Leadership Transitions: Inspiration from our Retiring Grantmakers

More than 40 grantmakers came together yesterday for an event at SQWIRES that recognized some of our community’s retiring grantmakers.  At the program we recognized four leaders including:

  • Bob Cox, Emerson
  • Don Cuvo, St. Louis Mental Health Board
  • Dr. Jim Kimmey, Missouri Foundation for Health
  • Rev. Jerry Paul, Deaconess Foundation

These gentlemen have left a distinct impression on the field of philanthropy in St. Louis.  They opened up and shared their knowledge and advice with the region’s grantmakers and engaged in some great conversations about their vision for the future of grantmaking in St. Louis.

The questions started off easy and the speakers were asked things like:

“What has changed in the field of philanthropy in St. Louis since you started up until now? and

If you could change one thing about the way companies, foundations, and families in St. Louis give what would it be?”

As the program went on the questions became more sentimental and probing and included:

“What is your fondest memory related to philanthropy in St. Louis? and

What do you think is St. Louis’s biggest hurdle in terms of advancing philanthropy in the region?”

The conversation was anything but boring.  These leaders were honest about the hurdles facing both nonprofits and grantmakers in our community and were willing to point out what needed to change going forward. They reminded the grantmakers in the room what a privileged role they were in and asked them not to forget that.  Rev. Jerry Paul of the Deaconess Foundation urged the audience to use “less judgement, more curiosity, and a heavy dose of humility” in their everyday work as grantmakers.  All of the speakers pushed the audience to “get out from behind the desk and talk to people in the community”.

While the next leaders of these organizations have been picked, the outgoing leaders will not soon be forgotten.  Thank you again to Mr. Cox, Mr. Cuvo, Dr. Kimmey, and Rev. Paul for the positive impact you have made on St. Louis.

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