March Newsletter from SOS




If you haven't already, please complete the SOS Member Survey.

It should only take about 15 minutes and we would greatly appreciate the feedback. Thank you for your consideration.

Ferrigni to Speak at This Week's



Chocolate et Vin Event!  

Chocolate et Vin
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21

Artist and SOS member Marianne Baer has set the table for another memorable evening at her beautiful home. Come make and take home your own handmade truffles, sip some enchanting wines and try out some other tasty snacks as we reconnect and make new friends.
We will also learn about the great work being done by of one of our grantees.
Volunteers in Medicine St Charles
has been serving adult uninsured poor of St. Charles County for more than 20 years.  They are an all-volunteer organization of health care professionals providing primary and some specialty care services and care coordination for those earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. 

They provide 5,000 visits annually to more than 600 individuals. Remarkably, Volunteers in Medicine provides or facilitates more than $3,000,000 of care annually on a budget of $150,000. That comes to $20 of care for every $1 in their budget.
Filippo Ferrigni has been the Medical Director and staff physician for Volunteers in Medicine St. Charles for last 10 years. Filippo has spent 30 years working in and managing intensive care units for SSM Healthcare in St. Charles County. He worked briefly for The Joint Commission and recently retired as Director of Quality Improvement at Esse Healthcare. 
Click here to register.





As site visits are winding down, we want to remind our members that the membership deadline was March 15 to pay your annual dues.

If you have not contributed to the 2017-18 grant cycle, please reach out to Amy Inman at  or Wendy Witte at  or 314-880-4962 as soon as possible.

We want to ensure all our members have the opportunity to vote as we strive for a record breaking amount of grants this year! 




SOS Ballot Fair
Wednesday, April 12th
5:30 to 7 p.m.
This is where it all comes together. Come learn about the nonprofits and programs asking for our help. Site team members will be on hand to answer questions about the agencies they visited.
It is our collective wisdom that empowers us to make the right choices. We need to hear your voice.
St. Louis Community Foundation
#2 Oak Knoll Park (in Oak Knoll Park)
Clayton, MO 63105  
Discovering Our Community
"I never thought it could happen to me."
"My beautiful, happy family wasn't immune to the horrific hold of addiction." Stefanie Maucher's story about the addiction of her son, Spencer, will weigh on the hearts of those of us who attended the Trauma of Addiction for Women and Children event at Great Circle on March 6.

Stefanie is part of the Human Resource Team at Great Circle, but that night she was a grieving mother, shocked by the rapid spiral down of her young son, Spencer, who is currently in prison for the fourth time.
This was the opening speech for the seventy-five members and guests ready to learn more about the addiction crisis.

We first looked at the startling statistics of the rapid rise of the opioid epidemic and were then educated about the local efforts to help the addicted in our community.

Melissa Tepe, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Affinia Health Care discussed the importance of changing the way physicians address treating acute pain with a focus on pain management for patients using multiple treatment modalities and non-opioid therapies.  

The Director of Affinia's Behavioral Health Services, Jenny Walczak, Psy.D., expanded on the Medication Assisted Treatment Program (MAT) for opioid addiction and how it integrates medical and behavioral health techniques.

Our last speaker, Vince Hillyer, the CEO of Great Circle was eloquent in his words about the newly formed Great Circle Academy which offers an important alternative of an accredited high school program for teens in recovery from substance abuse.

The Academy offers a combination of strong academics and therapeutic counseling that offers a lifestyle support system. Vince also had a moving personal story of growing up in an addicted, abusive family which became his impetus for the work he does so well at Great Circle.
Seven community non-profit agencies joined us for the evening, so we could also learn about their passion for helping to create a stronger community through their work with addiction education and help with recovery.

Representatives came from Angels' Arms, Center for Women in Transition, Crisis Aid International, Home Sweet Home, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, NCADA, Parents and Their Children (PATCH), and Great Circle Academy.

The important work they do helps women move forward after jail or prison, escape sex trafficking, stay in recovery, reclaim their family, find employment, and furnish a home. They also work in the community on prevention, reducing deaths from drug overdose, and providing referral services for treatment.

