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In his glitzy burgundy jacket and ruffled dress shirt, Steve Lipstein made his way across the parquet floor toward the middle of the stage, where he joined hands with Lucy Fitzgerald and broke into a choreographed East Coast swing routine to Footloose. While dancing for a crowd might be the norm for a pro like Fitzgerald, it was a new and nerve-wracking experience for Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare and 2013 Dancing with the St. Louis Stars champion.
Studies have shown that improving the status of women and girls helps the entire community thrive and grow, says Jan Hendrickson. That’s why her organization, Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis, strives to research, identify and fill gaps in funding for education, outreach and services for at-risk women and girls.
At its most basic level, The Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis is a social, professional and charitable organization, with members ranging authors to editors. And the original club creation can be credited to catfish.
MISSION: The goal is clear: The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) works to better the lives of young cancer patients and their families by providing immediate assistance. “We are not going to duplicate the services of other national nonprofits, which mostly deal with research,” says president and CEO Mark Stolze. “Our focus is to help children who need assistance now.”
A high level of knowledge does not guarantee a high quality of character, so area nonprofit CHARACTERplus works to combine the two into an enhanced education experience.
Judy Ciapciak, executive director of Friends of Kids with Cancer, recalls a teenage boy who recently spoke about the organization at an event by saying, It takes the lows and balances them out with highs. His words were something Ciapciak considers an achievement for the nonprofit, whose goal is to enrich the lives of kids going through cancer treatment. “It’s just keeping them positive—it’s not a cure, but it’s the best thing they can get at this time in their lives,” she says.
MISSION: Saint Louis Crisis Nursery protects children by offering a free child care facility to parents in crisis with nowhere else to turn. “Everyday, we save babies’ lives, keep kids safe and build strong families—and we do that by providing a safe haven for children, birth through age 12, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explains Crisis Nursery CEO DiAnne Mueller.
What makes a charitable organization successful? A good number of nonprofit executives would love to know the answer to that question. And while I’m no expert analyst, I can say without hesitation that one of the key components is having a strong, dedicated volunteer force.
With the sold-out success of Always…Patsy Cline and a new rehearsal and administrative building, STAGES St. Louis has been thrust into the national spotlight. When LN recently caught up with executive producer Jack Lane, co-founder of the 27-year-old nonprofit theater company, he was gushing—for good reason—about the overwhelming achievements of the latest season and all the new initiatives in store for STAGES as it blossoms into its next 25 years.
The self-proclaimed ‘living laboratory’ that is Laumeier Sculpture Park is focused on uniting contemporary artwork with the Missouri landscape. Throughout its 105 acres, the park welcomes some 300,000 visitors annually.
This month’s Nonprofit Spotlight shines on one of my favorite places to be in St. Louis: Laumeier Sculpture Park.
The Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program’s (IRWP) clients come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and dozens of other countries. While each of the women served has a different story and faces her own challenges, they all share a desire to learn. “One of our first questions when we meet them is, Why do you want to learn English?” says executive director Pat Joshu. “I’ve had several look at me and say that nobody has ever asked them that before: What do they want?”
Retasha Smith arrived at The Haven of Grace’s doorstep alone, pregnant and confused. But the organization quickly came to her rescue. A dependable support system and resources to become independent led her to a productive family life.
An unusually warm summer night in Seattle in 2009 would forever change the lives of countless St. Louisans. A man trespassed through an open window of the residence St. Louis native Teresa Butz shared with her fiancée, Jennifer Hopper. The intruder sexually assaulted and stabbed the women, eventually killing Butz.
In 2009, Gateway Children’s Charity was founded by a group of eight people who wanted to make a tangible difference in the lives of local kids. “In our opinion, there was a void or gap that existed in funding projects that were on the smaller side, which maybe didn’t qualify for or were overlooked by bigger charity groups. We wanted to help fill that void,” says Michael Todorovich II, the nonprofit’s president and one of the founding board members.
Michael Russell is realizing his dream as a biology major at Webster University. Thanks to ACCESS Academies, he is the first person in his family to go to college.
Countless clients credit Bethany Place with saving their lives.
Anyone can talk about making a difference in teens’ lives, but at Wyman Center it’s the numbers that do the talking. Take, for example, Brittany Woods Middle School in University City, where Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program is being offered to all seventh grade students. At the end of the first semester this year, school principal Jamie Jordan looked at the students’ comportment data, explains Wyman president/CEO Dave Hilliard. “Among the 200 sixth-graders, she had 40 referrals to the office for disruptive behavior,” he says. Among the seventh-graders, who had gone through half of the Wyman program, there were half as many referrals. “Among the eighth-graders, who had gone through the entire program, she had only four referrals to the office in the entire semester. There was a 95-percent difference among kids who had the program and learned how to use skills to be successful and avoid conflict.”
EarthDance has breathed new life into Missouri’s oldest organic farm. The nonprofit is sustainably growing food, farmers and community one person at a time, through hands-on education and experience at the former Mueller Farm.
For children and adults with developmental disabilities, just getting by on a day-to-day basis can be a challenge. And their families often have a difficult time determining the best ways to help their loved ones enjoy happy, fulfilling lives.
By day, they may be all business behind an office desk. But by night, they know how to let loose. LN recently caught up with some local working dads who use their garage bands as an after-hours outlet.
MISSION: St. Louis County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to eliminate racial discrimination and ensure political, educational, social and economic equal rights for everyone. The nonprofit stands for the belief that people of all races, nationalities and faiths are created equal.
Mission: The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society focuses its mission on three key areas: to provide the experience of live performance on the classical guitar; to promote widespread understanding of the art; and to provide opportunities to learn to play this instrument.
Jazz St. Louis