Anchor Institutions

After an intensive seven-month process, Deaconess Foundation selected five organizations as multi-year partners to strengthen and ground systems change and community organizing efforts for child well-being in the St. Louis region. The Anchor Institution Program launched in January 2018 and is part of Deaconess' Just for Kids strategy to build a movement for children through public policy and racial equity.

The inaugural cohort of Just for Kids Anchor Institutions includes: American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation, ArchCity Defenders, Community Organizing and Family Issues, Metropolitan Congregations United and Missouri Health Care for All. The group reflects the Foundation's assessment that deeper investment in grassroots organizing and impact litigation strategies will be necessary for positive change in a tough legislative environment for our policy priorities for the next few years. The Foundation's four-pronged public policy agenda includes: access to comprehensive health care, increased investment in early childhood education, economic mobility for families and justice and equity for youth.

Through the four-year engagement, the Foundation will invest significant financial resources and consultative support to strengthen the organizations' effectiveness and culture by enhancing their leadership, adaptive, technical and management capacities. In turn, the cohort will be better positioned to contribute to community efforts that build power, shift policy and influence the systems within which children develop and grow.

Anchor Institutions

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri Foundation

ACLU of Missouri Foundation defends civil liberties and the principles of equality and justice in Missouri through its litigation, legislative and public education programs. ACLU of Missouri focuses on legal and legislative advocacy, public education and communication.

ArchCity Defenders

ArchCity Defenders is a 501(c)3 non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy and combating the criminalization of poverty and state violenc

e against poor people and people of color in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and the state of Missouri. ArchCity Defenders focuses on impact litigation, holistic legal advocacy, policy and media advocacy.

Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)

Community Organizing and Family Issues develops and engages low-income parents of color as leaders in their families, schools and communities in East St, Louis and across the state of Illinois. COFI focuses on systems change advocacy, parent training and organizing.

Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU)

Metropolitan Congregations United puts faith into action by developing leaders who move their congregations, organizations, and communities to change public policy for the common good.  MCU focuses on grassroots organizing, leadership development, issue campaigns, voter participation and engagement.

Missouri Health Care for All

Missouri Health Care for All is a statewide, nonpartisan, faith and community-based grassroots movement for quality, affordable health care for all Missourians. Missouri Health Care for All focuses on policymaker engagement, coalition building, public education, grassroots organizing, and communications and storybanking.



We expect efforts supported through Anchor Institutions to pursue the result of policy shifts aligned with Deaconess Foundation’s policy priorities:

Early Childhood Education Justice and Equity
for Youth
Family Economic Mobility Comprehensive Health Care
All children of the St. Louis region should enjoy full access to quality child care and education from birth to pre-kindergarten. All children of the St. Louis region should receive  just treatment under the law. All families of the St. Louis region should achieve economic stability within one generation. All children of the St. Louis region should have universal access to comprehensive mental, physical and dental care.