Love Takes Many Forms

February is sometimes called the month of love, and YouthBridge Community Foundation of Greater St. Louis is joining in the celebration. Rather than honor Cupid, we are focused on the love that comes from the Ancient Greek word philanthropia, the root word of philanthropy.

Philanthropy is the driving force that propels YouthBridge. Thanks to our generous fundholders and donors, in 2023 YouthBridge facilitated nearly $12.5M in grant and scholarship funding to over 500 nonprofit agencies in the St. Louis metro area and beyond.

YouthBridge expresses gratitude to our friends and fundholders often, but we thought it fitting this month to explore the reasons for their generosity. We asked several why they practice philanthropy and what it means to them. The responses followed a few recurrent themes.

To some YouthBridge donors, their generosity springs from a sense that their own blessings should be shared. The idea of “paying it forward” may have been instilled in them from their youth or it may be tied to their faith. The satisfaction they receive simply from hearing that they have made a difference in a life is worth any sacrifice. According to Dan Shasserre, YouthBridge Board Member and CEO of Shasserre Consulting Group, “Every opportunity to give time or money returns far more satisfaction than my gift.”

Others relate that their motive is making a difference in the future of the community. Sharon Huber, Owner/Publisher Emeritus at West and Mid Rivers Newsmagazines and Director with Progress 64 West, specifically mentioned the applicants of the Progress 64 Entrepreneurial Scholarship Fund: “We have a brighter future because of kids like these! They are not just getting by in school, they are going beyond their required education because they want more for themselves.”

Collaboration was another theme in survey responses. Civic and Community Volunteer and YouthBridge donor Gregory Glore wrote that his definition of philanthropy involves a long-term investment in collaborating with others to solve problems. Issues around early childhood education, health care, art, and social justice are especially close to his heart, as are Black-led or Black-serving agencies. Although February is also Black History Month, Gregory exhibits love for his community all year long through involvement in various initiatives that promote and help sustain organizations serving marginalized populations. “Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated by all groups, but I am most moved by those organizations for whom my gift can make a real difference. The path that I follow will be the one where I think I can be most effective.”

Knowing the generous hearts of our fundholders and donors, we were not surprised by their responses. After distilling the varied responses, we found that philanthropy can be boiled down to one motive – love for humanity. What better time to celebrate philanthropy than in the month of love?

YouthBridge connects donors with community needs. If you are interested in learning more about how we can make charitable giving easier for you, please contact Michele Mosley.