Gateway Center for Giving Celebrates the Strength of “PHIL&THROPY” in St. Louis

January 30, 2017

St. Louis, January 27, 2017—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 dynamic sector leaders for their excellence. Gateway Center Members collectively represent $5.8 billion in charitable assets, of which more than $264 million is deployed in the St. Louis region each year, creating sustained and meaningful impact. This year’s Annual Meeting theme, “PHIL&THROPY,” reflects the power and importance of partnerships.

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 four categories recognize six winners:

Excellence in Innovation in Philanthropy: The Excellence in Innovation Award recognizes a grantmaking organization that has put significant support behind an unproven initiative or project that has the potential to yield great community outcomes, or has engaged in innovative investing strategies.   Honorees: The Boeing Company and Wells Fargo Advisors for their support of the new Venture Café Education Innovation Fellowship, a competitive, paid fellowship for 15 St. Louis Public School educators to learn design thinking, innovative methods and business-oriented practices. Participants translate their learning into curriculum modules they can bring back to their classrooms.  This investment, managed through the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, has allowed St. Louis Public Schools to approach talent management in an innovative way, and support cross-sector relationships with business leaders to support student outcomes.

Excellence in Collaboration in Philanthropy: The Excellence in Collaboration Award recognizes a grantmaking organization that has made collaboration a central part of its grantmaking strategy, and has shown itself to be an effective collaborator among its grantmaking peers and community partners.  Honoree:  Monsanto Fund for its leadership of regional funder collaborative STEMpact, which was founded in the belief that all students deserve access to high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.  Over the course of the past four years, 19 districts, 391 teachers, and 17,612 students have been impacted by participating in the STEM Teacher Quality Institute, creating a pipeline of STEM-proficient individuals in our region. See http://www.STEMpact.org for a list of partners.

Emerging Leader in Philanthropy (two awardees): The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates generosity of spirit and a commitment to social impact both professionally, and personally.  The award winner shows creativity and determination to improve the philanthropic sector, and demonstrates great potential for leading the sector in the future. Honoree:  Rhonda Smythe, Missouri Foundation for Health. Rhonda has shown tremendous community leadership, particularly in the area of food access.  In addition to facilitating a pooled grant fund to foster innovative food access and supportive public policy, Rhonda has been instrumental in the development of the St. Louis Food Policy Council, a new coalition that pulls together nonprofit leaders who are working on food access issues.  Honoree: Allie Chang Ray, Deaconess Foundation.  Through her work, Allie has helped attract significant support from outside the St. Louis region to address racial equity and other social justice issues.  She has partnered with local grantmakers to hold conversations about ways to focus funding to leverage limited resources for greater impact, has made presentations locally, statewide and nationally in the areas of capacity building and advocacy, and serves as a Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Capacity Building Champion.

Philanthropic Legacy: The Philanthropic Legacy Award recognizes an individual or a family that has made a significant contribution to the philanthropic sector.  The award winner has led an initiative or program that has changed the landscape of funding, or has made a meaningful or long-lasting contribution to an innovative program in our region, yielding significant outcomes.  Honoree: Amy Rome, The Rome Group.  Amy has worked in the field of philanthropy for her entire career. As founder of The Rome Group, Amy has consulted in strategic planning, resource development and leadership development to a large variety of nonprofits throughout the region for more than two decades.  Amy is also an adjunct faculty member at the Brown School of Social Work, where she has mentored a multitude of business and nonprofit professionals and students in the classroom and in the field.

Business Meeting

Outgoing Gateway Center Board Chair Matt Oldani of the Deaconess Foundation welcomed the following additions to the Gateway Center for Giving Board of Directors for a three-year term:

Julie Hardin, Express Scripts

Melinda McAliney, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis

Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund

Board Officers: Jama Dodson of the Saint Louis Mental Health Board was elected as Board Chairman for 2017; Matt Kuhlenbeck of the Missouri Foundation for Health 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 Ann Vazquez of the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis and Lisa Dinga of the Dinga Family Fund were recognized for their outstanding service to the organization.

The Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting was hosted at the .ZACK Performing Arts Incubator 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.


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.


