Deaconess invests $100,000 in Ferguson Response

Awards to support youth organizing and advance racial equity

St. Louis, MO – September 9, 2014 — On August 20, 2014, in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent civil unrest in Ferguson, Deaconess Foundation made a special allocation of $100,000 for community capacity building to address issues exposed by the events. The funds will focus on advancing youth organizing, community-informed development, networked leadership and wrap-around supports for African American young men.

“The tragedies of the last few weeks have illuminated deep racial disparities and structural gaps that disproportionately impact vulnerable African American youth,” said Reverend Starsky Wilson, president and CEO. “Our aim with these investments is to help the region recover by focusing on long-term solutions to the intractable problems of poverty and racism which impact public health.”

Deaconess staff has been highly-engaged in coordinating roles with community organizers, local clergy, civil rights activists and national funders to inform, develop, and align a systemic response consistent with its mission and vision for children.

Consistent with research, including the For the Sake of All Report, the foundation takes a public health approach to its missional definition of health and identifies race and poverty as barriers to individual health. Deaconess’ community capacity building strategy affirms community engagement, public policy and advocacy as critical approaches to improve systems and sustain actions for long-term impact on well-being of children.

Deaconess, established in 1889, celebrates 125 years of service to the St. Louis region and continues its mission pursuing health and hope for all St. Louis children. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, the foundation has invested more than $72 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.

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