This document was shared by Reverend Starsky Wilson, of the Deaconess Foundation. Read the original document here.


As philanthropic leaders, we acknowledge the impact of inequity on the people and communities we serve. We are committed to collaborate and leverage resources to invest in these communities and change systems to ensure full and equal access and participation regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

The shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 resulted in protests, civil unrest and increased civic engagement. His death sparked an awareness of the need for broad-based investments in Ferguson, throughout the region, nationally and internationally to address racial disparities and inequality.

Funders engaged community-based leaders to delineate current efforts aimed at meeting the needs in the Ferguson area, as well as to identify gaps that present opportunities for additional investment.This document provides a snapshot of our environmental scan captured in the beginning of December 2014. It represents a broad spectrum of activity and ideology from a diverse set of local funders. Community needs continue to evolve with the recent release of the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision. Therefore, this is a working document subject to change.

This document summarizes several potential areas for investment:

  • Organizing and Civic Engagement Capacity
  • The Ferguson Commission
  • Media Engagement
  • Juvenile Justice System
  • Behavioral Health
  • Economic Security
  • Education
  • Basic Social Services

Organizing & Civic Engagement Capacity

Background: Organizing and activism in Ferguson has focused on a variety of key issues, including but not limited to police reform and accountability, broader criminal justice reform, economic justice (especially fair wages), transparent and fair governance and public voice. The work is being led and sustained by various groups, including new and young voices that are challenging current norms and established leaders to develop a movement that reflects new perspectives. The organizing power of these individuals executed “Ferguson October”—four days of coordinated civil action and disruption that brought together thousands of supporters from across the nation, to demand justice and keep the national spotlight on the issue. Following “Ferguson October”, Ferguson Action ( was created to provide updates and resources to continue the work after the grand jury announcement.

With the exception of Missouri Jobs with Justice, a statewide organization based in St. Louis, the region does not have a community-based or faith-based organizing/advocacy entity with an annual budget larger than $300,000. Many organizations at the core of the effort are comprised entirely of volunteers, even at the highest levels. To sustain the work, dozens of local organizations have come together to create the Don’t Shoot Coalition, with primary leadership provided by the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE).

The flashpoint of Michael Brown’s killing has galvanized many. But the continued success and sustainability of organizing efforts will depend upon the organizers’ ability to develop strategies that integrate various issues in a way that carries their agenda beyond the current moment of crisis. The Missouri Statewide Organizing Collaborative of eight organizations (with which OBS and MORE are affiliated) is currently undergoing a sixmonth capacity-building engagement with Wellstone Action. This engagement is focused on aligning efforts and independent political organizing to move progressive issues (including minimum wage increases campaign finance reform and redistricting models for inclusive democracy) within a conservative statewide environment in the legislature.

The engagement of the faith community in organizing and strategic responses since the August 9th shooting has been noteworthy. Early and sustained investments of time and human capital were made by the PICO national team and effectively coordinated with local affiliates of the Gamaliel network (Metropolitan Congregations United and United Congregations of Metro-East) and the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition. The Fellowship of Reconciliation deployed staff to assist with direct action training. Sojourners, the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference and Gamaliel all moved leadership or retreat convenings to the Ferguson/St. Louis area to inform their national agendas and engage directly with activists on the ground. The Proctor Conference is coordinating a three-day retreat and strategy session for young activists in Nashville in partnership with American Baptist College.

Unmet Needs:


While the number of solidarity protests, civic actions and disruptions in Ferguson and beyond is unprecedented, this organizing effort is not sustainable without additional investments in capacity building for the local organizations leading the efforts. Big gaps are emerging in organizations’ communications, human resources, personnel development and management as a result of scaling up to respond to the crisis at hand. Organizing in Ferguson/St. Louis cannot be sustained with part-time volunteers. The Missouri Organizing Collaborative suggests winning tough issues for the legislature through ballot initiative requires the capacity to deliver 300,000 petition signatures (to get on ballot) and 1.4 million votes to win.


Protests and actions continue after the grand jury announcement and are at the heart of an international movement. Activists need supplies for safe spaces throughout the region. These safe spaces serve an important role in the protests as a refuge for those who have experienced police violence and chemical weapons, and as a place for people to get current and relevant information. At these safe spaces, food, beverages, blankets, hand warmers, flashlights and other items will be available.

Legal Support

A jail fund provides legal support for protesters who are arrested. Between August 9 and October 15, more than 200 people have been arrested while protesting. MORE’s legal support teams provide accessible, democratic and accountable support, including bail, court fees and access to free representation.

Training, Professional Development, Coaching and Organizational Development

The next generation of leaders, many of whom are new to activism, needs training. Expert instruction, facilitating and coaching are key to sustaining the momentum of this work and ensuring that it leads to meaningful change. Attention should also be given to the mature leaders of longer-standing organizations who have now been thrust into the center of the national spotlight. Leaders of organizations like OBS and MORE are now movement leaders, and investment in coaching and development for them and their organizations will lead to returns across the nation. There are also many new, youth led organizations that have taken a strong and powerful role both locally and nationally in this work. Groups like Hands Up United and Millennial Activists United are taking a leading role in both framing the work on the ground and driving the national narrative. They have formed strong although informal coalitions with other emerging youth-led efforts such as Dream Defenders and Black Lives Matter. They would benefit strongly from organizational development, strategy planning and individual leadership development supports to ensure that they have what they can build sustainable institutions and form collaborations that last.

Basic Needs

In joining a movement for an inclusive democracy, some individuals have chosen to leave their employment to answer the call to act. As a result, meeting basic needs can be challenging. Food, housing and transportation are necessary to ensure security to do this work.

Investment Considerations:

  • Local organizers have spent $150,000 through November 1, 2014 on canvassing, mobilization and training (not including jail support for detained protesters).
  • To sustain organizing and canvassing through March 2014, the Don’t Shoot Coalition projects a total budget of $770,000.
  • To implement a well-developed plan for additional organizing training, networking and capacity building for indigenous, decentralized groups of youth and young adult activists, $150,000 is needed, according to the Organization for Black Struggle.
  • To fully fund a 2016 statewide ballot initiative, the Missouri Organizing Collaborative projects a cost of $1.5 million.
  • Deaconess Foundation has established a temporarily-restricted fund (Ferguson Youth Organizing Fund) for collaborative investments in youth and community organizing to ensure that the funds are responsive to changing dynamics and to assure fidelity to national foundation capacity concerns for small organizations.

Donor Activity to Date:

  • Deaconess Foundation has committed $100,000 to support youth organizing through the Organization for Black Struggle.
  • Deaconess will add a Youth Organizing tract to its annual funding cycle opening in February for local organizations.
  • The Schott Foundation for Public Education committed $50,000 to grassroots organizing efforts.
  • Open Society Foundations has committed $900,000 to build local capacity and strategy in the area of police reform and accountability in the St. Louis area. The funds will support Organization for Black Struggle and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, working in conjunction with the Center for Popular Democracy and Communities United for Police Reform.
  • Open Society Foundations is granting another $2million to the Center for Policing Equity to work with community leaders and over 50 police departments (including the St. Louis County Police Department) to develop the first-ever national database on police stops and use of force—a key tool to demonstrate the impacts of racial bias in policing. A portion of the grant will provide assistance to youth organizing groups to help them use complex data sets to advance their police reform agenda

Contact Persons:

Deaconess Foundation, Reverend Starsky Wilson,, 314.436.8001 or Allie Chang Ray,, 314.436.8001

The Ferguson Commission


On November 18, 2014, Governor Jeremiah Nixon signed Executive Order 14-15 establishing the Ferguson Commission as an independent body of 16 diverse community members who volunteer their time and expertise to study the underlying social and economic conditions underscored by the unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. More information about the Commission can be found at

Under the executive order, the Ferguson Commission will be responsible for issuing a report with policy recommendations in the following areas: citizen-law enforcement interaction and relations; racial and ethnic relations; municipal government organization and the municipal court system; and disparities in areas including education, economic opportunity, housing, transportation, health care, child care, business ownership, and family and community stability.

The diversity of the commission is compelling and the benefits of that diversity are reflected in its early work. Commissioners include frontline protesters, police, educators, corporate executives, clergy, attorneys and social workers. The co-chairs are Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and C.E.O. of Deaconess Foundation and pastor of St. John’s United Church of Christ and Mr. Rich McClure, former president of UniGroup and Civic Progress (the network of chief executives for the region’s 30 largest firms). While Wilson has been highly engaged in philanthropic response, reform negotiations and direct actions, McClure (also a former chief-of-staff to governors in Missouri and Illinois) has been critical in marshalling corporate engagement and bi-partisan political support.

Ultimately, the commission will deliver its final report to the Governor and the public, but the Commission defines its own independent process for conducting hearings, gathering evidence and facts and developing its recommendations. As a project of inclusive democracy, the Commission’s process is open and transparent to the public and the media. It has held three public meetings to date and established working groups for Citizen-Law Enforcement Relations and Municipal Court Reform, as informed by the prioritization of community members gathered in the first meeting. In preparing to issue interim recommendations – including several to the State General Assembly convening in January – these public hearings included public comment, community small group work and presentations from reform advocates and public officials. Presentations were made by representatives who traveled to the United Nations Torture Conference to report police brutality in Ferguson, The Arch City Defenders whose study highlighted on the impact of municipal court practices on people in poverty, the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the Missouri Director of Public Safety, law professors from Washington University and Saint Louis University and governance reform advocates from Better Together. More than 800 citizens have registered and participated in meetings (with several choosing not to register, yet still participating). All meeting documents are posted for public consumption on the Commission website.

Unmet Needs:

The Ferguson Commission needs resources to cover costs for staffing, consultants and other experts and convening costs. The staff resources will help to produce:

  • An in-depth study of the underlying issues brought to light by the events in Ferguson;
  • Interim recommendations on policy solutions as prepared;
  • A comprehensive report no later than September 15, 2015, containing specific, practical policy recommendations

Investment Considerations:

  1. There are opportunities to support policy and community engagement work, as well as operational needs for the Commission.
  2. Commission Co-chairs estimate a commission budget of $1.5 million.
  3. United Way of Greater St. Louis will serve as the fiscal agent for the Commission.

Donor Activity to Date:

  • Missouri Development Finance Board approved $100,000 grant on November 18.
  • Missouri’s Higher Education Loan Authority Foundation made $100,000 grant on December 13.
  • Missouri Foundation for Health has committed $100,000 grant.
  • Several other local funders have indicated they will contribute various dollar amounts, expected to be between $100,000-150,000.
  • The office of the Governor will transfer $500,000 in state-administered Community Development Block Grant funds for the Commission before December 19.

Contact Person:

Missouri Foundation for Health, Dr. Bob Hughes,, 314.345.5500 Deaconess Foundation, Rev. Starsky D. Wilson,, 314.436.8001

Media Engagement


The media response to the recent events in Ferguson presents an ongoing challenge. Outrage, misdirection, confusion and over-simplification are but a few of the messages that have come from traditional news outlets. Media played “catch-up” from the beginning of the crisis as they grappled with the complex factors that contributed to the community outrage following Michael Brown’s killing. While many major outlets were deciding if this was a relevant national story, private citizens used social media to share images and circumstances on the ground. Live streaming videos from the center of the struggle reported actions where TV cameras couldn’t reach. As conditions on the ground continue to unfold, the most active leaders need training to engage effectively with the ongoing media coverage.

In order to comprehend the role of the media in the response to the recent events in Ferguson, it is important to understand the relationship media had with Ferguson prior to Michael Brown’s shooting. Ferguson and the surrounding area in North St. Louis County is a “news desert;” the amount of journalism and media coverage devoted to the area is negligible. As recently as a decade ago, North County had its own edition of the Suburban Journal and a regular section in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dedicated to North County events. As of 2011, those resources completely disappeared, leaving no journalistic infrastructure. During times of crisis, keeping websites and communications materials current is difficult. Social media has seen both organic responses, as well as concerted efforts, such as the undeniable importance of the #Ferguson, #handsup and #dontshoot Twitter hashtags. Limited efforts to increase formal media engagement in the Ferguson area include The Huffington Post and the St. Louis Beacon partnering to support a journalist to cover Ferguson over the next 12 months. Organizations and networks like Color of Change and the #BlackLivesMatter campaign have leveraged platforms and strategies to support their work. Tools like Killed by Cops, launched by Color of Change, is an example of how media can be used to tell a larger narrative about structural problems.

The goals for addressing short and long-term media relations needs include:

  • to help refine narratives and shared demands;
  • to document and share victories;
  • to create stories that keep the spotlight on the work and mission;
  • to give voice to underrepresented community members; and
  • to develop an overarching communications strategy.

Unmet Needs:

As highlighted above, most of the organizations leading this work are small, volunteer-led institutions. Despite the effectiveness of their messaging work to date, very few organizations have the staffing, training or infrastructure to sustain this work or build proactive media strategies.

Investment Considerations:

  1. Engage a Media Consultant: On-going work with the local activism groups, potentially the Don’t Shoot Coalition and Hands Up United.
  2. Create a Citizen-Focused Media Outlet: Through funding infrastructure and up to two professionals to educate citizens and provide assistance, the community can learn to tell its story in an effective and authentic way.
  3. Build Capacity of Local News Agencies: This will enable an increase in coverage of Ferguson. Outlets like the St. Louis American can devote staff and resources to Ferguson, ensuring ongoing, quality coverage.
  4. Fund Journalists to Protect Themselves and Their Sources: This could be done as either larger grants to large news organizations or individual contracts with independent journalists.
  5. Support Research into the Role of the Media Response in the Ferguson Situation: Focus on solutions and best-practice formations.

The implementation of any of these investment considerations could range anywhere from $100,000-$250,000 per year for a period of one to four years.

Donor Activity to Date:

None reported

Contact Persons:

Deaconess Foundation, Reverend Starsky Wilson,, 314.436.8001 or Allie Chang Ray,, 314.436.8001.

Juvenile Justice System


Policies designed to refer youth to the juvenile justice system can have a profound impact on disproportionality throughout the system. Both aggregate national data and individual state data show that racial disparities increase at every stage of the juvenile justice process. When white youth and African American youth with no prior admissions to juvenile justice facilities are charged with the same offenses, African American youth were six times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth. Latino youth were three times more likely than white youth to be incarcerated.

Unmet Needs:

The Incarnate Word Foundation and other local funders have been in dialogue with local juvenile judges about how to address policies and procedures that reflect implicit bias and promulgate racial inequities in the juvenile justice system in the City of St. Louis. This effort builds upon work performed by the St. Louis Mental Health Board that has significantly reduced the amount of time youth spend in juvenile detention. This new project encompasses not only the court itself, but also the systems, (e.g. child welfare, education, law enforcement, etc.) that interact with the court. The goal is to reduce inappropriate or unnecessary referrals to the juvenile system and address disparities in the rates of referral.

System partners committed to participating include:

  • City of St. Louis Juvenile Courts
  • St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
  • St. Louis Public Schools
  • Missouri Division of Social Services
  • Voices for Children
  • Saint Louis University School of Law

As an underpinning for this work, the Haas Center for a Fair and Inclusive Society of the University California-Berkeley will be involved in training on tools to analyze institutional racialization and implicit bias and would also assist in mapping out a work plan. The outcome is to ensure that the policies and procedures are supportive of the youth in our community so that the services and interventions youth receive are fair, appropriate and grounded in best practices. This effort will initially focus on the juvenile justice system in the City of St. Louis (Phase I) and will address issues in St. Louis County (Phase II).

Additional funding is needed for the implicit bias trainings by the Haas Center ($50,000 per year for three years) and Phase II in St. Louis County ($10,000 per year for three years).

Investment Considerations:

The project has a three-year timeline. Dr. Norman White, associate professor, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, is serving as project director. The trainings for the work teams by the Haas Center will begin in January 2015. The budget for the project is $100,000 per year, totaling $300,000 for three years. Trainings on implicit bias for staff at the Juvenile Division, police department, St. Louis Public Schools, social service agencies and guardians ad litem are projected at an additional $50,000 per year and will employ a train-the-trainer model so that trainings will be given each year. Contacts with other possible local funders are in process.

Donor Activity to Date:

A collaborative of local funders has committed the $300,000 for Phase I. Those funders include:

  • Deaconess Foundation
  • Greater St. Louis Community Foundation
  • Incarnate Word Foundation
  • Missouri Foundation for Health
  • St. Louis Mental Health Board
  • Trio Foundation

Incarnate Word Foundation is funding the initial work the Haas Center will undertake to train the work teams. Greater St. Louis Community Foundation is serving as fiscal agent. Other local funders considering participation include Lutheran Foundation, Daughters of Charity Foundation and the Roblee Foundation.

Contact Person:

Incarnate Word Foundation, Bridget Flood,, 314.773.5100

Behavioral Health


Whether they experienced it first hand or watched it on television, the death of Michael Brown and the ensuing protests and police response have impacted residents of the greater St. Louis area both physically and mentally.

Most of the on-going mental health supports and those deployed in response to the Ferguson crisis are for children under age 18 and are primarily accessible through traditional social services and school-based institutions funded by the St. Louis County Children’s Services Fund. St. Louis Mental Health Board also funds mental health services.

Because current services are geared toward schools and community settings with an emphasis on “keeping the community calm,” moving forward, the focus should be on the root causes of community trauma and on systems change, e.g. the trauma-informed care model being implemented by the Department of Mental Health.

Unmet Needs:

Very few supports are available for adults. Of particular concern are the needs of leaders on the front lines who consistently call for support, outlets to relieve stress, healing centers and counseling. Local faith-based organizations are giving residents a voice and a place to be heard through listening sessions, but it is insufficient considering the level of trauma and stress.

Investment Considerations:

  • Counseling and Mental Health Services:Services for frontline leaders who continually express concerns about their mental state and the impact on their ability to thoughtfully lead and make sound decisions, especially in the near term (Immediate Need)
  • Network Capacity-Building Support: Convening and alignment activities for local agencies and community members to assure the stewardship and establishment of a trauma-informed care model led by Missouri Department of Mental Health (Long Term)
  • Training: For school personnel and parents $750,000
  • Expand the Children’s Mental Health System of Care: Better integration of behavioral and physical health using the Medical Home Model to increase access to early screenings (Long Term) $5 million
  • Training of Professional Staff: Better preparation of those in the field to address this trauma, especially who are willing to accept Medicaid
  • Funding for Mental Health Services for Young Adults: primary focus on lead organizers. The supports and care givers need to (Long Term):
    • Develop a framework around cultural competency and racial equity and an assumption of the leaders’ expertise in movement-building and strategy.
    • Advance not only trauma-informed individual interventions but community-level interventions.
    • Include funding for informal services that do not necessitate formal mental health diagnoses.
  • Systematic Change: Investment in long-term collaborative planning efforts to address three systematic issues that cause inequity

Donor Activity to Date:

  • St. Louis County Children’ s Service Fund allocated approximately $50,000-75,000 to eight funded organizations to provide presentations and counseling on an as needed basis at the request of four school districts in the Ferguson area.
  • In August, the United Way of Greater St. Louis created the Ferguson Fund to provide resources for an organized approach to address education, health, basic needs and financial stability. Through the Ferguson Fund, $125,000 has been committed for counseling services targeting individuals who fall outside of the funding provided by St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund.

Contact Person:

Missouri Foundation for Health, Maranda Witherspoon,, 314.345.5544

Economic Security


High unemployment and poverty rates among African American residents of Ferguson put them at a greater disadvantage than others in the area. Prior to the unrest, Ferguson already had a struggling economy, both a cause and effect of broader social inequality in the region. Since August 9, public and private institutions have invested in supports to individuals and businesses in the Ferguson area.

  • Through a partnership between the Regional Business Council and North County Inc., the Reinvest North County Fund has provided immediate support in the form of technical assistance and grants to small business owners impacted by the unrest.
  • Emerson, a Ferguson-headquartered Fortune 500 company, launched Ferguson Initiatives, a comprehensive education and employment program for Ferguson area residents with four focus areas: early childhood education, youth scholarships, business training and job provision.
  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced that 2,000 summer youth jobs will be provided throughout the region in summer 2015.

While these efforts are essential in the near term, the Asset Funders Network’s “Strategic Philanthropy: Creating Opportunity, Building Wealth, and Driving Community Change” outlines an approach to asset building that would enable greater access to economic security and opportunities, particularly for low-income communities and communities of color. By aligning programs, policies, institutional collaboration and communities, “a strong foundation of resources” would be built to make the community more secure, stable and hence, less vulnerable to crisis. This approach requires sustained commitment of investment and time, as well as a collaborative approach to aligning services and funding.

Investment Considerations:

  • Invest in expanded small business support and workforce development programs in Ferguson ($100,000-$500,000)
  • Expand youth job provision through STL Youth Jobs, which employs youth ages 16- 23 at local businesses for six months in addition to training in job readiness, essential skills and financial literacy, as well as pairing with a job coach throughout the program to help participants reach personal and career-focused goals ($375,000/year per 100 youth)
  • Support an asset building approach to increase access to financial services, educational resources, housing assistance and financial education for individuals and families, as well as informing public policy to make necessary policy changes to assist asset building in Ferguson and its neighboring cities (estimated at $1 million for initial planning and coordination)

Donor Activity to Date:

  • Reinvest North County Fund has invested more than $80,000 into small businesses that sustained damages.
  • Emerson has pledged 200 new jobs at a facility under construction and has invested $4+ million for youth scholarships, as well as $750,000 for STL Youth Jobs. Incarnate Word Foundation provides back office support for STL Youth Jobs. The Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation serves as the fiscal agent for STL Youth Jobs.
  • The state of Missouri, St. Louis Regional Chamber, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and a coalition of three banks have pledged up to $1 million in interest free loans for small businesses impacted by the unrest in Ferguson.

Contact Person:

United Way of Greater St. Louis, Erin Budde,, 314.539.4069



Disparities in the quality and choice of education opportunities – from early childhood education through post-secondary and vocational training – are frequently cited by both the community and service providers in Ferguson and communities throughout the region that face similar challenges.

Four K-12 public school districts serve more than 20,000 students from the Ferguson area: Ferguson-Florissant, Riverview Gardens, Jennings and the Normandy Collaborative. Two of the four are unaccredited and one is provisionally accredited. Within these districts, many students struggle with homelessness, high mobility, poverty and basic needs, providing obstacles to academic achievement.

Corporate, foundation and individual donors, as well as collaborative partnerships, are providing academic supports and basic needs services to help students reach their academic potential.

  • The Regional Business Council is working directly with districts in the Ferguson area to assess both immediate and longer-term, systemic needs and developing appropriate responses.
  • St. Louis Graduates is a collaborative network of youth-serving college access provider organizations, K-12 education, higher education and donors with a goal is to increase the proportion of low-income students in the St. Louis region who earn a postsecondary degree.
  • Two cradle to career collective impact initiatives are underway in the St. Louis region: St. Louis Ready by 21and East Side Aligned, serving St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and East St. Louis. Both initiatives are scheduled to complete master plans in 2015 that will align services and funding around a common agenda of ensuring youth are ready for a successful career.
  • With the assistance of an anonymous donor, the St. Louis Community College Foundation has created the Ferguson Scholarship at St. Louis Community College Challenge Grant. This scholarship opportunity is intended to specifically assist students who reside in the 63135 and 63136 postal codes. To ensure that this same opportunity is available for future students, the STLCC Foundation is continuing to accept donations. Contributions will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $25,000, and will provide scholarships, books and supplies for students from the Ferguson area pursuing a college degree at STLCC.

Investment Considerations:

  • The Ferguson-Florissant Fund for Education and Scholarship Fund at the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation
  • Ferguson area school district support for college prep mentoring and college visits, diversity awareness training, enrichment programs and field trips, classroom technology pilot projects, teacher STEM training, family training on financial literacy, and parent/child cultural activities. ($500,000 per district)
  • Scholarships for post-secondary education, college readiness and persistence programs ($1 million)
  • Leadership development initiative to attract, train and retain great school leaders in the north St. Louis County and City of St. Louis region ($1 million)
  • St. Louis Ready by 21and East Side Aligned to support alignment of education and other youth and family support services ($1 million – $6 million per year to support backbone coordination and service provision)

Donor Activity to Date:

  • Deaconess Foundation, St. Louis Mental Health Board, St. Louis County Children’s Services Fund, Boeing and United Way – $500,000 for St. Louis Ready by 21and East Side Aligned
  • Regional Business Council, Boeing and Emerson are consistently supporting Ferguson area districts with particular interest in leadership development
  • Emerson – $4+ million over three years for scholarships
  • The Scholarship Foundation, Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation, Deaconess Foundation and Civic Progress – $300,000 annually over four years
  • The Scholarship Foundation and the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation – creation of and maintenance of Scholarship Central, an online scholarship data base – $50,000 annually

Contact Person:

United Way, Erin Budde,, 314.539.4069 Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation, Amelia Bond,, 314.880.4970

Basic Social Services


The unrest in St. Louis that followed the shooting of Michael Brown highlighted and exacerbated existing basic needs of individuals and families. United Way’s 2-1-1 service referral system data indicates that utility and rental assistance, food and personal supplies, transportation, recreational programs for youth and the need for community-based organizations to expand their hours of operation are the most prevalent challenges.

In August, the United Way of Greater St. Louis created the Ferguson Fund to provide resources for an organized approach to address education, health, basic needs and financial stability. Through the Fund, local funders, corporations, individuals and government entities have contributed to short and long-term responses to the events in Ferguson and other impacted communities.

Funds raised have supported a week-long Drop-In Resource Center for 2,000 area residents affected by protests and unrest, as well as a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC), as well as on-going case management and referral through the 2-1-1 help line to connect eligible residents with needed services. Some funds are earmarked for emergency services and supplies, while others are designated for data-driven work to coordinate longterm direct services that respond to the physical and emotional needs of area residents.

Investment Considerations:

  • Basic Needs: Housing/rental assistance, including payment of utilities and rent, as well as other basic needs such as food, personal items, transportation, etc. would cost between $600,000-$1 million based on communities of approximately 20,000 residents.
  • Lost Income: Support for Ferguson-area employees (residents or non-residents) who lost pay or employment due to civil unrest. Estimation is 500 employees of 40+ damaged businesses would require $250,000-500,000.

Donor Activity to Date:

  • Ferguson Fund has attracted $3.5 million; $2.7 million of which is donor directed and focused around homeless prevention, counseling, education, and workforce development.

Additional donors outside of the Ferguson Fund, include but are not limited to:

  • Catholic Charities, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, The Laclede Group, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Deaconess Foundation, Feed Students Fund/St. Louis Food Bank, United Way Volunteer Center, Greater St. Louis Community Foundation

Contact Persons:

Erin Budde,, 314.539.4069

Other Activity

Emerson’s $4.4 million “Ferguson Initiatives” (

Centene establishes claims center in Ferguson (

Monsanto commits $1 million to Ferguson ( be5c-3f17d2e99bd4.html)

Regional Business Council establishes small business fund (

Greater St. Louis Community Foundation ( establishes funds

  • Ferguson-Florissant Foundation for Education – Created to make distributions to meet the educational, extracurricular and social welfare needs of the students of the Ferguson-Florissant School District.
  • Come Together Ferguson Fund – Created to support, discuss and promote racial healing and reconciliation within the community of Ferguson and among its residents through partnerships with nonprofits and the Grant Advisory Committee.
  • Live Forward Fund – Created to promote healthy and holistic community development through leadership and stakeholder support, in Ferguson and beyond, to establish equitable citizenship and civic engagement opportunities.

Trio Foundation ( supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion table through Gateway Center for Giving.