Sex Trafficking in the St. Louis Region & Beyond: Funder Strategies & Responses

September 26, 2016

img_4204Sex Trafficking in the St. Louis Region & Beyond: Funder Strategies & Responses

Blog post by Hudson Kaplan-Allen, Gateway Center for Giving intern, about a recent GCG topical program.

Gateway Center for Giving Members and other philanthropic leaders recently convened to learn from three experts on human trafficking, which, according to the U.S. State Department is “one of the greatest human rights challenges of this century, both in the United States and around the world.”  Sex trafficking, in particular, was the topic of the morning’s discussion.  Amanda Colegrove, Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation (CATE), Kathy Doellefeld-Clancy, Executive Director of the Joseph H. & Florence A. Roblee Foundation, and Rhonda Brewer, Vice President of Sales at Maritz Travel all shared the steps they are taking to raise awareness and implement preventative measures against sex trafficking in the St. Louis region and beyond.

St. Louis has been listed as one of the top 20 trafficking jurisdictions in the United States. It is located in the center of the country, where many highways meet and, thus, it is a prime transit point for traffickers bringing their victims across the country.

Colegrove started the conversation with a definition of human trafficking.  On the most basic level it is the “exploitation of persons for commercial sex or forced labor” that “involves recruiting, transporting, harboring, receipt of and transferring of persons.”  Children are often the victims of sex trafficking. In particular, children who identify as LGBTQ or who have disabilities are generally more vulnerable and easier to separate from their families.  Organizations like CATE have taken steps to put an end to sex trafficking and create safe spaces for survivors by taking part in trainings and outreach as well as expanding the network of organizations involved in the cause.

Doellefeld-Clancy then spoke about the Roblee Foundation’s involvement. The Foundation decided that it wanted to devote its time and resources to an emerging issue and a cause where they could truly make an impact.  They started by educating their board on sex trafficking, reading the book Walking Prey by Holly Austin Smith, a sex trafficking survivor.  The Foundation wanted to pinpoint the best curriculum for training the region on the issue, and they identified CATE as a partner.  Subsequently, there has been increased interest among local organizations to partake in this training and participate in the fight against sex trafficking.

Lastly, Brewer told the audience about the focus that the company has taken on the issue of human trafficking.  Maritz recognizes that “the travel industry is unwittingly used by the chain of human trafficking” and by taking steps to put an end to trafficking, they have the power to help break that chain. Maritz has made a commitment to assist in the fight against human trafficking by agreeing to “The Code”– a promise they have made to “encourage the practice of responsible, sustainable tourism” along with a number of other tourism-related companies. In addition, Maritz has also partnered with ECPAT-USA, an organization devoted to ending the sexual exploitation of children, to raise awareness as well as provide training on the indicators and steps that can be taken by individuals when they see possible signs of trafficking.

Get on the Map Update

August 15, 2016

01_GOTM_Main_LogoIn January 2016, the Gateway Center for Giving announced its participation in Get on the Map (GOTM), a new national data-sharing initiative dedicated to boosting the quality and availability of current, detailed grantmaking data. Since the Gateway Center’s launch of GOTM, more than a dozen GCG Members have submitted their grantmaking information to populate the virtual map of our region’s philanthropic activity.

GCG staff recently attended the national Forum of Regional Associations conference in Indianapolis, where we received updates about the GOTM initiative from the Foundation Center staff.

By the numbers: Nationally, 25 Regional Associations across the country are participating in GOTM.  More than 635 funding organizations are now supplying data to help populate the map, accounting for over $18.3 billion in grant dollars. Here in St. Louis, 12 of our Member organizations are now on the map, contributing insightful information about 4,826 grants to the database. This fall, we will make the beta map available at the Gateway Center Open House to anyone who is interested in seeing it, and we plan to demonstrate the map to the entire Membership at our Annual Meeting in January 2017.

Free webinars are offered monthly to help orient potential participants—find out more here. By sharing your data, sector stakeholders are able to more effectively use the online map to identify who else is funding a particular issue in our region, who is working with specific populations in our community, who may be natural collaborators, where there are gaps in funding, and much more!

Questions? Visit and feel free to contact Clare Brewka.

Philanthropy on the Move!

June 1, 2016

Oak KnollExciting news: As of June 13, 2016, the Gateway Center for Giving will reside in a newly restored, historic structure located in a lovely 14-acre park in Clayton. You can find us at #2 Oak Knoll Park, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63105; our phone number will remain the same, (314) 621-6220. Sharing building space with the St. Louis Community Foundation will provide us with new ways to participate in the regional philanthropy conversation.

For more than forty-five years, the Gateway Center for Giving has been dedicated to helping donors do more in the St. Louis region. We elevate best practices and enable leaders at philanthropic organizations to connect, learn and act with impact. We remain an independent, non-profit membership association, consisting of more than 80 philanthropic sector members, ranging from small family foundations to large corporate charitable giving programs and sector-supporting organizations.

There are some extraordinary challenges that organized philanthropy can, and should, address. Our organization is uniquely situated to provide a venue for thoughtful collaboration and action to help our region move forward, and we look forward to continuing in service to our community from our new home in Oak Knoll.

Gateway Center for Giving Launches Get on the Map! Initiative

January 28, 2016

01_GOTM_Main_LogoWondering who funds what, when, where and how? Timely information is critical to understanding the funding landscape and ensuring that charitable giving is as effective as it can be.

The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Foundation Center recently formed a strategic alliance  to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking nationwide.  The new Get on the Map initiative will offer stakeholders in the philanthropic sector up-to-date information that helps inform our work, and also allows us to demonstrate that our region’s collective grantmaking serves the public good.

Get on the Map encourages funders to share grants data using Foundation Center’s eReporting standard, which is easy to export in most grants management systems.   When a funding organization participates by submitting their data electronically, they will receive a free interactive map which visualizes their own grants. In addition, the Gateway Center for Giving will provide Members with access to a collective map of giving data. Delivered though the Foundation Center’s Foundation Maps platform, these maps will provide access to timely information about the activities of grantmaking peers, regional funding gaps and potential collaborations.  More robust data also enables philanthropists to share narratives with elected officials, civic leaders and stakeholders who make tax, regulatory and other decisions that affect the way our sector operates.

Good information allows all of us to learn from each other, better tell our stories, and continue to work as a grantmaking community to benefit society as a whole. Get on the Map and join the conversation. Learn more here.

Gateway Center for Giving Celebrates the Strength of Philanthropy in St. Louis

January 25, 2016

Phil On the Map imageSt. Louis, January 22, 2016—The Gateway Center for Giving convened grantmakers and nonprofits at the Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting today to celebrate the generosity of donors in the St. Louis region and to recognize five sector leaders for their grantmaking excellence and impact. Gateway Center members collectively represent $3.7 billion in charitable assets, of which more than $261 million is deployed in the St. Louis region each year.

The Gateway Giving Awards reflect an emphasis on best practices in the field and philanthropic sector leadership. Award winners are nominated by their grantmaking peers, community members and nonprofits. This year’s five award winners are:

Excellence in Innovation in Philanthropy:

The Clark-Fox Family Foundation, for creating Blueprint4SummerSTL, a novel, highly personalized searchable web database that helps families in the St. Louis metropolitan area find best-fit summer programming for youth. In its first year, the site hosted 72,000 searches for more than 3,500 summer opportunities, promoting youth enrichment.

Excellence in Collaboration in Philanthropy: 

Express Scripts and the Express Scripts Foundation, for their leadership in fostering the Nance Elementary Transformation Plan, bringing together eight disparate agencies and elevating the key program areas and expertise that each brings to the table to better serve student needs.

