Youngsters with emotional and behavioral issues at Edgewood Children’s Center. Kids with hearing impairments at Central Institute for the Deaf. Families looking for a place to stay at St. Louis Transitional Hope House. These are just a few of the 250 nonprofits that benefit every year from funding provided by Old Newsboys Day.
Founded in 1957 by Richard Amberg and Duncan Bauman of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the nonprofit’s central mission is to raise funds to support at-risk children in the St. Louis community. Since 1988, Suburban Journals has spearheaded this program, which recently received the National Award of Merit from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis for supporting its dental clinics and after-school programs. “I refer to us as being stewards, because it really belongs to the community,” says executive director Mary Ann Wagner.
Each year, the program’s highlight is when volunteers from all around the community take to the streets and sell a special edition of the newspaper to raise funds for children’s charities. This year, the big day will take place on Nov. 21. “Children are our passion as far as giving back is concerned. Getting up at 4 in the morning is a great sacrifice for us," says chair emeritus Lou Brock with a laugh. “And it always seems to fall on the coldest Thursday of the year, but it's the cause that drives us. We have a commitment to and compassion for children. Old Newsboys allows us to really reach out to a number of children at once."
Ray Farris, president and publisher of St. Louis Post-Dispatch and 2013 Old Newsboys chairman, has set a goal of raising $650,000 for children in need in this year’s campaign—but his desire is to go much higher. “This year, more than 250 grants were awarded to local children's charities from the monies raised in last year's campaign,” he says. “Unfortunately, the need was greater than what we raised, as more than $1 million of grant requests went unfilled. I have set a bold and ambitious goal for 2013 because no child should ever go without."
In addition to its signature event, Old Newsboys hosts exclusive events help get business leaders involved year-round, Wagner says. This year, those include an evening at Busch Stadium, as well as a special dinner where, “they get to meet some people who are pretty exciting,” she notes. “It’s really important for the businesses to be involved, because we can’t raise enough money on the day of the event alone.”
The community also can get involved by participating in the second annual Ralph Kaufman Memorial golf tournament and dinner auction, which helps put the organization ever closer to its goal. The dinner auction will take place at Orlando’s in Maryland Heights on Sunday, Aug. 11, with the tournament on Monday, Aug. 12 at Whitmoor Country Club in St. Charles. The event features a four-person scramble including a hole-in-one contest for a new car, and is co-chaired by former Creve Coeur mayor Harold Dielmann and Gloria Kaufman.