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Deaconess Foundation to award $100,000 to policy initiatives that help families

The Deaconess Foundation Center for Child Well-Being on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in Grand Center
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Deaconess Foundation Center for Child Well-Being in the Grand Center area of St. Louis. The Deaconess Foundation will distribute up $100,000 in grants to grassroots campaigns and public policy efforts aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of families.

The Deaconess Foundation will distribute up to $100,00 in grants to grassroots campaigns and public policy efforts aimed at changing public policy to better support families.

Deaconess leaders will consider a wide variety of issues affecting local communities including healthcare access, mental health care, education, environmental justice and systemic racism, said Bethany Johnson-Javois, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation.

“This opportunity is one of many that we're hoping to unfold that our community can take advantage of to make sure that democracy is headed in the direction of the people,” Johnson-Javois said.

Deaconess will accept applications through March 13 to qualify for the grants. Organizations can receive between $50,000 and $100,000. The funding will support an organization or campaign’s functional support.

Johnson-Javois said the foundation is open to a variety of different grant proposals and will award the funds based on a community’s needs. The foundation awarded $100,000 to Action St. Louis and Missouri Jobs with Justice in 2019 to mobilize voters to support Medicaid expansion. The latest round of grants are part of its plans to support more partnerships.

“Although a little bit novel, it works,” Johnson-Javois said.

The foundation will accept applications from organizations and campaigns in Missouri and Southern Illinois. Johnson-Javois said while each state has different policies, residents on both sides of the river face the same issues such as climate change and reproductive health.

“Right now we've got infant mortality rates, and we have reproductive justice issues that are very prominent and prevalent on both sides of the river that we often need to attend to,”

Johnson-Javois said. “ All of these things are common themes that I hear all the time.”

Another round of grants will be offered in early 2024. Johnson-Javois hopes such efforts could build more grassroots advocacy and convince people to vote in the next election cycles while also building coalitions of people beyond an election cycle.

“We really want to see that these types of approaches are energizing people at the neighborhood level, right that people begin to see themselves as actors and shapers in their own fate,” Johnson-Javois said.

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.