Anchor Institutions

Deaconess Foundation endeavors to work in partnership with its grantees to influence and create the conditions for well-being for all children in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Building upon on our long history of providing capacity building support, we now shift our focus from strengthening institutions to strengthening community capacity through systems change, policy development and advocacy.

Anchor Institution Grants will provide four-year, general operating support to a cohort of organizations chosen to advance policy and advocacy work in alignment with the Foundation’s efforts.  A total of five grants will be awarded to organizations in Deaconess policy priority areas.

  • Grantees will demonstrate readiness and willingness to partner with Deaconess Foundation to enhance individual and group leadership and increase organizational impact to advance policy priorities.
  • Grantees will engage in professional development and peer learning opportunities, executive coaching, an Executive Directors retreat, and ongoing learning and assessment.

Competitive applicants will possess:

  1. visionary leadership and exemplary policy, advocacy, or organizing expertise,

  2. a history of commitment to racial equity and Deaconess policy priorities, and

  3. an interest in enhancing their organization’s ability to authentically engage others, leverage broader environmental assets, and build skills needed to advance their advocacy- or policy-related efforts. 


We expect efforts supported through Anchor Institutions to pursue the result of policy shifts aligned with Deaconess Foundation’s policy priorities:

Early Childhood Education Justice and Equity
for Youth
Family Economic Mobility Comprehensive Health Care
All children of the St. Louis region should enjoy full access to quality child care and education from birth to pre-kindergarten. All children of the St. Louis region should receive  just treatment under the law. All families of the St. Louis region should achieve economic stability within one generation. All children of the St. Louis region should have universal access to comprehensive mental, physical and dental care.


Anchor institution grant Application Process

Anchor Institution Grants will be awarded through a highly competitive, multi-phased process. The first of these is the submission of the Phase One application by June 1, 2017, concluding with announcement of awards in November 2017. Decision points throughout the process will determine how your application proceeds including submission of the Phase One application, review by staff, and the Phase Two submission and review phase. The anticipated timeline and process are detailed below and in these documents:

Download Anchor Institution Program Description (pdf)

Download Anchor Institution Decision-Making Process and Timeline (pdf)

Download Anchor Institution Phase 1 Application (pdf)
Note: This application works best when downloaded and opened with Adobe Acrobat, although it may work in some browsers.

Download Anchor Institution Phase 2 Application (pdf)
Note: This application works best when downloaded and opened with Adobe Acrobat, although it may work in some browsers.



June 1, 2017: Phase One Application Due
July 2017: Selection of Applicants for Phase Two and Notification of Status
August 25, 2017: Organizational Assessments Due
August 28, 2017: Phase Two Application Due
September–October 2017: Phase Two Finalist Site Visits
December 2017: Anchor Institutions Announced
January 2018: Anchor Institution Retreat

Anchor Institution Grant applicants can anticipate the following process: 

Phase One Grant Application Submission: Deaconess will accept Phase One applications through June 1, 2017 and review them as they are received. All applicants submitting a Phase One application will be contacted via email and phone for additional follow-up after they are reviewed. Staff may request additional information if necessary and provide feedback to refine the scope of your proposal for your Phase Two Application. Applicants not selected to submit Phase Two applications will be notified in July and provided with an opportunity to discuss their application. 

Phase Two Grant Application Invitation: In July, Deaconess will invite applicants to submit a Phase Two Application in August 2017 to explore partnership and demonstrate: 

  • Alignment with Deaconess Theory of Change and Policy Priorities
  • Technical Advocacy Capacity and Opportunities for Enhancement 
  • Expected Results and Impact on Child Well-Being

Site Visits: Two rounds of site visits will be conducted, with members of the applicants’ key staff, board members, and partners and Deaconess staff and consultants, and the Deaconess CEO and Board members respectively, to better understand the depth and nature of the applicant organization’s leadership and vision, efforts to apply a racial equity lens, commitment to authentically engaging with and amplifying the voice of affected communities and partners, and impact on child well-being.

Other Expectations/Considerations: Through partnership as an Anchor Institution, Deaconess expects organizations to possess and enhance critical leadership, adaptive, management and technical advocacy capacities. As part of the Anchor learning community, grantees will be provided with opportunities for learning, relationship building, reflection and planning with peer organizations to advance our collective child well-being priorities. Beyond funding, grantees will be expected to partner with Deaconess Foundation and the cohort of Anchor grantee organizations to engage in executive coaching, professional development, technical assistance, peer learning and networking activities, an annual Executive Director’s retreat, and ongoing learning, assessment and evaluation. 

As part of the Phase Two Application and annual reporting, partner organizations will be required to participate in evaluation activities including completion of a formal assessment to understand their readiness to advance the specific type of advocacy-related or policy change on which they are focused (e.g. tactical and strategic communications, leadership and decision-making, policy analyses, issue knowledge, funding flexibility, leadership vision, etc.) This assessment will also be used to develop a technical capacity building plan and inform the trainings and professional development opportunities to be provided. 

Additional details will be provided after selection as a Finalist and upon award notification.