NSC Nonprofit Leadership Convening 2012: The Nonprofit Sector’s Impact on Missouri’s Economy

July 18, 2012

The nonprofit sector employed more than 10 million people and according to a study by John Hopkins University, was the third largest private employer in 2010.  The study, “Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment During a Decade of Turmoil” shows how nonprofits have been “holding down the fort” for the entire US economy by creating jobs and employment at an average rate of 2.1% (while for-profit jobs have declined 0.6%).

salamon4.7.2011215x300.jpgHear first hand from Lester Salamon, PhD, author of the study “Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment During a Decade of Turmoil.” Dr. Salamon is a Professor at the Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. He previously served as Director of both the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Governance and Management Research at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. and as Deputy Associate Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President.

Where: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

When: September 19, 2012–Doors open at 7:30 AM
Program starts at 8:00 AM
Cost is $50/person; includes continental breakfast.

Click here to register.

Questions: Contact Carmen Garcia,carmen@nonprofitservices.org

Support for this program has been provided by:

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Meet the Donor- Welcoming Our New Philanthropic Leadership

June 26, 2012

The past year has featured a number of leadership changes in the philanthropic community.  Join us for this Meet the Donor program to hear from some of the community’s new leadership and learn about the evolving giving strategies of some of our St. Louis’s biggest grantmakers.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Amelia Bond, President & CEO- Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation
  • Jama Dodson, Executive Director- Saint Louis Mental Health Board
  • Michael Howard, President & CEO- YouthBridge Community Foundation
  • Robert Hughes, President & CEO- Missouri Foundation for Health
  • Patrick Sly, Executive Vice President- Emerson
  • Rev. Starsky Wilson, President & CEO- Deaconess Foundation
When: Friday, August 17
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Breakfast & Networking
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Panel Discussion
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Networking
Where: Emerson Headquarters, 8000 West Florissant, Building AA
Open to: Member Grantmakers ($30), NonMember Grantmakers ($30), Nonprofits ($30)
Please contact Lindsey Linzer at lindsey@centerforgiving.org with questions about this program.

Widening the Pool: Open and Inclusive Grant Competitions

May 29, 2012

New Release in Lessons Learned from the Social Innovation Fund Series

While most grantmakers are familiar with running competitive grantmaking processes, the level of openness and inclusivity can vary widely. In GEO’s third Lessons Learned guide, they explore how several grantmakers, including GEO members Missouri Foundation for Health, New Profit Inc. and REDF, met the federal government’s mandate to design and manage open grantmaking processes as a condition for receiving Social Innovation Fund grants.

Learn how these grantmakers grappled with issues like broadening the applicant pool, conducting open and timely communication and outreach, providing fair and consistent technical assistance to applicants and instituting new application review procedures, often with partners. This guide offers advice for any grantmaker that aims to make their existing processes more open, inclusive and transparent. Get the guide here.

As part of its Scaling What Works initiative, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations recently spoke with representatives of four organizations, including local foundation Missouri Foundation for Health, that are part of the Social Innovation Fund’s inaugural class of grantmaking intermediaries

You also can read more about the organizations that have been selected by the 2010 and 2011 Social Innovation Fund grantmaker cohorts and see what projects are underway across the country to improve the lives of people in low-income communities here.


New Report from the Center- Measuring the Work of Intermediaries in the St. Louis Region

April 5, 2012

Measuring the Work of Intermediaries in the St. Louis Region is a new report released by the Gateway Center for Giving (the Center) encouraging funders and intermediaries to think about intermediary nonprofit organizations and their outcomes differently as well as explain how these two groups can partner successfully to create change. The Center worked over the course of eight months with its funding partners, a steering committee, and a group of key stakeholders to develop this guide and engaged in conversations with over 35 individuals from funding and intermediary organizations in an attempt to understand how these two groups can better communicate with one another and understand each other’s needs.

What is an intermediary? An intermediary exists between organizations that have resources and the organizations that need resources. Local intermediaries are a means of efficiently and effectively connecting and delivering a range of support services for the nonprofit community. Typically local intermediary organizations engage in one or more of the following tasks: Read the rest of this entry »


The Gateway Center for Giving Welcomes Four New Board Members

April 3, 2012

ST. LOUIS, April 3, 2012- The Gateway Center for Giving proudly welcomes in four new board members in 2012 including Keith Brooks of Cardinals Care, Kirby Burkholder of IFF, Robert Hughes, Ph.D. of Missouri Foundation for Health, and Amy Rome of The Rome Group.  Job changes among some of our existing board members left a number of openings on our board.  The board recently said good bye to long-time board member Lyle Brizendine.  Lyle recently resigned his position at Bank of America to accept a role in the advancement office at University of Missouri-St. Louis.  We wish him the best of luck in his new role! Read the rest of this entry »


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