The Future of Philanthropy - December Newsletter from SOS

A Message from President Amy Inman 
You are the rocket fuel for the


future of philanthropy.    
Dear SOS Women and Friends, 
"Collective Giving and Giving Circle organizations are changing the face of community philanthropy across the United States."  
This is the finding of a two-year study by a research team funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
The research team found that since 2007 (the year SOS awarded our first grant), Collective Giving organizations have tripled in the United States.
Here are a few of the key findings:
  1. Collective Giving groups have granted up to $1.29 billion to their communities nationwide since inception.
  2. Women make up the majority of Collective Giving organizations.
  3. Donated funds remain largely in the local community.
  4. Collective Giving groups rate themselves as more connected to each other and to the philanthropic sector.
The impact of Collective Giving organizations is both profound for the non-profits they support, and also in the lives of members. And, of course, we know this!  
We know that as a collective, SOS inspires thoughtful and strategic giving to our community. As a result of our thorough grant-making evaluation strategies, our grants are well regarded by both other funders and non-profits.  
And just as importantly, SOS has been the catalyst to inspire members on their own philanthropic leadership paths.
As we move forward, understanding the significant impact that organizations like SOS are having can encourage us as we work toward greater civic engagement and positive community transformation.  
We are the rocket boosters for innovative, grassroots non-profits and the fuel for the future of philanthropy.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season,

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

Next Gen Impact Revolution    

More than 170 people attended the Business Journal's Next Gen Impact Revolution event November 17 at the Saint Louis Art Museum.  
Amy Inman, representing SOS, shared the stage with Amelia Bond, president and CEO of the St. Louis Community Foundation; David Karandish, CEO of Ai Software and co-founder of; and Michael Staenberg, philanthropist and co-founder of the Staenberg Family Foundation to discuss how donors are shifting their focus to the needs of the community.
SOS members in the audience were beaming with pride as Amy spoke powerfully to the growing impact of women in philanthropy, pointing out that women now control over 51 percent of the wealth of the United States and how that number continues to rise.  
Women are looking to make an impact in their communities - and strategic giving circles like SOS are making sure that we do. Amy also spoke to how SOS is actively engaged in mentoring the next generation of philanthropic women through our Girl's Giving program. 
Thanks to Amy for so thoughtfully demonstrating how the women of SOS are addressing the needs of our community in real, tangible and impactful ways. 
This event was hosted in conjunction with the Business Journal's Giving Guide, which published Nov. 10.
*Photo above taken from 
SOS Asked to Participate


in CSR Diligence Forum

CSR Diligence hosted a forum for nonprofits on Thursday, November 16, 2017. The purpose was to provide a funder's point of view about creating sustainable relationships with supporters and best practices when seeking funding. The Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund was asked to contribute our expertise.

Gwen Wesley nobly represented SOS on the panel, which included participants from St. Louis Philanthropic Organization, Washington University in St. Louis, Vario Philanthropy, and Youthbridge Community Foundation. Gwen spoke to important issues such as the key imperatives we look for during our grant-making process and how SOS measures success after awarding funding.

Opportunities like this demonstrate that our grant-making process is recognized in the community for its rigor and quality. Thanks to Gwen and the long line of women who have worked through the years to continually improve our granting process to make sure we maximize our impact in the community.



Vince Schell presents SOS logo created at the event.
On November 8, 48 excited SOS members and guests gathered to hear about the Cortex Innovation Community and tour the creative workshop called TechShop, a prototyping studio and innovative space that served as a catalyst for many creators and makers in our community.

While we toured, Vince Schell, TechShop facilities manager oversaw a laser demonstration that created a beautiful SOS logo sign from wood and white resin.
As we enjoyed delicious bites provided by Vicia, an elegant new award-winning eatery, Ralph Quatrano, PhD, the former Dean of Engineering at Washington University enlightened us about the continuing expansion of the 200-acre Cortex area, a 501(c)3 formed in 2002.

This entrepreneurial complex which is mid-America's premiere innovation hub for tech and bioscience research, development, and commercialization captures the commercial benefits of regional universities and corporate research for the St. Louis area. Currently over 250 companies call the Cortex innovation community their home.

The week after our inspiring visit, we were shocked by the news of TechShop headquarters filing for bankruptcy and the immediate closing of all of its design studios.  The void this created in the maker community in St. Louis felt devastating.

More than 500 people were part of the TechShop makers, and they were now without a creative home.