Guests were delighted to speak personally with the agency representatives enjoy each other and sample tasty appetizers from Art of Entertaining.
A heartfelt thank you to our speakers Dr.Tepe, Dr. Walczak, and Mr. Hillyer, and the non-profit agencies for giving us more information and our own ammunition to help the community.

Thank you also to Lee Anne Quatrano and Caroli Young, Education Committee Co-Chairs, and the Education and Membership Committee volunteers who made the evening possible through their hard work.


If you want to put a face on hunger, just look around.

Food insecurity affects more people than you may think. It reaches beyond the soup-kitchen lines, now affecting thousands of people who were recently living comfortably in the middle class.
As Sunny Schaefer, Executive Director of Operation Food Search (and SOS member), walked us through their facility, we learned that 1 in 6 people in the greater St. Louis region, including 172,000 children, struggles with hunger.

And while the problem is complex, it is solvable.
Healing hunger starts with a meal. Operation Food Search feeds 200,000 people every month - that's 35 million dollars' worth of food and necessities to 300 community partners in 31 Missouri and Illinois counties and in the city of St. Louis.
Thank you to Operation Food Search for hosting us so we could learn the truth about hunger and how we can all help end it in our region.
To learn more about Operation Food Search or to sign up to be a volunteer, click here:  

Please like us on Facebook
Together we can spread the word about SOS by promoting our events, newsletters and grantees via our SOS Facebook page. 
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. If you haven't visited the SOS Facebook page, please go to 
2. Expand the reach of our Facebook posts by clicking the "Share" button on upcoming events, newsletters, "Why We Give" grantee features, and event follow up posts. By clicking "Share", you can choose to share our posts with all of your Facebook friends or select individual friends. 
3. Write a comment on one of our Facebook posts by simply clicking the "Comment" button under a post and sharing your thoughts about an event you attended. You can also select the camera button on the comment line to add photos. If you don't have a comment or photo, just simply hit the "Like" button. 
4. Add a hashtag (#) to your post which becomes a searchable phrase for anyone who is interested in SOS, women and/or giving. Once you search for these items on any social media outlet, your post will appear as one of the search results. Listed below are recommended hashtags to use in future social media posts. 

Questions about Facebook? Please contact Amy Garrison at . 






  • 72% of charitable giving comes from individuals
  • 15% of charitable giving comes from foundations
  • 8% of charitable giving comes from bequests
  • 5% of charitable giving comes from corporations
*2016 figures as reported by Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
For more information click here:
Spreading the Word:



A Contact For SOS

Have you ever been out and about when you run into someone you know would love SOS?

Here's a quick way to follow up on the spot. Create a contact in your phone for SOS so you can immediately share it. Make sure you include the URL for our homepage.
Here is our contact information:
Company: Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund
Contact: Wendy Witte
Phone: 314-880-4962

SOS is made up of great women - and one of the best things about being a member of this organization is getting to know our fellow members.

This month, we are continuing our tradition of selecting one member at random each month to answer nine questions. 

Meet Beth Ann Riechman
1.    Where were you born?  

In Decatur, Illinois. When my husband and I met, I was at Stephens, but he's a St. Louis boy. He took a job and we took a trek around the country - Atlanta the longest, but now we're back here.

2.    What was the first philanthropy you remember being involved with?  What did you do for/with them?

As a little girl I was in Girl Scouts, and 4-H and Campfire Girls.  We were very active working in the community all the time from Soup Kitchens, and Special Needs Classrooms to Gardening.  I have very fond memories of helping others.  As soon as I got out of college I joined Junior League, and I've been in ever since.  I love helping the community!  One thing I think is so wonderful about St. Louis is that everybody really works together.  That comradery is so amazing and I haven't seen it in other cities.  I feel I get to be the best I can every day by helping nonprofits.

3.    Who first told you about SOS?  

Susan Block.  She was on the Board for Junior League and was the person who invited me to SOS.  Also Gwen was the president of the Board of Philanthropy and loved her.  They both encouraged me to join.

