Shelby Schagrin brought the idea of women’s collective giving to St. Louis in 2006. The idea was simple; to bring together women’s equal contributions so that together we can make a bigger contribution to our community than individually. Each member would make an equal contribution and using a one-woman, one-vote process, provide high-impact funding to nonprofits that were improving life in the St. Louis metro region. Shelby enlisted Susan Block and together they created the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. One-by-one, woman-by-woman, the spirit grew.
Today we continue to learn and grow, guided by the collective wisdom of our members and the people we serve. We are humbled by the work of our grantees who teach us every day about the power of giving to others.
The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS) educates and inspires women to engage in informed, collective grantmaking by investing in Greater St. Louis’ small nonprofits to positively effect change in our communities.
To support vital work that creates safer, healthier and equitable communities.
Our Core Values – Our “How”:
Everyone gives an equal amount of money. Everyone has an equal voice. Our members commit to an $1,200 annual contribution. $1,080 of each member’s annual contribution goes directly to make grants and $120 to help support our educational programs and operation.
We are a volunteer democracy. Those members who have time, give it. Those who don’t are only asked to vote. We respect that women have different demands on their time at different times in their lives. There are no fundraisers, no galas. All of our grant dollars come directly from our member dues.
Educational events inspires women to become an informed source of social change. Social events bring members, prospective members and grantees together to learn from each other and have fun in the process.
We rely on an active network of members to rotate leadership on our board and through the various committees that lead our organization. We do almost all of the work ourselves so we can put more of our money to the community where it is needed most.
The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund has selected the St. Louis Community Foundation to partner with for administrative, financial and technical support. The St. Louis Community Foundation promotes and inspires charitable giving in the St. Louis region. It is a trustworthy steward of donor funds, with experienced and knowledgeable staff who guide and connect donors with nonprofit organizations working on the causes they want to support. The Foundation administers over 600 charitable funds totaling nearly $500 million in assets and supports these funds in distributing over $80 million annually in grants and scholarships.
We Are a Member of Philanos
The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund is a founding member of the network of women collective giving organizations, Philanos. Philanos supports the creation, development and expansion of women’s collective giving grantmaking nationwide. As a network of independent collective giving groups, membership is more than 20,000 women strong. Members pool their money to award impact grants in their own communities.
The network shares best practices about membership, grantmaking, and governance to strengthen our organizations and ultimately to strengthen our communities.