Jim McKelvey, local entrepreneur who started Square and Third Degree Glass Factory, stepped forward to cooperate with Cortex and begin STL Maker Studios. 

This will enable the 500 current TechShop members to continue creating in the existing Cortex Space until the end of December. Doug Auer, co-founder of Third Degree Glass Factory will oversee the facility, and a new space will be determined in St. Louis City. 

The plans are to develop something more sustainable, sleek, and user friendly.  Our enthusiastic SOS members will be watching as the story unfolds.  

Presenter Ralph Quatrano with Patti Thorp and Liz Buchman.
Thanks to Lee Anne Quatrano, Caroli Young and the rest of the Education and Membership Committees for bringing us to the Cortex District for what was a most timely visit.


Did you know that you can enhance the SOS brand by using hashtags in your social media posts?  A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#) that is used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitates a search for it.  
When you use hashtags, you help people who are interested in your topic find your posts and Tweets.

As an example, you can add #soswomengive to any social media post or tweet 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.

#womenscollectivegiving (include with SOS hashtag above) 
#collectivegiving (include with SOS hashtag above) 
Questions about LinkedIn?  Please contact Amy Garrison at or  Caroli Young at
"Force de Femme" was sellout event showcasing the incredible depth and breadth of female talent in the St. Louis culinary scene.  
On Giving Tuesday, Angela Ortman #STLwinegirl, the force behind this epic event, presented SOS with a check for $2,500 to go to our 2018 Spirit Awards.
Thanks to Angela and to all of the generous women who made this night such a big success.

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

YOU are the secret to our success!  

  • Mary Tonkin retired from Monsanto in October 2016 after 25 years as a labor and employment attorney.  She credits the birth of her first grandchild - now 10 months old - as having helped her make that transition. Mary is a Board member of the Metro Theater which produces theater for young people.  She looks forward to being an active member of SOS and thank Kathleen Beckmann and Mary Schoolman for introducing her to SOS. We're so glad to have you join us, Mary!
  • Anne Warfield is a former preschool teacher and a current photographer/artist specializing in St. Louis Scenes and travel photography. Now that her identical twin sons are in college, she is looking for ways to give back to the community. Anne says she is very excited to have found SOS - and so are we!
  • Beth Moeller is the proud mother of a 12-year-old girl whom she adopted from Russia on her own.  She is also the newly minted "mother" of her 35-year-old nephew who has autism.  Beth is the Director of Community Living at the St. Louis Arc, providing support to people who need a small amount of help to live on their own successfully.  In addition, she is a certified life coach, helping people figure out what they want their life to look like and how they are going to get there.  In her "free time," Beth loves to run in the woods. Welcome to SOS, Beth!
  • Lise Bernstein is President of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, a St. Louis education and advocacy organization.  She is a past President of the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section and a former Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Voices for Children.  Her professional background is in marketing communications focused on health care and social services; she previously served as a consultant to hospitals and nonprofit organizations. We're so happy to have you as a member of SOS, Lise!

Sharing the Spirit this Holiday Season
Julie Williams, Founder and Executive Director of the Maren Fund with participant parent, Ann Salamon.
It was a joyous celebration indeed as over 90 members and guests came together for our holiday coffee.  
Hosted by the always gracious Susan Block, the sun shone bright as the warm glow of sisterhood filled the room.  
Julie Williams, Founder and Executive Director of the Maren Fund, explained how our grant was making a difference for teens with Down Syndrome.
Ann Salamon, parent of one of the kids in the program, brought to life the personal impact of this program.  
Coming together brings us together in so many ways. Thanks to Susan and our Membership Committee for bringing us this most wonderful experience.

Does giving really make us happier?
Yes! Studies have shown that giving to charities activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Now there is a new study that demonstrates the more women give, the happier they are. Seems if you help someone get up the hill, you pull yourself up as well.
To learn more about The Women Give 2017 study, click here.

How Do Children Affect Charitable Giving?
There's been a lot of research on how parental behavior affects their children's charitable behavior.

But did you know the sex of the first-born child actually influences both the likelihood of giving and the amount given to charitable organizations in two-parent households? (Curiously, it does not have an impact in single-parent families.)

Click here to see the full study.

Key Takeaways:

  • Parents who have a first-born son and have two or more children are more likely to give, and give 14.3 percent larger amounts than people whose first-born child is a daughter.
  • Parents who have a daughter who is an only child are more likely to give to charity, and they give 20.3 percent higher amounts than parents of a son who is an only child.
  • People whose only child is a daughter give more to education and basic needs.
  • People whose first-born child is a son give more to education, youth and family services.

