grant cycle will again include funding for Nonprofit Organization Advocacy and Collective Impact Network Capacity. Projects considered for nonprofit advocacy grants must pursue improved policy which could result in positive outcomes for vulnerable children. Past successful applicants have trained youth to advocate on their own behalf to regional and state policymakers; mobilized concerned citizens around improved healthcare outcomes for children; and used the legal system to help curb child homelessness. Deaconess will award collective impact grants to applicants seeking funding to build the capacity of collaborative networks focused on improving outcomes for children and youth.  Previous recipients have focused on early childhood education, access to higher education, and family support initiatives.  

The grant cycle opens Thursday, February 5 and closes Monday, April 6, 2015. An official request for proposals detailing the range of grants available will be published at by 12 Noon on February 5, along with a modified version of the Missouri Common Grant Application. For organizations interested in funding for Youth Organizing, an informational meeting on Tuesday, February 17, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Ferguson Community Center located at 1050 Smith Avenue, Ferguson, MO 63135.  Dinner will be provided so attendees must RSVP by Monday, February 16 at For those seeking Nonprofit Advocacy or Collective Impact grants, the Foundation will host two optional information sessions on Wednesday, February 25 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Square Building at 211 North Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102 in suite 990 on the 9th floor. Seating is limited, so please RSVP by Friday, February 20 at For more information, contact Dr. Brandon Haynes, director of community engagement, at

Deaconess, established in 1889, is celebrating 125 years of service to the St. Louis area and continues its mission — pursuing health and hope for all St. Louis children. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $74 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998. The Foundation believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region. Deaconess Foundation invests in endeavors that improve the well-being of children, engages our region around the plight of youth, and advocates for change. For more information about Deaconess Foundation or its funding opportunities, visit Connect with Deaconess on Twitter @DeaconessFound and Facebook.