Restore Orphan Fund Meets at YouthBridge Offices

Only in the world of YouthBridge Community Foundation would it seem commonplace to host a board meeting for an organization whose members live across the country – and who have never met in person! Restore Orphan Fund (ROF) members recently took advantage of YouthBridge’s invitation to visit St. Louis to meet each other and meet the YouthBridge staff, while bringing a little joy to the lives of area children living in foster care.

When Elizabeth Bailes, who resides in Arizona, decided to form a nonprofit agency for children in alternative care, she was surprised by how strongly she felt led to establish the organization in Missouri. She took heed of the call and in 2018, Restore Orphan Fund was born. She enlisted board members from among friends who had a similar heart, including one, it turns out, whose grandfather lived in an orphanage and was adopted in St. Louis. Although ROF board members now live in five different states, four are native Missourians and have deep roots in the St. Louis area. While each member knew Elizabeth, they were not all connected to each other.

Within a couple years of its formation, ROF decided to establish an endowment, so the team, led by Susanne Smit and Ann Babcock, began researching institutions and praying for direction. “We were looking for a stable partner with common goals, integrity, a long-term focus, visibility and strong networking with other donors and nonprofits,” Elizabeth explained. As they researched YouthBridge Community Foundation of Greater St. Louis, they immediately felt their prayers were answered. The Restore Orphan Fund endowment fund was established in 2021 and YouthBridge began connecting ROF to St. Louis nonprofits with common interests.

Partnering with other organizations, Restore Orphan Fund uses its donations in four main ways: financial assistance for adoption, direct contributions to orphanages, education for prospective foster and adoptive parents (through St. Louis-based One Heart Family Ministries), and health care (through Christian Family Services in St. Louis). The Fund’s desire is for each child who is served to feel comforted, supported, and surrounded by people who truly care about their personal stories.

While in St. Louis in October, ROF co-hosted “Fall Fest” with One Heart Family Ministries, an organization introduced to them by YouthBridge. According to Elizabeth, “We were excited about this visit on many levels. It was a joy for our board to finally meet each other in person and to meet our YouthBridge friends. We were overwhelmed by their generosity – they provided lunch and even offered their offices for us to use to prepare goodie bags for the foster children who would be attending the Fall Fest!” She concluded by saying that Restore Orphan Fund appreciates that YouthBridge “encourages us to aspire and reach high and applauds us for doing so.” YouthBridge Community Foundation is proud to include such an inspirational group as Restore Orphan Fund among its fundholders, shining a light on the value brought to our community when philanthropic partnerships are so well-aligned.

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.