April Newsletter from SOS

A Message from Our President
Dear SOS Women and Friends,

I was talking with a woman over coffee about SOS's funding, and she curiously asked, "Why grant to small non-profits?" That's a great question. Why  DO we invest in small organizations?

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, "Disruptive Innovation for Social Change", investments in early-stage social entrepreneurs are essential to creating profound and lasting community change.

Small non-profits are the "catalytic innovators" that disrupt the status quo of larger service organizations. Established groups are doing great work, but because of the structural constraints of larger non-profits and government programs, they are less likely to try new solutions. 

Many funders don't like to fund smaller non-profits. They see early stage or small as "risky" and feel their outcomes are uncertain. SOS's response to that reluctance is our careful vetting process which has enabled us to identify qualified organizations.

So how do these small groups create change? They do it In three important ways.  
  • One, they bring new energy to solve old problems. They ask "what is possible," and then work to accomplish it.
  • Two, they are flexible and unencumbered by the expectations that can weigh down larger institutions. Small non-profits are willing to try new ideas and experiment.
  • Three, and perhaps most importantly, they shine a light on what's not working. These small groups uncover individuals or groups who might otherwise be overlooked. 
A perfect example of the positive impact small organizations can have comes from The Little Bit Foundation who we funded early in their journey. Little Bit started because Rose Hanley found much-needed coats from a coat drive forgotten in a school closet. No one at the school had distributed them.

As result, today Little Bit has distribution sites ("boutiques") in over 30 schools. They also partner with a wide coalition of organizations who lean on Little Bit to distribute services. The same is true for Volunteers in Medicine. They are redefining prescription costs for the poor through innovative partnerships with grocery stores.

At SOS, we have example after example of small organizations filling the gaps and inspiring larger organizations to adopt once "risky" ideas that are now proven solutions.

And that is why we invest in small, grassroots organizations that are unafraid to work on the complex issues that face St. Louis. Thank you to our grantees and thank YOU for your investment in them!

Amy Inman
President and Proud Member
Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund

A Brighter Future for Children 
With 75% of St. Louis County's young children in care outside the home for 40+ hours a week, having educators trained to recognize and address potential issues is crucial to healthy development.  
Join us at a lunch and learn event, "A Brighter Future for Children," where we will hear from Steve Zwolak, University City Children's Center and LUME Institute Executive Director.

LUME Institute offers professional development courses, workforce development opportunities, family education and resources, community engagement and partnership opportunities.  
Friday, April 20th
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Click HERE to register.




5:30 TO 7 P.M.

This is the night when it all comes together - the culmination of our giving and granting. One-by-one, we hear the stories of our grantees and the spaces they will fill in our community and our collective heart for the coming year.
You made this happen. Please join us to celebrate. And please bring your friends and family so they, too, can witness the power of coming together for good.
Click here to register - and bring friends!

A Delicious Discussion - 


Up the Down Staircase

We enjoyed a delicious lunch and lively discussion at our book club gathering on April 6 as we reviewed Up the Down Staircase.

The students at Clyde C Miller career Academy set up, cooked and served a delicious lunch with a Russian theme appetizer and dessert (the author is Russian.)

After we discussed the book, the students talked about their internship programs at the Ballpark Hilton, Ritz and other locations throughout the city as part of their hospitality management curriculum.

The school offers career focused programs in biotechnology, business administration, hospitality management, culinary arts, electronics and manufacturing engineering.

A great time was definitely had by all! Thanks to Leslie Corey and her committee for making it happen.

SOS members and guests enjoyed delicious appetizers and desserts at the "Chocolate Et Vin" evening at Marianne Baer's wonderful home where we learned more about Volunteers in Medicine St. Charles.

We were honored to have Dr. Filippo Ferrigno, speak about the medical needs of the uninsured and the work they are doing to help this population.

Volunteers in Medicine St. Charles were able to take our $20,000 grant investment and turn it into $400,000 worth of prescriptions for under-served individuals.

This is an incredible return. If you would like to learn more about Volunteers in Medicine and their clinical work for the uninsured, click here
Special thanks to our always gracious hostess, Marianne Baer. Her home is as artful as it is welcoming and it is always special to gather there.


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  amy.garrison@brandvirtuellc.com . 

Thanks to the Women of

Cushman Wakefield 


SOS was honored to be asked by Amy Klinge, to speak to the Women's Integrated Network (WIN) at Cushman Wakefield on International Women's Day.

Amy Garrison, SOS member and former Cushman Wakefield associate, arranged for Vicki Sheehan and Chris Schmiz to share their experiences about the impact of women coming together to give.

Sara Pixley, SOS member and current associate of Cushman Wakefield was also on-hand to spread the word about women-powered philanthropy.
A special thank you to Amy Klinge & Amy Garrison for giving us this opportunity.
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 Carol Goodman 
1.    Where were you born?  

Here in St. Louis. I've lived here pretty much my whole life except college.

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

Right after college I was involved with a group I'm not sure even exists anymore. It was called Reading is Fundamental. We went into public schools and read with kids.
3.    Who first told you about SOS?  
Chris Schmiz. I saw her at a party and she told me about it. I was interested and she invited me to the Christmas coffee (at Susan Block's home).