The research does not offer any "whys" - but does demonstrate that the parent/child impact in charitable giving goes in both directions - and it passes along consciously and unconsciously.
Witness Firsthand Why  


Our Giving Matters -  


Join A Site Visit Team by Dec. 30 

There are so many great organizations in our community - all doing great work. That's why we need your help to determine where SOS can have the greatest impact.

We rely on the wisdom of the crowd in making our funding decisions and site visits are a crucial step.

Don't pass up this opportunity to see for yourself how we can all make a difference in our community.

Remember, you must sign up every year even if you have served on a site visit team in the past.

To join a Site Visit Team, please go to
Login as a member, click on "Member Menu" then "Join Committees"
Select the checkbox next to "Site Visit"

If you would like to be a Team Leader, please let us know.
Grant Schedule:
  • January 10:  Site Visit Team Member Orientation & Training (4:30-5:30 p.m.)  St. Louis Community Foundation Office  
  • January 17:  SOS Finance 101 (6:00-7:30 p.m.) Buckingham Asset Management
  • January 26:  Full grant proposals from selected nonprofits are due
  • February - March:  Site Visit Teams meet to evaluate grant proposals
  • April 4:  Site Team Leader Meeting (3:00-5:00 p.m.)  St. Louis Community Foundation Office
  • April 11:  Ballot Fair St. Louis Community Foundation
  • May 23:  Grants are announced at the Spirit Award Ceremony

  Girls Giving Fall Grant Report
Saturday November 18 was quite a day for Girls Giving.

Members participated in morning site visits and returned back to the St. Louis Community Foundation for a roundtable discussion at noon.

All three site teams had very unique opportunities to get to know three agencies doing good work for the youth in Ferguson.

This year we had $3100 to give, and the girls were very thoughtful in how the grants would be divided among the agencies.

Fall 2017 Grants:

Center for Social Empowerment - $1600
The grant will help fund STEM learning resources as well as food supplies for their Saturday Academy. The Saturday Academy provides resources to students who need to obtain foundational writing, reading, and math skills to match their grade level. In addition, a new STEM lab will bring a novel and interactive way to engage students in the sciences, critical thinking and exploration.

EarthDance Farms - $500
The grant will support the YEAH! (Youth Exploring Agriculture and Health) Program. YEAH! Enables youth to explore an organic farm in the heart of Ferguson where they learn about their food's journey from seed to plate and why eating fresh food is so good for you. The program includes field trips, volunteer opportunities and a jobs program for teens in Ferguson.
Ferguson Youth Initiative - $1000
The grant will help fund the Making It project, an entrepreneurial program helping middle-school aged youth gain valuable transferable skills and experiences. The seven-lesson curriculum educates students on proper business practices that will make productive entrepreneurs.
Girls Giving thanks the St. Louis Community Foundation for their help in identifying the agencies we gave to as well as providing a beautiful place to meet.

And a special thank you to the parents of the Girls Giving members for your support. We had 30 girls from 8 area highs schools participate this year. Lilly Wurm served as our intern for the second year and Meghan Bach, a recent graduate of Washington University, served as an assistant to the group as well.
Please contact Kathy Frost, or 314.302.0758 if you're interested in the Fall 2018 Girls Giving program.


In addition to welcoming our new members, we would like to recognize the accomplishments of our current members.   
  • Two songs from Gwen Wesley's album, A Prayer for My Family, are in regular rotation on radio WSIE, 88.7 - "Thankful Every Day of My Life" and "Testifier." Gwen wrote eleven songs for this album, ranging in style from traditional Gospel to Jazz to old R&B to Hard Blues and Big Band. Gwen's soulful spirit and amazing voice will carry you away as you feel the love, faith and family that inspired this beautiful collection of music. If you'd like to learn more, contact Gwen:

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

Calling all mothers & daughters! 
If you and your mother/daughter are both members of SOS, we want to hear your story. Send an email to Chris Schmiz - - so we can set up a time to talk!
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!

Demystifying Nonprofit Tax Statements
Wednesday, January 17, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Click here to register.

Meet Our Three-Year Grantee: Lydia's House

Thursday, January 25, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Learn how Lydia's Ladle is empowering women who have been victims of domestic violence. Click here to register.


Operation Food Search: Hunger Speaks
Friday February 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here to register.

Discovering Our Community: The Trauma of Addiction for Women and Children
Tuesday, March 6. Save the date. Details to follow.