GFC Summer Field Trips

Representation of various nonprofit organizations GFC visited this summer

As previously mentioned in this space, the Grants & Foundation Center has been out in the community this summer, mixing and mingling, learning a lot, and drumming up business for the GFC. Some highlights (& related reading recommendations):

Rome Group

As noted in a prior blog post, on July 18, 2019 the Rome Group hosted its annual Philanthropic Landscape at the Sheet Metal Workers Grand Hall, with the theme “Generational Changes: Shaping Your Strategies.” After our hosts reported on national and local nonprofit trends, the keynote speaker, Melissa S. Brown, gave an overview of how different generations can work (& play) well together, how nonprofit giving and engagement approaches might differ for Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers, & how you might change up communication styles depending on who your audience is (and their median age). Brown’s presentation was then fleshed out by a panel of local nonprofit leaders who shared real-life examples of how they have tweaked their internal and external behavior to appeal to folks of different generations. The panel included:

Nicole Freber, Director of Development, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Sarah Javier, President/Executive Director, APA Adoption Center
Katie Rahn, Executive Director, Southside Early Childhood Center
Ginger Smith, President, The Bellwether Foundation
Blake Strode, Executive Director, ArchCity Defenders

To learn more about the local philanthropic landscape, visit the Grants & Foundation Center at Central Library - Candid's Foundation Directory Online and Foundation Maps databases offer a wealth of information and we would be happy to schedule a brief overview/how-to session. To help you stay up to date on the national philanthropic landscape, we subscribe to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and other industry-related periodicals - while they can't be checked out, you can read them at Central and use your library card to copy ($5 free printing or copying/month!) or scan (free!) articles that grab your interest. For information about engaging with Millennials, check out Cause for Change. We also have copies of ArchCity Defenders' Pro Se guides available in our legal materials kiosk.

Venture Café

On Thursday August 8, the GFC librarian left work a little early to make it to the weekly Venture Café meet-up, specifically to hear the program “Should I or Shouldn’t I (Start a Nonprofit)?” The standing room only crowd heard Diane Drollinger (Network for Strong Communities) and Maxine Clark (Delmar Divine) explore the pros and cons, ins and outs, and best practices related to starting a nonprofit. The session was moderated by Larry Levin, President/CEO of STL Nonprofit News. Venture Café occurs every Thursday from 3-8 p.m. at 4240 Duncan Ave and includes both an informal networking component as well as a variety of breakout sessions, one-on-one office hours, and more. Subscribe to their weekly email to learn about upcoming Venture Café topics &/or visit their Calendar of Serendipitous Collisions.

Wondering whether YOU should or shouldn’t (start a nonprofit)? Visit the GFC (we have books & other resources!), try the Gale Small Business Builder, or take the Nonprofit Startup Assessment offered by Candid on their GrantSpace website.


“Advocacy and Nonprofits” was the topic of the Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC) luncheon on August 13. Alexandra Rankin of Missouri Foundation for Health moderated a panel of two, consisting of A.J. Bockelman, Assistant Director of Empower Missouri and Trina Ragin, Director of Policy and Innovation for Operation Food Search. Alexandra, A.J., and Trina discussed the many forms that advocacy can take, including testifying before a legislative or regulatory body, writing op-eds, disseminating your organization’s message and mission via social media, site visits for stakeholders and interested parties, penning white papers, and much much more. The panel highlighted the importance of coalition groups who can echo and magnify one another’s messages.

FDO and Foundation Maps can be helpful in identifying like-minded nonprofits and building your coalition group. Recommended reading includes Nonprofits and Advocacy and Social Change Anytime Everywhere.

Fall GFC Programs

Click below to learn more about and/or to register for our upcoming programs:

Grant Writing 101 - Saturday Sept. 28.

Grant Management Basics - Thursday Oct. 3.

Legal Issues for Nonprofit Board Members - Thursday Nov. 14.

Hope to see you soon!

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