Connecting Today,
Impacting Tomorrow

Annual Report 2023

Photo: Ready Readers connects children with the limitless possibilities of literacy and prepares them to become lifelong learners. Shared goals have allowed The Wayne C. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation, administered by YouthBridge, to be a long-time partner with Ready Readers.

YouthBridge Community Foundation of Greater St. Louis partners with donors to help charities in the St. Louis region, especially those focused on children, through leadership, grants, and donor services.

Photo: Barbara Carswell, CEO

Message from Our CEO

Dear Friends,

The mission of YouthBridge Community Foundation of Greater St. Louis is fueled by our diverse community of fundholders and supporters, inclusive of individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit agencies, and advisors, who are deeply connected to local causes and understand what it means to support “home.”

As a Community Foundation, YouthBridge has the capacity to mobilize community resources in powerful ways. Community members like you contribute to, through, and with YouthBridge, leveraging structures like grants, endowments and other charitable funds, strategic planning, impact investing, and beyond. Regardless of the structure, our top priority is ensuring that each partnership is tailored to the unique needs and goals of our partners, all for the benefit of children, youth, and families across the bi-state region.

At our core, YouthBridge aims to connect resources with community needs, fostering alliances for an empowered St. Louis Metro Area. Our mission is reflected in our 2023 Annual Report theme, Connecting Today, Impacting Tomorrow, and is evidenced by the impactful partnerships featured, which all emerged from simple connecting conversations.

I invite you to connect with our team to share questions, thoughts, and ideas for collaboration. Who knows the impact that a simple conversation today might have tomorrow?

Barbara Carswell, Chief Executive Officer

YouthBridge By the Numbers

302Nonprofit agencies awarded grants in the St. Louis Metro Area$12,353,126Total value of grants awarded in 202394.8%Percentage of grant dollars that stayed in the St. Louis region
78St. Louis Metro Area zip codes reached$63,172,051Total value YouthBridge has contributed to the community since 2005$100,648,792In Assets
100%*Percentage of fund fees that are redistributed into the community
*YouthBridge is fortunate to operate off of its own endowment, allowing every single dollar collected from fundholders’ “administrative fees” to be used for discretionary grantmaking.


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

Photo: A young Saint Louis Story Stitchers artist poses on the roof of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation building during a youth-led marketing photo session. Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a nationally recognized Artists Collective known for high quality art and innovative youth violence prevention programs.

Connecting…to Support Innovation

YouthBridge connects donors to exciting community initiatives, leveraging 100% of fund fees to make grants in the community. YouthBridge awarded Saint Louis Story Stitchers a $121,798 Think Big for Kids grant to create a public service announcement campaign about mental health using art. The campaign, which is youth-led and youth-directed, connects Black youth, professional artists, and media producers as they create traditional art as well as songs and poetry to reduce mental health stigma.

“Our relationship with YouthBridge can be summed up as ‘nourishing.’ Among other things, working on the project has taught us that we need to practice self-care as well as talk about it.”
– Susan Colangelo, President and Executive Director, Saint Louis Story Stitchers

Using non-traditional messaging designed by youth to appeal to their peers is only one example of the fresh ideas fueled by the Think Big for Kids grants, which are designed to stimulate innovative thinking and fund big ideas.

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in Think Big for Kids Grant funding awarded to 15 agencies since 2017


awarded to Saint Louis Story Stitchers


youth reached by the Saint Louis Story Stitchers campaign

Connecting…to Inspire Youth Entrepreneurship

YouthBridge amplifies its own mission by helping to increase the impact of our youth-focused partners. Regarding the goal of uplifting youth entrepreneurship, YouthBridge enjoys strong partnerships with the local civic group, Progress 64 West, and with an anonymous fundholder whose passion is “to support the entrepreneurial spirit of youth in the greater St. Louis Community.”

“Working with YouthBridge achieves our goal of facilitating connections that already exist, allowing Progress 64 West to focus on expanding our reach and deepening our impact.”
– Mike Doster, Progress 64 West Committee Member

Through the administration of the Progress 64 Entrepreneurial Scholarship Fund (which doubled in value as a result of our partnership) and by managing the Youth Entrepreneurship Grant program, which has awarded organizations like the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), YouthBridge avails more resources for young people to pursue their educational and entrepreneurial dreams.

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Photo: Four high school seniors from St. Louis City and St. Louis County schools each received a $5,000 college scholarship for their winning business plans. The scholarships were the largest to date presented by Progress 64 West.

in Youth Entrepreneurship support contributed since 2022


Youth Entrepreneurship Grant awarded to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship


in total Progress 64 Entrepreneurial Scholarships awarded to 4 high school seniors

Photo: Children and staff at the Guardian Angel Early Childhood Development Center celebrate the grand opening of their new Believe Projects Preschool Literacy Lab. GCC grant funds allowed Literacy Labs to open at three centers, providing access to 1,000+ books by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous authors.

Connecting…to Impact Early Childhood Education

YouthBridge welcomes community collaborations to strengthen its grantmaking impact. In 2023 we partnered with Gateway Children’s Charity (GCC), a YouthBridge fundholder, to avail capacity building and expansion grants to early childhood programs in underserved St. Louis communities. YouthBridge provided Gateway Children’s Charity with operations infrastructure and grants management support, allowing the charity to focus on what it does best – raising funds to bolster early childhood programs.

