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 only thrives if the allocation of power and distribution of resources, benefits, opportunities and burdens are not predictable by, nor predicated on race.
Desired Impact
Our community will be closer to the vision of child well-being when our public policy priorities are realized:
Health Care
All children of the St. Louis region should have universal access to comprehensive mental, physical and dental care, supported by a trauma informed care approach, a network of school-based health centers and the benefits of Medicaid expansion.
Economic Mobility
Families in the St. Louis region should be able to achieve economic stability within one generation in an environment marked by fair chance employment practices, family-supporting wages and asset-building supports.
Justice and Equity
All children of the St. Louis region should receive just treatment under the law, with specific emphasis on contact with the state’s systems for juvenile justice and foster and adoptive care.

Early Childhood Education

All children of the St. Louis region should enjoy full access to quality early childhood care and education from birth to Pre-Kindergarten.
Building Power for Our Children
There are gaps in civic infrastructure and capacity that inhibit Deaconess’ vision for St. Louis’ children which include:
democratic access and participation of historically under-represented, affected communities
family voice in economic development supporting asset-building through affordable housing
racial equity and inclusive leadership in the social sector

In pursuit of our vision and in light of gaps in community capacity, Deaconess and its partners are pursuing a focused, power-building strategy to advance child well-being through racial equity and public policy. 

We know grantmaking alone will not create the conditions for our children to thrive. Thus, we have committed to institutional advocacy and building new platforms for engagement to complement our community investments. Our hope is that this evolution will better serve a wider movement for children and youth in the St. Louis region through strengthening partnership, leveraging platforms, and building power.


Optimizing the space, place, and network of the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being to drive family economic mobility through community-led democratic development

Strengthening Partnership

Advancing from Funder-Grantee to Partner-Partner relationships to subvert capital-driven power dynamics

Continuing racial equity integration into programming, operations and governance

Nurturing a blended leadership continuum

Building Power

Forming a progressive policy development and lobbying platform that cedes power to and centers the power of Black, brown and poor families