St. Louis Regional Racial Healing + Justice Fund Announces Community Governance Board

Residents of the Bi-State Area Direct Investments for Community Healing

ST. LOUIS, MO (April 27, 2022) – The St. Louis Regional Racial Healing + Justice Fund announced today its Community Governance Board (CGB) for the 2022-2023 grant period. The 14-member board consists of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County community members and advocates who are directly impacted by racialized oppression. The board’s central functions are to ensure community-based priorities are met, review and select applications to receive funding, and continue to develop the Fund’s focus through ongoing community design.

“My hope for serving on the Community Governance Board is to continue pushing the needle forward in the St. Louis region for all Black, Brown and people of color to live in an area that demonstrates core rights in housing, education, health, job/career options, policing, and more,” said Ashley Winters, Community Governance Board member. “I want to see our wildest imaginations come to manifestation where this type of work is no longer needed. As a CGB member, I look forward to being a part of history and I’m eager to get my boots on the ground.”

This newly appointed board will lead the third grant cycle that will open mid-summer and build upon the legacy of the Fund in supporting community-led wellness efforts. In the previous two grant cycles more than $500,000 has been invested in 34 Black- and Brown-led organizations in the St. Louis region.

“To me, this Fund means liberation. It means that Black and queer people of all ages and intersections can get a spark for a project they’re starting, completing or continuing. This Fund is, as we say, everything,” said Darian Wigfall, Community Governance Board member.

The Community Governance Board works continually to optimize the Fund’s grantee application  process, ensuring the utmost accessibility for prospective grant recipients. BIPOC-led organizations face systemic barriers to secure institutional funding, such as limited staff capacity and racial biases in application review. The Fund addresses these issues by providing technical support sessions to applicants, and by involving residents, community organizers, and healing practitioners in the review process; and specifically targeting BIPOC-led organizations for investments.

“The Racial Healing + Justice Fund is seeding generational healing and transformation that requires commitment well beyond this current grant cycle,” said Bethany Johnson-Javois, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “Healing community trauma and changing conditions that reinforce systemic racism requires multi-generational funding and an endowed St. Louis Regional Healing + Justice Fund.”

The 2022-2023 members of the Community Governance Board (CGB) are Michelle Barbeau, Aaron Rogers, Mia Malcolm, Dawne Turner, Perez Maxwell, Tyrean Lewis, Samantha Minor, Rorke Chhouk, Shonda Ambers-Phillips, Angel McCain, Diamond Spencer, Darian Wigfall, Erika Essiem, and Ashley Winters. Learn more about the Community Governing Board here.

Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) will continue to act as project manager as well as provide ongoing support to the board throughout the implementation of the grantmaking process. For more information on the participatory grantmaking process, please contact Forward Through Ferguson’s Lead Racial Equity Capacity Catalyst, Faybra Hemphill, at

Deaconess Foundation will continue its role as grant administrator. For more information on becoming a Funding Partner, contact Kiesha Davis, Director of Partnership and Capacity Building for Deaconess Foundation, at

About the Racial Healing + Justice Fund
Deaconess Foundation, Forward Through Ferguson, and Missouri Foundation for Health collaborated to establish the Racial Healing + Justice Fund to invest in racial healing as a core component of achieving racial equity and to make space for affected Black and Brown residents to have direct power over the distribution of resources for healing, justice, and transformation. Through these investments, the Racial Healing and Justice Fund aligns local and national philanthropy, community-set priorities, and community-led grantmaking that put racial equity and healing justice at the center, creating a future St. Louis region where all residents have the opportunity to thrive. So far, the Fund has invested over half a million dollars into 34 Black- and Brown-led organizations. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported the launch of the Fund with a matching grant, and local and national foundations have joined the pool of participating organizations. Stay up to date with all things related to the St. Louis Racial
Healing + Justice Fund by visiting


Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) is a catalyst for lasting positive change in the St. Louis, created as an independent entity to provide continuity for the calls to action outlined by the Ferguson Commission Report, Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity. FTF centers impacted communities and activates community advocacy to advance racially equitable systems and policies that ensure all people in the region can thrive. For more information, visit Follow FTF on Twitter at, Instagram at, and on Facebook at

Deaconess Foundation is a grant making organization building power for child well-being through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing for racial equity and public policy change. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $85 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998. The Foundation’s advocacy and 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. Follow Deaconess Foundation on Twitter at, Instagram at, and on Facebook at

Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes. To learn more, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at and Facebook at