Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals during a recent visit with a Cardinal Glennon patient

Just as much a part of the Fleur de Lis tradition is the connection between the Fleur de Lis organization and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation, which has been a beneficiary of the Catholic ball since its beginning in 1958, contributing $2.642 million to date. “It’s been a significant contributor to our foundation, and we value that longstanding relationship with Fleur de Lis,” says foundation executive director Dan Buck. “And what’s also special about it: So many of the young ladies, who go through the process of the etiquette and the formal preparation for the event, or their siblings have actually been Cardinal Glennon patients at one time or another. It’s funny, but each class always has some significant, wonderful Glennon story that families share with us. It’s a program that gives back—sometimes through its own organization.”

Buck notes that with the archbishop of St. Louis as the chairman of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation’s board of governors, it’s a natural partnership between Fleur de Lis and the Catholic pediatric hospital. “Primarily, proceeds go to help our research at our Pediatric Research Institute, which includes our St. Louis Cord Blood Bank,” Buck says. “Our Pediatric Research Institute is a partnership we have with Saint Louis University that is constantly researching new ways to deliver better medicine and better treatment protocols for pediatric patients in all of our fields, including cardiology, cancer care, transplant recipients, our NICU and our St. Louis Fetal Care Institute—those are all born out of our pediatric research work, so they have been supporting what we consider to be our core growth area of the hospital.”

According to Buck, Fleur de Lis offers an amazing program for young ladies who commit to four years of etiquette classes, but more importantly, to learning about giving back to the community. “They really get to see their years of hard work make a huge difference in the lives of sick kids, and it’s so great to know that many of them will go on to wonderful lives of philanthropy and community service—and to know it all starts with their Fleur de Lis experience is remarkable.”

And while the young ladies are participating in the Fleur de Lis program, Buck says that many volunteer their time at Cardinal Glennon, but it’s not required. “They visit the hospital during their formation, so they get to see where the money goes at the end of all their efforts, and they have several interaction opportunities during their four years of preparation for coming out, so to speak,” he notes. Areas where they might volunteer include, “working with the kids in our playrooms on our patient care floors, wrapping Christmas presents and really doing just whatever work needs to be done. These girls are always willing to do whatever you need them to do.”