Aligning Community Investment with Donor Passion

The Heritage Fund honors YouthBridge’s heritage as a children’s home with grants awarded to nonprofits that provide children the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through unrestricted, multi-year funds – totaling $75,000 – the grant supports each organization’s capacity building efforts. Two recipients are selected each year from among the top 10 children-serving organizations backed by YouthBridge donor advised fund clients.
“YouthBridge’s mission is about partnering with generous donors in supporting the sustainability of nonprofit organizations in our community. We are aligning with the hearts of our donor clients by investing in nonprofits they believe in,” says Barbara Carswell, YouthBridge Vice President. The field of 10 is narrowed down to four – based on their strength of leadership, financial health and focus on growth, says Carswell – that are invited to apply for the grant. The final step for applicants is presenting their story to a selection panel.

“I was so thankful to be able to share our passion in person, and then to find out that night we were selected…it was all very exciting, and the process well done,” says DiAnne Mueller, CEO of Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, a 2019 Heritage grant recipient. “YouthBridge has been a true partner to us through ongoing dialogue and guidance, and this is another vote of confidence.”

“The only reason that City Academy exists is because the St. Louis community thinks we should,” says Steffani Lautenschlager, Chief Development Officer at City Academy, the second Heritage grantee of 2019. Located in St. Louis’ Penrose neighborhood, City Academy is the only private, independent elementary school in the state offering scholarship support to 100% of its students. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Lautenschlager says the grant “came at exactly the right time, as we look to where we want to be over the next few years and how to get there.”

Carswell attests that timing was another key factor in choosing the recipients. “Both organizations were heading into a strategic planning period and open to our recommendations for managing continued growth,” she says. “The expectation is that they will earmark these funds to initiatives that expand their capacity to serve more, innovate and effect change.”