October Newsletter | Missional Service

Deaconess Community,

I am honored to assume the role of Deaconess’ new President and CEO and to be graced with the opportunity to serve not only today’s children, but tomorrow’s children, on both sides of the Mississippi River. To the Deaconess Foundation Board of Trustees, staff, partners, and Metropolitan St. Louis community, thank you for trusting me to lead an organization that I know we all care about deeply and for receiving me with warmth and generosity in this new capacity.

My roots in St. Louis inform who I am and the issues I feel called to address. I was born and raised in University City. My family’s history traces back to Kinloch, the oldest Black community to be incorporated in the state of Missouri. Growing up in St. Louis, I am all too familiar with the region’s segregated and fragmented history that has inflicted community-level trauma and perpetuated racial inequity. Yet, I am hopeful for and committed to a more just and equitable future we, together, will build for our children.

Ten years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to be a Deaconess Trustee when the opportunity arose because I truly believed in the Foundation’s mission and the approach to achieve positive outcomes for children, youth and their families. Deaconess does the critical work of centering children’s priorities and voices, creating conditions for our children to thrive, and increasing our community’s capacity so that youth and child advocates are better positioned to move systems that are accountable to serve us. This is what drew me to the Foundation a decade ago and why I am thrilled to return in a leadership role today.

My purpose, guided by the same spiritual and moral imperative that guides Deaconess, is to combat structural racism and to mobilize people, policy, and power for the health of underserved children and their families. We will continue to cultivate a community that values the health and well-being of all children and gives keen attention and prioritization to the most vulnerable. To help this vision come to pass, I will listen with new ears and an open heart. No voice is too small and no vision is too audacious to influence our work.

I look forward to being in community with you. I also invite you to join us for the Joint Annual Meeting of the Deaconess Foundation and Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being Boards on November 9, 2021, to learn more about our work ahead.

In service to the mission,

Bethany Johnson-Javois
President & CEO
Deaconess Foundation

To read the rest of our October eNewsletter, click here.