YouthBridge’s Laser Focus on Mission Stands Apart, Says Board Director Bower

For YouthBridge Board Director Ken Bower, the community foundation with an interesting 140-year-old history is an easy sell. As a Managing Director of Clayton Financial Group, part of Bower’s responsibility to clients is to advise them on philanthropy planning and giving meaningfully, and YouthBridge checks all the boxes, he says. Flexible. Accommodating. Cost competitive. “These each rank high on the list, but what primarily separates YouthBridge from other community foundations is its laser focus on the mission,” says Bower. “For my clients that want to have a lasting impact here – in St. Louis – and on the lives of our children, YouthBridge can help create a legacy. There’s no dilution; their dollars are put to work toward this mission, and very effectively, I would add.”
Moreover, YouthBridge takes the time to know each donor personally with a hands-on approach, says Bower. When a longtime client was looking to make a sizeable charitable contribution, but was not receiving a return phone call from a local nonprofit, Bower asked her to give him until midday to help her make arrangements. “YouthBridge responded immediately and we were able to complete a stock transfer quickly, helping her make a difference for the long-term. She even had the opportunity to visit YouthBridge recently and learn first-hand where her contributions are going.”

Bower says he is open with clients about his personal involvement with YouthBridge. “’Full disclosure: I am a Board member,’ I will tell them, but I would not/could not advocate for them if I weren’t a complete believer.” Bower accepted an invitation to join the Board around 2016, only after doing his research. “I was fully impressed and even more so today after spending time with the organizations that are benefiting.” He and his fellow Board members make regular on-site visits to local charities supported by YouthBridge. One in particular stands out to Bower, as it’s a location he’s driven by many times with little notice.

The FamilyForward Children’s Home on Litzsinger provides long-term residential care for children with developmental disabilities. “It was such a happy, encouraging environment for these children, where they are really cared for, loved and finding their potential,” says Bower. “Whether it’s $100 or $100,000, our donor contributions are transforming lives.”