Also, the Regional Business Council, for their leadership in the Reinvest North County Fund, created in partnership with North County Inc. and supported by the St. Louis Community Foundation. Under RBC’s leadership, $900,000 has been raised for businesses and school districts in the target region during a critical time for recovery and growth.

Emerging Leader in Philanthropy:

Serena Muhammad, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the St. Louis Mental Health Board, was nominated by her sector peers for her work as a collaborative, thoughtful and inclusive emerging leader.

Philanthropic Legacy:

The Staenberg Family Foundation has granted more than $60 million in financial support to nearly 500 organizations, in addition to pro bono contributions valued at over $10 million, over the past decade. A supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the Staenberg Family Foundation actively supports organizations and programs relating to arts & culture, children, education and medical research and services, creating a significant legacy of philanthropy that now extends to a second generation of givers.

Business Meeting

Outgoing Gateway Center Board Chair Ann Vazquez of the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis welcomed the following three additions to the Gateway Center for Giving Board of Directors:

David Desai-Ramirez, IFF; Gregory Glore, the Glore Fund; Jenny Hoelzer, Commerce Bank.

New Board Officers: Matt Oldani of the Deaconess Foundation was elected as Board Chairman for 2016; Jama Dodson of the St. Louis Mental Health Board as Vice Chair, Desiree Coleman of Wells Fargo Advisors as Secretary, and Mary Kullman of the Caola Kullman Family Fund as Treasurer.

Outgoing Board Members Amelia Bond of the St. Louis Community Foundation; Kathy Gardner of the United Way of Greater St. Louis; David Krauss of the Commerce Family Office; David Stiffler of Equifax; and Mary Swan, formerly with Ameren, were all recognized for their outstanding service to the organization.

The Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting was hosted by Forest Park Forever and supported by Emerson and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation. Visit the Gateway Center for Giving Facebook page over the coming weeks to see pictures from the event.

About the Gateway Center for Giving

The Gateway Center for Giving helps donors do more. We strengthen philanthropy and promote community impact by providing programming, research and networking opportunities to grantmaking organizations in the St. Louis region. We also enhance regional leadership through information on community needs and philanthropic best practices, supporting collaborative action to help address our region’s most pressing issues. The Gateway Center for Giving was founded in 1970 and our members include corporations, donor-advised funds, foundations, trusts and professional advisors actively involved in philanthropy. To learn more, visit

Collaboration is Not the End Goal

December 18, 2015

matt-kuhlenbeckMatt Kuhlenbeck, Program Director, Responsive Portfolio at the Missouri Foundation for Health, traveled to Texas for the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Collaboration Conference to learn how to be a more productive collaborative partner and provide better support for nonprofit collaboration.

Several colleagues, local funders, and I had the opportunity to attend the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Collaborations Conference last month. The Conference provided many examples of funder collaborations that were successful at achieving their goals and also highlighted those which struggled to fulfill their vision. Through all of these collaborations a few themes emerged:

  • Importance of relationships above all else
  • Culture and leadership drive effective collaborations
  • Organizations need to be positioned for collaboration from board to staff, and
  • Collaboration is not the end goal

This event was particularly important given our region’s spirit of collaboration and networking among funders and community partners, as we regularly work together toward shared goals. It is through this collaborative spirit that I have been fortunate to develop relationships among leaders in the funding community that have helped us begin to move seemingly intractable issues in the region.

Recognizing the importance of relationships, the idea of culture and leadership-driven collaboration resonated for me and prompted me to think about how the funding organization for which I work approaches collaboration.  Collaborations often develop through personal relationships, but they are also driven by the culture of our organizations.  The Missouri Foundation for Health has a “core value” to seek opportunities to collaborate with other funders to aide in fulfilling our mission. To this point, most of our funder collaborations have been based on personal relationships, rather than a purposeful emulation of our core values through organizational norms and consistent staff actions.  This led me to ask, how can we further emulate our values more effectively internally and externally with our partners?   We can do so by holding ourselves accountable to a set of norms and behaviors.