4.    What was the moment you KNEW SOS was a group you wanted to be a part of?

When I went to events and heard of how much SOS was doing in the community.  I've had a light-bulb moment that we all have the exact same mission - like we all want to do amazing things in our community and everyone knows how to get it done!  I feel like I'm with people who feel who feel the exact same way about the community as I do - from my heart I feel that.  We all want to make a quality difference.  And, I always feel welcome!  I never feel like a stranger.  

5.    What has been your favorite part/memory of being in SOS? 

I love the accessibility to people.  If you need to get a hold of somebody they get right back to you.  Also when we have speakers I feel so lucky that I get to go listen to how we've changed people's lives in this community and those organizations.

6.    What other nonprofit groups are you a member of?   

The Junior League of St. Louis, I'm on the Board of Grace Hill Settlement House, and I am on the Symphony volunteer association, the sorority Beta Sigma Phi which is philanthropic, and I'm president of my college alumni association. I also do the Sensory Gardens at Crisis Nursery and I do a lot of volunteering with them.  And the Forest Park Forever and the Hat Luncheon committee. I'm on a lot of committees!

7.    What's your favorite place in St. Louis? 

By far the Muny!  It's so special to have outdoor theater and we have season tickets.       
8.    If you had a gift certificate for a free meal anywhere in our region, where would you eat?  What would you order?  

I would go to Trattoria Marcella.  My husband grew up near there. He is Italian and Lebanese and food is a big thing!

9.    Three words your friend's would use to describe you:

Kind, very outgoing, and a very dedicated person.  If I have to let people down I feel so horrible that it pains me.  


Thank you for your commitment to an organization that goes way beyond
your grant dollars!

YOU are the secret to our success!  

  • Rebecca Fritsch is a Commercial Lender at Fifth Third Bank with over twenty years treasury and finance experience, both as a provider of services and as a corporate practitioner.  Her current volunteer commitments include the Red Cross, the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association, and Barrett's Elementary School.  She lives in Des Peres with her husband and two young sons.  When she isn't working, volunteering, or being a mom, she enjoys exercising. Welcome, Rebecca, we are so glad to have you with us!
  • Donna Gresham spent her career as a CPA for EY and UHY assisting small to midsized companies with Controllership/CFO assistance. She also spent many years as Director of Finance and Administration for Wee Ones, Inc., and Buildingstars International. Donna retired a few years ago to spend more time with her grandkids and an aging dad. Donna is married to David Gresham and resides in Kirkwood, where she raised her two daughters, Meghan and Molly. She has two grandchildren, Nora and John, with another on the way in August. In the past Donna volunteered for United Way, raised a dog for Support Dogs of Missouri and sat on the board of the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion. When Donna was introduced to SOS by her niece, Amy Inman, she immediately liked what she saw. Pooling resources to make an impact in the community just made sense to her and today she is excited to be a member. We are excited to have you as a member, Donna. Welcome!

A Brighter Future for Children 
Upcoming Event: A Brighter Future for Children
Friday, April 20
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

New science tells us that our children's first years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning.

In fact, 90 percent of the brain is developed by the age of 5. Join us as
Steve Zwolak, University City Children's Center and LUME Institute Executive Director, will give us a tour of UCCC to see the remarkable LUME Institute trained preschool teachers in action, engaging toddlers and preschoolers in this unique curriculum.
Click here to register.


In addition to welcoming new members, we would like to recognize the
accomplishments of our current members.

If you have news to report about yourself or another member, please send an email to

  • Marianne Baer will be showing her Slostitch artwork at the Annual Spring Queeny Art Fair at Queeny Park on March 23, 24 and 25. And she will be having her Spring Baer Studio Show and Sale at her home on April 13 and 14. This will be her 30th annual sale. For more information, please contact Marianne at or visit her website 

Please RSVP - and remember to invite your friends.

SOS events are always open and we welcome all women who share our passion for strengthening our St. Louis community!

Chocolate et Vin
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21
Click here to register.

Book Discussion on "Up the Down Staircase"
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 6
Click here to register.

SOS Ballot Fair for Active Members
5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 11
Click here to register.

A Brighter Future for Our Children
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 20
A lunch and learn event. Invitation to follow.

Save the Date: Spirit Awards 
May 23