“The funding made it possible for The Believe Preschool 3 Literacy Lab to come to Good Shepherd Early Learning Center. We are committed to ensuring children enter kindergarten prepared both academically and emotionally. Use of this space gets us one step closer to closing the achievement gap by offering literacy activities.”
– Cortaiga S. Collins, Executive Director, Foundation for Strengthening Families

By providing and facilitating grant opportunities aimed at quality improvement initiatives within centers serving children from birth to 5, YouthBridge is helping to lay a strong foundation for our region’s youngest citizens.

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in total Gateway Children’s Charity Grant funds distributed

5 early childhood centers awarded:

FamilyForward • Foundation for Strengthening Families • Guardian Angel Settlement Association • Our Little Haven • Urban Sprouts Child Development Center


Children impacted across the region

Connecting…to Grow Capacity

YouthBridge knows that strong youth-serving agencies, in partnership with families and other stakeholders, help to grow a community of strong youth. Before receiving a Capacity Building Grant from YouthBridge, Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of St. Louis (GSGBC) was already an effective and collaborative partner, successfully serving children and their families in the St. Louis region. The grant helped the agency become even more effective.

“The capacity building grant from YouthBridge allowed us to revise our website, targeting communication for attendees of GSGBC, and ultimately serving and impacting more families and youth.”
– Justess Viehman, Communications & Development Manager, Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of St. Louis

YouthBridge supports grantees by connecting them to a variety of resources related to their needs, which are often rooted in lack of capacity. Thought partnership is an important aspect of the ongoing relationship, before, during, and after an award is granted.

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Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club

in total capacity building grants awarded to 31 agencies since 2021

9 agencies awarded:

Flance Early Learning Center • Foundation for Strengthening Families • Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of St. Louis • Hope Creates • IFM Community Medicine • Ready Readers • The Core Collective at St. Vincent • One Classroom • Our Ladies Inn


in capacity grant funds distributed in 2023

Photo: Malcolm Nyatanga owns a trucking business that has grown significantly thanks to affordable financing from St. Louis Community Credit Union. Successful businesses strengthen our economy, ultimately improving conditions and life for our community’s families.

Connecting…to Strengthen Our Community

YouthBridge is committed to investing in impact projects, pooling the resources of fundholders to strengthen the St. Louis region. Our direct investment with St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU), the only Black-owned community development financial institution in the St. Louis region, resulted from working together with the Community Development Funders Forum. Utilizing the Community Impact Deposit program, both entities found a pathway to achieve their overlapping missions and expand opportunities for low-income borrowers.

“YouthBridge’s deposit is filling the gap for specific nonprofits that need additional borrowing capacity to complete affordable housing projects.”
– Paul Woodruff, VP of Community Development, SLCCU

SLCCU leverages significant deposits, held on behalf of YouthBridge, to capitalize affordable auto and emergency loans for consumers who might not otherwise have access to credit. YouthBridge also utilizes the credit union’s small business lending systems to connect their investment capital to small businesses and nonprofits that need additional loan dollars to achieve their goals.

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in total impact investments made in St. Louis. Additional partners include IFF and Justine Petersen


invested at St. Louis Community Credit Union


businesses have more access to loans for business development needs like hiring new staff

Connecting…Across Missouri

YouthBridge supports initiatives that impact children, youth, and families throughout the St. Louis Metro Area, but by connecting with aligned institutions, the benefit of our collaborative work reverberates throughout Missouri. YouthBridge partnered with the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund (CTF), to administer their grants program focused on facilities and infrastructure funding for child abuse prevention organizations in our region.

“Preventing child abuse is hard but can be life changing as well as lifesaving. The partnership we have with YouthBridge makes our impact and mission possible.”
– Emily Van Schenkhof, Executive Director, Children’s Trust Fund of Missouri

As Missouri’s foundation for child abuse prevention, CTF prioritizes funding agencies throughout the state that focus on strengthening families and preventing child maltreatment. YouthBridge is proud to leverage its grants administration expertise to be a part of this important statewide initiative.

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Photo: Youth In Need’s commitment to involving families and the community in facilitating a learning environment that enhances developmental skills for children made it an exemplary candidate for the CTF Child Abuse and Neglect Facility and Infrastructure Grant opportunity.

in total CTF grant funds distributed

8 agencies awarded:

Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis • Every Child’s Hope • FamilyForward • Good Shepherd Children and Family Services • Marygrove • The Child Advocacy Center of NEMO • The Core Collective at St. Vincent • Youth In Need


children and families impacted

YouthBridge Discretionary Grants

Thanks to the generosity of our fundholders and our ability to repurpose 100% of fees collected from funds, YouthBridge is able to offer these community grant programs:

Capacity Building

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

Endowment Building

YouthBridge provides matching grants for nonprofit Endowment Funds to encourage organizations to build long-term sustainability.


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.

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.

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.


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.

Photo: Flance Early Learning Center students tend to their garden. Flance is a community hub driven by the philosophy that every child, regardless of their socioeconomic or geographic situation, deserves a quality start in life.