Beginning internally, we can ask ourselves: “What are the behaviors I expect of my peers that I will also hold myself accountable to everyday?” This can be the first step in a conversation about how we live the value of collaboration with our partners. This question then leads us to others:

  • Do we have clear organizational values and goals associated with collaboration and are they clearly connected to staff expectations/behavior?
  • Do we have the time to build relationships and the skills to be effective in a collaboration; how might those that need work be identified and developed?
  • Do we have the flexibility to make adjustments to our grantmaking practices and procedures to foster increased trust?
    • For example, loosening restrictions on grant requirements, longer timeframes for progress, including objectives that focus on the development and maintenance of collaboration and creating shared evaluation measures/processes.
  • Do we have regular, internal communication processes to share status of collaborations in which the foundation is involved?

Effective collaborations are built over time through relationships and trust among partners. These relationships can be reinforced or diminished by our organizational culture, norms, and actions. I believe careful consideration of these factors is a critical component of effectively living our value of collaboration and look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the health of our region.

10 Ways GCG Members Can Engage in 2015 & Beyond

October 28, 2015

The calendar year is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your GCG membership in 2015! Here are 10 ways to engage before the end of the year.

DEI Affinity Group Mtg_2-17-2015 1101) Attend a program

We offer about 35 programs annually for GCG Members. Visit our Programs & Events page to see the list of upcoming programs. Or, check out GCG’s Upcoming Programs in our What Gives? weekly newsletter.

2) Pitch a program

GCG Members are in the unique position to work with our staff to develop and present a program to the GCG Membership. Some of our most successful programs in the past were initiated by a GCG Member. Contact Clare at GCG to pitch your program ideas for 2016.

3) Share your news

GCG is always on the lookout for news about our Members to include in issues of What Gives? Whether it’s a press release about your impactful giving or an article featuring your organization or staff,  your peers are interested. Contact GCG and share your news with us. We’ll make sure the rest of the GCG Membership hears about what you’re doing.

4) Like us on Facebook

We regularly update our Facebook page with photos and information. Stay up to date with all the latest news on what GCG Members and Staff are doing in the St. Louis community.

5) Join an affinity group

GCG has several affinity groups within our membership that gather for programs within their area of interest, including sessions for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Funders; Early Childhood Funders, and Education Funders.  We recently added a discussion group on Impact Investing.

6) Utilize the GCG Collaborations Directory

This year, GCG released an updated regional Collaborations Directory, which is a dynamic resource for GCG Members seeking information and engagement opportunities. Catalogued by subject matter, there are a total of 73 listings that can provide grantmakers with opportunities to partner with others.

7) Attend the Annual Meeting

Every January, we host our Annual Meeting—our organizations’ largest gathering of grantmakers, nonprofit partners and community leaders to celebrate the strength of philanthropy in St. Louis. We work hard on preparing an informative and enjoyable event for all. Our theme this year is “Philanthropy on the Map” and the event will be held at the Trolley Room in Forest Park Visitor’s Center on Friday, January 22, 2016.

8) Write a blog post

Be a guest blogger on the GCG Blog. In 2016, we are revving up our social media presence and want to feature our favorite people—our Members! If you have a perspective that you wish to share, a challenging question that your organization has encountered or particular insights about the field, please consider submitting a post.

9) Submit a research request

On-demand research services are available exclusively for Members to learn who’s doing what in the community and nationally, as well as the latest trends and best practices are in grantmaker areas of interest.

10) Join a GCG Committee

As a membership organization, GCG relies on member volunteers to help our staff consider and develop consistent programming and new initiatives.  Committees include: Programs & Services, Finance, Engagement, Governance, Audit and Executive Committee. Contact the GCG staff if you are interested in joining one of our volunteer committees.

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