Deaconess Center Talking Points and Frequently Asked Questions


Established by Deaconess Foundation, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is a community action tank. Our mission is to build power to advance child well-being in the St. Louis region by strengthening alliances for child-friendly public policy, increasing citizen contact with policy makers, positioning youth and organizers to move systems and engaging faith communities in child advocacy.

Deaconess Foundation envisions a community that values the health and well-being of all children and gives priority attention to the most vulnerable. This community can only thrive if the allocation of power and distribution of resources, benefits, opportunities and burdens are not predictable by, nor predicated on race. Therefore, Deaconess pursues child well-being through public policy and racial equity.



Deaconess Center is expected to host more than 6,000 child advocates, civic leaders and community organizers per year in more than 350 gatherings focused on children's policy. Meeting space will be granted at no cost to groups and convenings focused on shifting public policy for children aligned with Deaconess’ vision and values.

The 21,000 square foot facility will house offices for Deaconess Foundation and long-term missional partners, Vision for Children at Risk and Neighborhood Houses. Diverse, flexible meeting rooms, classrooms and community spaces will host up to 125 people in the largest setting. Space may also be leased for events aligned with the Foundation’s values.



Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is located at 1000 North Vandeventer, St. Louis, MO 63108.

Due North of the St. Louis City Family Courts and Juvenile Justice Center, Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is situated as a physical critique of the ways the region has chosen to engage challenges related to children and youth. The Center encourages collaborative, systems-focused civic engagement for youth flourishing over isolated, program-oriented interventions or punitive approaches.

Erected on a previously vacant lot, the building project significantly enhances community development. Deaconess Center aligns with the North Central Plan, a neighborhood-driven development initiative, and is planted within in the St. Louis Promise Zone, Grand Center Arts District and historic Vandeventer neighborhood.



Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, Inc. is a nonprofit, qualified active low-income community business with a three-member Board of Directors. Current directors are attorney Cheryl D.S. Walker, Esq. – Of Counsel, Riley, Safer, Holmes and Cancila, president; child advocate and former President/CEO of Parents as Teachers,  Dr. Susan Stepleton, vice president; and Deaconess Foundation chief executive, Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, secretary.



The $8.8 million building project was self-funded by Deaconess Foundation and participation in the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program with allocations from the St. Louis Development Corporation and Capital One. The NMTC Program was established as a component of the federal Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 to stimulate revitalization in communities nationwide.


community benefit

During construction, all contractors paid prevailing wage with at least 35% of the contractors being minority business enterprises and 15% being women business enterprises. Upon completion, forty to fifty people will work at Deaconess Center, relocating from offices in downtown St. Louis and the Jeff VanderLou neighborhood.



Deaconess Foundation broke ground September 2016.

In January 2018, Deaconess Foundation and Vision for Children at Risk relocate to Deaconess Center.

Standing meetings for Deaconess Foundation, Vision for Children at Risk, Project LAUNCH, St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership and Generate Health (Perinatal Behavioral Health Group) will transition to the space.

The building will be consecrated in partnership with the United Church of Christ Council for Health and Human Service Ministries March 1, 2018.

Requests for use of space for Community Events and Meetings will be accepted beginning March 15, 2018.

Deaconess Center will host a Community Opening Event on April 19, 2018.

On May 1, 2018 Community Events begin in Deaconess Center.

In July 2018, Neighborhood Houses will relocate to Deaconess Center.


Deaconess foundation

A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess Foundation has invested more than $80 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998 and believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region. The Foundation’s grantmaking footprint includes St. Louis City, St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin Counties in Missouri and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois.