August/September 2020 Newsletter
As we kick off our new year and granting season in the midst of challenging and uncertain times, it’s important to recognize the impact we’re collectively making and will continue to make in the greater St. Louis community.
Over the past several months, our members have rallied to help the community through outreach – communicating and responding to the immediate needs of our small, but mighty nonprofits that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. THANK YOU!
Now, more than ever, our small nonprofits need our support. Member retention and recruitment is crucially important to the success of our organization to ensure maximum investment into our community.
Our new virtual environment presents a challenge for member engagement. Gathering virtually for meetings and events makes it difficult to connect at the personal level we’d prefer. Our committee chairs are continuing to explore new ways to create an improved interactive environment to encourage conversation and better communication among our board, members, guests (prospective members) and grantees. I would encourage you to think about those circles of friends that you can introduce to SOS this year and invite them to our events.
As an SOS member, a profound way to become more engaged is to join an LOI team this month. Serving on an LOI team provides an opportunity for you to meet and get to know other members and to learn more about the nonprofits in our community. Please sign up today.
Though there are challenges, I’m very excited about the remainder of 2020 and 2021. We recently elected 7 amazingly talented board members featured in this edition. Our new 2020-23 strategic plan will be introduced in late September providing the tools and resources to empower our organization to efficiently and effectively deliver our mission over the next three years. The Membership and Education committee has incredibly informative events planned for 2020-21. Our Book Club will feature three thought provoking books focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, which will enlighten our minds and hearts. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion continues to be integrated into the culture of our organization.
President, SOS Women’s Fund
Meet Our Newest Board Members
I caught up with Becky while she was on the road heading to Chicago. When she first became a member of SOS, she was clear that she was at a stage in life focused mostly on family. She wanted to minimize her outside responsibilities to activities which could be accomplished quickly. So, initially, SOS appealed to Becky because she felt confident that her money would be invested intelligently in organizations that supported STL communities. She had fallen in love with the SOS mission and felt comfortable with just writing a check. But, try as she might to remain disengaged, Becky struggled to stay on the sidelines. After volunteering for her first LOI committee she was hooked, “Our leader was so impressive. She was thorough and her organizational skills and leadership abilities were remarkable,” she told me. As a “recovering banker,” Becky is still an analyst at heart and loves applying her expertise in the context of the grantees requests for financial support. Next, was a foray into site visits. Needless to say, Becky went from being an inactive financial supporting member to a leader of a site visit team and now a Board member in less than 3 years of membership. As a new board member, she hopes to use the analytical expertise she brings from her banking background to the organization and we are excited to have her. As she reflected on 2020 thus far, she feels that the pandemic forced her to slow down–canceling events and trips–allowing her to be more available to her family and their needs, and to also volunteer as a board member of SOS.
Elveeta first became involved with SOS after attending an educational event where the Little Bit Foundation gave a presentation. Elveeta could not shake the story that was told during the presentation about a father dropping his child off at school and leaving his coat too so that the child would not be cold. That story struck a chord with Elveeta and it was then that she knew she wanted to get involved with SOS. Thus far, her experience with SOS has helped her to hone her skills to identify organizations that may be a strong fit for SOS’s support. She hopes to spread the word about SOS’s mission to small nonprofits operating in the greater St. Louis area and to become the connective tissue linking them to SOS support. 2020 has challenged Elveeta to quiet her spirit and slow down. At the same time, she was able to make time to achieve getting her Mortgage Brokerage License and to create an ancestral scrapbook for her daughter. She is still in search of a fun and easy project to tackle to round out 2020, “it will have to be something that I can make and give to people,” she told me lightheartedly, revealing her generous spirit.
For Ally, her involvement with SOS is an extension of the work she does on a daily basis. Trained in behavioral economics, social financing, and impact investing Ally’s skill sets, coupled with her altruistic tendencies, are a powerful asset for the SOS board. It is young members like Ally who will advance the mission of SOS and help us to find innovative ways to remain a relevant organization that creates avenues to support small STL non-profits and the communities they serve. Personally, Ally has enjoyed making connections with other SOS members because she feels that they serve as good influences as well as meaningful mentors for her. She knows that, as a member of a younger generation, she will bring a fresh perspective to the board and is interested in further developing how we give and engage in the community. During our chat, I asked Ally whether she could find any silver linings from 2020. She mused, “ what do I think will come from all this bad stuff?” and proceeded to tell me. Her list was long but certainly achievable. For starters, she feels that our current predicament has forced all kinds of innovation and “outside of the box thinking” in regards to how we work and play. She also believes that the current pandemic has caused people to slow down and shift their focuses to a more communal lens, something that may lead to creating significant social policy change. From her perspective, effecting the change we want to see in the world is, “just a matter of keeping the focus on our goals and not getting distracted. If we do that, systemic change that will benefit everyone in our community will come.”
Help Us Review Letters of Inquiry for SOS Grants
Join an LOI Review Team
Join an LOI Review Team
LOI Volunteers Still Needed! Sign Up TODAY!
- Login as a member
- Click “Member Menu”
- Click “Join Committees”
- Select LOI checkbox
- Attend an introductory team meeting in early October (date determined by availability of team members)
- Review estimated 10-15 LOIs, at your convenience, during October into early November
- Attend a final team meeting in early November (date determined by availability of team members)
- Meetings likely virtual, as determined by team leaders and members
- October 1 – November 13: Teams review LOIs
- November 13:LOI team recommendations due to Grant Chairs
- November 18: LOI team leaders meet to select agencies for Site Visits