Deaconess Hosts Policy Forum on Child Well-Being

“Children at the Center” includes $600,000 in grants, advocacy, service and fun

June 3, 2016 —On Saturday, June 4, 2016, Deaconess Foundation will host a policy forum addressing current policy initiatives around children. In a discussion with Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, president and CEO, Deaconess Foundation, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel will share his office’s work to expand child development accounts throughout the state. Afterwards, Erin Brower, Board Chair for Alliance for Childhood Education, will participate in a discussion with Dr. Brandon Haynes, Deaconess’ Director of Community Engagement, on the Raise Your Hand for Kids early childhood funding initiative. During the forum, Deaconess Foundation will also announce grants totaling more than $600,000 to nonprofit organizations, youth organizers and advocacy efforts that promote child well-being in our region.

The policy discussion will begin at 9:00 a.m. and serve as a kick-off to the Foundation’s annual “Children at the Center” event at the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club in St. Louis. In addition to the policy conversation, the event will include a nonprofit service and advocacy fair, and food and games for children and families.

“We’re engaging with policy makers, community leaders, and youth advocates to advance child well-being in a setting where we also celebrate our children,” said Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “The day is structured to create dialogue around child-centered policy initiatives, to provide parents with the tools to advocate, and to offer kids a chance to enjoy themselves with fun activities.”

The policy forum will include elected officials, civic leaders, youth, and parents. Other elected officials to attend include President of the Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed and City Treasurer, Tishaura Jones. After the forum, child advocates and service providers will offer families the opportunity for further engagement at an advocacy and service fair. In addition, all are welcome to join grantees and community leaders for lunch, inflatable games, music, face painting, a balloon artist, and entertainment featuring DJ Nune is Lamar Harris, performances by Kreative Pandemonium and Rock N Groove break-dancers. All activities, including catered lunch and ice cream, are free and open to the public.

Deaconess Foundation’s “Children at the Center,” June 4, 2016

The Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club
4245 North Kingshighway Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63115

  • 9 a.m., Policy Forum; funding announcements.

  • 10 a.m., Family Entertainment; Advocacy and Service Fair;

  • 11 a.m. Lunch Service Begins

  • 11:30 a.m. Workshops Options: Podcasting, Youth Advocacy and Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

  • Noon: Live Performances; Desserts Distributed

  • Afternoon: Activities for All Ages

Deaconess Foundation invests in the well-being of children, engages our region around the plight of youth, and advocates for change. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $76 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998 and believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region. The Foundation’s grantmaking footprint includes St. Louis, St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin Counties in Missouri and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois.