Partnering for Greater Impact

Annual Report 2022

Photo: A Junior Girl Scout explores her world. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri received a multi-year gift from an anonymous fundholder at YouthBridge.

Our mission at YouthBridge Community Foundation is to partner with donors to help charities in the St. Louis region, especially those focused on children, through leadership, grants and donor services.

Message from Our CEO

Dear Friends,

Working in collaboration has the potential to create bigger impact in transforming lives and communities. YouthBridge is partnership. Even our name signifies “bringing together,” and we value the many partnerships we have established with donors, advisors, and nonprofits.

Our partnerships can take the form of grants, endowment funds, charitable funds, strategic planning for social impact, impact investing and more. No matter the structure, we make it a point to make each of our partnerships personal and individualized—because charitable giving and the work of nonprofits is personal to the people committed to them.

In this year’s Annual Report, you will get a brief glimpse of some of our most impactful partnerships during the year. In their own unique way, these partnerships can change lives and build stronger communities. That’s powerful.
I invite you to reach out to our team anytime with questions, comments, or ideas for collaboration.

Barbara Carswell, Chief Executive Officer

YouthBridge By the Numbers

$12,682,779Total value of grants awarded in 202294%Percentage of grant dollars that stayed in the St. Louis region in 2022
$50,819,925Total value YouthBridge has invested in the community through grants and programs since 2005$99,338,345Assets under administration (Includes charitable administration of private foundations)

YouthBridge Offers:
Charitable Funds • Private Foundation Administration • Philanthropy for Businesses • Professional Advisor Partnerships • Endowment Building • Grants and Assistance • Charitable Giving Cards

Photo: College Bound, supported by a Donor-Advised Fund upon advice from YouthBridge staff, helps students from low-income backgrounds prepare for college and continues to assist them through graduation with a variety of guidance and support.

Photo: “Drawn In” cast signing autographs. Drawn In, a comic book series linked to animated videos and other digital content, is based on four fictional Midwestern kids (voiced by local talent) who must use problem-solving and literacy skills to “save the day” in each adventure.

YouthBridge provides donors the opportunity to establish a fund at a local community foundation, using 100% of the fees for grants into the community. YouthBridge awarded Nine PBS a $75,000 Think Big for Kids grant to support its Drawn In initiative.

“We are hoping to impact literacy numbers by drawing in kids through positive stories that represent them and spark a greater interest in reading. It shouldn’t matter your zip code; all kids deserve to thrive.”
– Angela Carr, Nine PBS

YouthBridge believes that change happens when we have the courage to be bold and supports big ideas for solving ongoing problems in our community. The persistent reading proficiency gap for Black and brown children led Nine PBS to pioneer one of the nation’s first kids’ initiatives, targeting kids 6 to 8 years old, to feature African Americans as lead characters in public media.

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YouthBridge provides advice and recommendations to fundholders regarding community needs and nonprofit organizations. Our private foundation client, the Wayne C. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation, provided funding for Wings of Hope’s SOAR Into STEM Program.

“A significant effort is made to reach females and students of color, offering equitable access to STEM curriculum and exposure to an aviation industry that is going to need an estimated 2.5 million new workers to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.”
– Amy Buehler, Wings of Hope

YouthBridge has provided guidance and administration for the Kaufmann family foundation since 2015, which benefits organizations providing educational, health related, and economic empowerment services. Our desire is that families and private foundations enjoy their giving while YouthBridge provides the community expertise and grant management.

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The Wings of Hope SOAR Into STEM Program fully immerses students in the field of aviation, with hands-on learning alongside pilots, mechanics and aeronautical engineers.
Photo: A peaceful moment of fishing at the lake. Sherwood Forest, a residential summer camp, offers an environment of acceptance, support, self-discovery, and learning. Over 80% of the kids Sherwood Forest serves come from families living at or below the poverty line.

YouthBridge provides additional grants to nonprofit organizations that our fundholders support or those initiatives that other grantmakers bring to our attention, such as Sherwood Forest, who was recently awarded a multi-year Heritage Grant.

“I’m especially excited for the core capacity assessment part of the grant, which will enable us to highlight the areas where we can generate revenue and build capacity, so that we can continue to serve more kids.”
– Kendra Copanas, Generate Health

YouthBridge is an advocate and active partner of both established and start-up nonprofits, understanding they all can struggle with support for operational needs and the flexibility to be innovative. For 85 years, Sherwood Forest has offered a residential summer camp for kids and continues to evolve programming for the current needs of kids and work to expand so that more kids can grow and develop with the camps every year.

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YouthBridge identifies projects and leads efforts to get additional financial support from other grantmakers or fundholders. We are providing funding and opening doors to additional funders for the Kids Win Missouri coalition.

“What happens early in life truly lasts a lifetime, yet the U.S. ranks last in Pre-K per child spending. We’re trying to bridge this gap and make early child care a priority.”
– Brian Schmidt, Kids Win Missouri

We are a champion of children, knowing the success of a community depends on the health, education, safety and development of all of its children. Since 2013, Kids Win Missouri has helped advance policies and solutions to improve access and the quality of early childhood programs, which research shows can significantly impact college attendance, success in employment and health outcomes.

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Photo: In September, members of Kids Win Missouri, including parents, caregivers and providers, convened in Jefferson City to meet with and educate legislators on the intricacies of early childhood issues.
Photo: As one of the nation’s largest small business microlenders, Justine Petersen provides access to safe and affordable capital for both start-ups and expanding businesses, with an emphasis on minority and women entrepreneurs.

YouthBridge made a second round of investment in Justine Petersen, as part of our ongoing commitment to invest more of our endowment in projects that strengthen the St. Louis community. For this round, we identified a co-investor among our donor-advised fundholders.

“I thought it was a creative and impactful idea; as a donor, it’s an opportunity to do more than just write a check but to simultaneously address unmet needs while also realizing income for my fund.”
– Nina Needleman, Needleman Charitable Fund

YouthBridge has supported impact projects in the St. Louis area for nearly two decades. By investing in local Community Development Financial Institutions, such as Justine Petersen, we are able to generate measurable social impact alongside a financial return, which will eventually also go back into the community. It’s an idea that has resonated with our fundholders as well.

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YouthBridge partners with nonprofits to build and strengthen their endowments. Perpetual growth has been a necessity for the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Northeastern Missouri to keep pace with reports of child abuse.

“Anything that takes away from direct services, including fundraising, is burning up precious hours. We are so grateful that YouthBridge is knowledgeable about everything it takes for a nonprofit to be successful and will spend personal time with us helping to assess our ability to sustain and grow operations.”
– Amy Robins, Forensic Services Program Director for CAC, Northeast Missouri

CAC serves child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and children who witness violence in the 14 counties of Northeastern Missouri, uncovering specific information and details from children that may be used in criminal proceedings and ensuring that children disclosing abuse are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.

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Photo: The CAC has been intentional in creating a warm, non-threatening space where children feel safe to open up.

YouthBridge Community Grant Programs


To honor our mission of partnering with donors around sustainability of nonprofits, YouthBridge provides grants to child or youth serving organizations that are regularly supported by our fundholders.

Think Big for Kids

The Think Big for Kids Fund provides grants designed to stimulate innovative thinking and fund big ideas from nonprofits that serve children and youth in our community.

Partnerships and Mergers

YouthBridge Community Foundation has developed this grant program to assist nonprofits who are looking to, or have already found, ways to partner or merge with other nonprofits.

Capacity Building

YouthBridge has developed this grant program to assist nonprofits in building, strengthening and sustaining their organizations.


YEP STL! is a group of teenagers in the St. Louis area, with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We are passionate about helping St. Louis children and youth. We do this by reviewing applications for grant money and evaluating where we think the money will be best spent.

Youth Entrepreneurship

The Youth Entrepreneurship Grant is designed to support youth entrepreneurship programs in the greater St. Louis Area.

Photo: With like-minded visions, The Wayne C. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation and The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Saint Louis work together to build an inclusive community where all people with Down syndrome can achieve their full potential.