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

The way Chris described it I knew I liked it. The part about everybody being equal, all women aspect and no extra fundraising .

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

I just finished doing the last site visit and I loved it. There are so many non-profits that I wasn't aware of and it's so great to learn about them.
6.    What other nonprofit groups are you a member of?   

I volunteer at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. I help out in the office and I get to learn about their clients and cases.

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

The Missouri Botanical Garden and the Jazz at the Bistro.
8.    If you had a gift certificate for a free meal anywhere in our region, where would you eat?  What would you order?  
The Crossing. Anything on the menu is great and it changes all the time.
9.    Three words your friend's would use to describe you:

Fun, positive and happy.


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

YOU are the secret to our success!  

  • Sherry Dace is the proud mom of four - twin boys and two daughters. She is a vibrant and active entrepreneur, Executive National Vice President with Arbonne International, a fitness and wellness coach, skin care and anti-aging consultant. Her passion is to educate and empower people to live a health, abundant and extraordinary life. Thanks for bringing your spirit and energy to SOS, Sherry!
  • Janet Tenhula was introduced to SOS by JoAnn Sanditz. Janet grew up in Marion, Ind., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she met her husband, Tom. They have two children and five grandchildren who live in the Washington, D.C., area. Janet is a Physical Therapist, specializing in Orthopedics. Since moving to St. Louis in 1979, she practiced and taught at Washington University and then in private practice. Janet enjoys traveling, playing golf and tennis, gardening, trying to stay fit, and having fun. Welcome to SOS. Janet. Thanks for joining!
  • Diane Weinstock has been married for 53 years, has two children and four grandchildren. She is a graduate of Clayton High School and Washington University. Over the past 25 years, Diane has been actively engaged in community service - as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for eight children in addition to being a CASA board member, negotiating orders of protection at city courts and working the crisis hotline for Legal Advocates for Abused Women, analyzing programs for the United Way, counseling under-resourced women for the CHAMP Program, serving on the Board and as a pre-school assistant for Family Resource Center. Diane said she is honored to join a group of women who share a common interest in making a difference by supporting those in our community who need assistance. And we are honored to have you with us, Diane!    
  • Carrie Crompton is originally from California, but grew up in St. Louis. From an early age she was interested in learning about her community, always looking for ways to help. She now lives Lafayette Square with her family, including three young boys (7, 5 and 3). She is heavily involved with her children's school, St. Margaret of Scotland in Shaw, as well as the Junior League of St. Louis. Carrie is excited to join SOS to continue her quest to learn new things about St. Louis. We look forward to learning together, Carrie. Welcome to SOS!


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 chris.schmiz@mac.com.

  • Julie Williams, founder of the Maren Fund and tireless advocate for children with Down syndrome is being honored by St. Louis Arc as the 2018 Superhero for Kids. Julie spoke at our Holiday Coffee last year where everyone present felt the power of her passion to ensure that children with disabilities are valued and given the opportunity to pursue full and active lives. The Maren Fund helps kids learn, helps parents become better advocates for their children and helps educators be better educators. It's a remarkable achievement, started by a remarkable woman. Way to go, Julie! We are also proud to say that Julie is SOS member.
  • Marilyn Ratkin, one of our founding members, is being honored as a 2018 Woman of Achievement. During her 25-year professional career, she was engaged in social justice efforts and upon retirement, she focused her volunteer work on helping low-income women and families affected by domestic violence. Her passion and dedication has led her to leadership roles in many organizations: National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Ready Readers, United Way, and of course, Spirit of St. Louis (SOS) Women's Fund.Marilyn's premier accomplishment is spearheading the founding of a micro-lending program, The Healing Hearts Bank, part of an NCJW National Initiative. This Bank, designed to empower women impacted by domestic violence to become financially independent, has expanded to reach under-served women and families. Congratulations to Marilyn on this well-deserved recognition. 
  • Diane Compardo, a member of our Advisory Council and a partner at Moneta Group, was recently named a "Leader of Distinction" by the YWCA Metro St. Louis. In addition to her strong leadership client service and management, Diane is dedicated to mentoring other professional women to support their success and to help close the leadership gender gap within the financial services industry. Diane was one of 10 women named to the 2017 class. Congratulations to Diane!
  • Sunny Schaefer, Executive Director of Operation Food Search and SOS Member, was recently in the news talking about Operation Backpack, "Feeding our school kids one backpack at a time." Click here to read the article. Thanks for all you do for our community, Sunny.
  • Another SOS member, Maxine Clark, was also in the news for her work to flip the notion of the Delmar Divide with the Delmar DivINe. Click here to read more.
  • And, in case you missed it, SOS was featured under the banner "Catch The Spirit" in this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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!

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

SOS Spirit Awards  & Annual Meeting 
5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23
Learn about the amazing St. Louis nonprofits who will be receiving grants this year during the Spirit Awards.
Click here to RSVP.

Next book discussion - June 5 
Details to follow.