Deaconess Foundation Accepting Proposals for up to $600,000 in Community Investment Funding

St. Louis-based Deaconess Foundation is currently accepting proposals for up to $600,000 in community investment funding through its Mission-Related Investments initiative. The initiative provides low-interest loans to social impact organizations with exceptional capital management and a strong commitment to advancing the health and well-being of children and families in the St. Louis region. Social impact organizations include nonprofit service providers, advocacy groups, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, nonprofit financial intermediaries, and social enterprises. Deaconess created Mission-Related Investments to expand community access to financial capital and subsequently, build local capacity to achieve positive outcomes for children.

“We’re proud to invest in organizations in our community that are providing the supports children and families need, and we look forward to selecting what we know will be a strong group of investment recipients,” said Cheryl D.S. Walker, interim president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “When we reinforce key pillars in the region with the capital they need to execute their mission-governed work, everyone in St. Louis is uplifted, including children and youth, the emerging leaders of today.”

Mission-Related Investments are an integral part of Deaconess’ ongoing commitment to socially responsible investing and falls under its goal of spending up to two percent of the market value of the Foundation’s endowment, or up to $1 million, on community investments. Since 2017, Deaconess has dispersed $1 million in total funding through its Mission-Related Investments initiative to three organizations: Justine PETERSEN, IFF, and Employment Connection. Deaconess’ partnerships with these organizations have helped to strengthen St. Louis families, provide economic supports, and increase access to quality early childhood care and education and health care.

“Deaconess Foundation’s support is pivotal to our mission and to the families that we serve,” said Robert Boyle, Founder and CEO of Justine PETERSEN. “Tangible change and impact can only be achieved and witnessed through partnerships that are results-driven and keep the individual and family at the core.”

Deaconess supported Justine PETERSEN’s initiative to provide 200 low- and moderate-income families with children the opportunity to increase their wealth and assets by originating credit-building and Life Loans to clients participating in asset-building services. The Foundation’s investment not only propelled Justine PETERSEN’s fundamental mission of asset-building but provided a template for how such investments can build both the fiscal and social infrastructure to advance familial asset-building and intergenerational wealth-building. With the personal credit score at the center, families are poised for a trajectory of asset-building that includes home ownership, small business endeavoring and a long-term savings plan.

Additionally, Deaconess made low-interest capital available to IFF to provide loans to early childcare centers, charter schools, grocery stores and health clinics and provided Employment Connection with operating capital to expand the capacity of Managed Work Services of St. Louis (MSWstl) to connect parents and guardians to job opportunities. 

Deaconess recognizes that significant gaps in civic infrastructure, resources, and capacity inhibit the health and well-being of children and families in the St. Louis region. In response, the Foundation makes grants and investments with diverse partners to catalyze sustainable solutions to the issues facing the region’s most vulnerable children and youth. Funding from Deaconess has helped to address shortfalls in healthcare access, economic mobility, and early childhood education. 

The Foundation looks forward to partnering with more organizations in the St. Louis region through this current cycle of its Mission-Related Investments initiative to advance critical efforts on behalf of the area’s children and youth. To be selected for Deaconess’ Mission-Related Investments, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate: 

* proposed use of capital aligned with Deaconess policy priorities to advance well-being for metropolitan St. Louis children and families; 
* organizational strength and readiness for borrowing; 
* a track record of lending or investment; and 
* a clear business model for repayment of the investment. 

Submit proposals for Mission-Related Investments by October 15, 2021.

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