What We Do


The foundation is working closely with Saint Louis Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Adams and other District leaders to raise funds and implement programs in four priority critical areas, which are considered key levers to accelerating success.


Early Childhood Education

“For every dollar spent on high-quality early education, society stands to gain up to $16 in long-term savings.” -Arthur Rolnick, Federal Reserve Bank

The case for quality early childhood education is both clear and compelling. Multiple research reports show that investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later. Returns are greatest for the most at-risk children. For that population in particular, quality early learning programs can result in reduced costs in later on special education, remedial classes, and even incarceration. Since 2011, Saint Louis Public Schools has made substantial investments with some one-time funding to expand its early childhood education to more than 2,300 students, and it’s seeing the rewards. Now is the time to invite private investment.

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  1. Using the evidence-based Project Construct curriculum and ongoing teacher evaluation and development, the District will offer high-quality instruction in both academic and socio-emotional skills.
  2. Integrate preschool teaching team into academic life of all elementary schools.
  3. Launch use of a DESE-approved kindergarten readiness assessment and provide specialized instruction to students who are not ready to graduate to 1st grade.
  4. Broaden parent education and outreach efforts.
  5. Develop innovative funding strategies that blend private & public investment.

Current funding for preschool expansion comes from one-time allocation of Desegregation Settlement funding which will expire in 2017. The SLPS Foundation’s goal is to raise $5 million over the next three years to help sustain early childhood education.

College and Career Readiness

“We need all students to continue their education beyond high school — and we need the resources in place to support them every step of the way.” -Ward Klein

Earning a postsecondary degree gives a person the power to define his or her future path, greater financial security and higher likelihood of employment, even during challenging economic times. For the region, increasing the number of college graduates is a critical economic development strategy. By 2018, 59% of all jobs in Missouri will require some form of postsecondary education, according to the Lumina Foundation.
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  1. Engage a College & Career Coach for all high schools, adding approximately two coaches per year.
  2. Sustain and scale successful pilot program to ensure positive transition from middle to high school.
  3. Partner with St. Louis Graduates/Lumina Foundation to develop strategy for reducing percent of high school graduates who need developmental education.
  4. Expand access to free ACT preparation.
  5. Grow scholarship and “last dollar” funding for SLPS students.
  6. Create a Career Pathways Fund to cost-share expense of vocational certification exams.

To implement proposed strategies, the SLPS Foundation is seeking $2 million over the three years.

School Leaders

“There are no good schools without a great principal.” –Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

In all sectors, excellent leaders drive transformation, and the story is the same for urban schools. A recent meta-analysis of 35 years of school leadership found that principals’ actions account for 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student achievement. Like many other urban school districts, SLPS has trouble attracting and retaining highly effective principals. On average, 9-14 principals leave each year due to terminations, retirement, or moves to other school districts. While some of these departures were deliberate, there have been difficult losses as well, when principals are wooed to other neighboring St. Louis-area school districts where the compensation is as much as 10-20% higher.
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  1. Create an Office of Talent Management which develops and implements a district-wide strategy for attracting, retaining and growing effective principals.
  2. Re-configure professional development offerings to better meet principals’ needs and maximize peer learning.
  3. Introduce incentive pay plan that rewards high-performing principals, especially those working in the most challenged schools.
  4. Develop flexible spending accounts that spark innovation for high performing school leaders.

To implement key mental health and obesity prevention programs, the Foundation will seek $3 million over next three years.

Health and Wellness

“The academic success of America’s youth is strongly linked with their health.” –Center for Disease Control

Students’ ability to learn and excel is directly correlated to both their mental and physical health. Ample research demonstrates that proper nutrition and access to medical and mental health services correlates to higher levels of student performance. The reality is that SLPS students face numerous health issues. In fact, St. Louis City ranks 115th out of 115 counties in Missouri in composite score for child health and well-being. The health needs of students are myriad, and SLPS cannot meet all of them. For the next couple years, SLPS has asked the Foundation to support the scaling of two health efforts: an obesity prevention initiative and a mental health effort for elementary schools.

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  1. Partner with Missouri Foundation for Health to expand successful obesity prevention and community wellness initiative at elementary and middle schools.
  2. Partner with United Way’s 211 services to provide relevant referrals to families in need of social and mental health services.
  3. Offer school staff ongoing training in “mental health first aid” to increase their capacity to appropriately respond to students in crisis.
  4. Formalize partnerships with key mental health providers to offer more school-based, individualized therapeutic care to children.

The Foundation will seek $3 million over next three years to pursue these strategies.


One of the Foundation’s core functions is to serve as a responsible steward of more than 100 restricted funds. Most of these funds are designated for specific schools, and donors include parents, alumni, or funders who want to support a one-time project at a school.

The Foundation has received highest marks from its auditor as it relates to fiscal management of the funds. in addition, the Foundation partners with the Mission Center, a full service accounting firm, to provide all bookkeeping services. The Foundation charges a modest (and sliding) administrative fee for fiscal stewardship of some of the funds.

The Foundation is grateful to a wide range of donors whose generosity supports these funds.

Interested in Starting a Fund?

If you want to make a restricted gift to the Foundation for use at a specific school, please contact Jane Donahue, President, St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, 314.436.2025. All gifts are 100% tax deductible.

The Foundation has received highest marks from its auditor as it relates to fiscal management of the funds. In addition, the Foundation partners with The Mission Center, a full service accounting firm, to provide all bookkeeping services. The Foundation charges a modest (and sliding) administrative fee for fiscal stewardship of some of the funds.

Interested in Making a School Gift?


Send check or cash gifts to St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, attn: Donna Woods, Fund and Grants Management Assistant, 801 North 11th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102.  Please indicate which school fund you are supporting.


Make a secure on-line gift on our website with your credit card, designating the fund in the on-line giving form. Paypal does deduct a processing fee.

Interested in Corporate Matching Gifts?


Did you know that many companies offer matching gifts for employees charitable contributions? Check with your company to see if they offer this incredible benefit. If they do, make sure there is a way to indicate which school you are supporting.


All gifts will be acknowledged with a letter that will serve as proof of your tax-deductible gift.



“In the information age, higher education is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity that every family in America should be able to afford.”
-Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education

One of the Foundation’s primary goals is to ensure that all students have the resouces they need to pursue post-secondary dreams. For more information about the SLPS Foundation’s college and career readiness priorities, click here.

Thanks to the generosity of multiple donors, the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation administers approximately 10 scholarships each year.

Scholarships for the class of 2017 are now available.  For a list of possible scholarships, click 2017 Saint Louis Public Schools Scholarship Application Guidelines.

Students can apply for all SLPS administered scholarships by going to St. Louis Graduates’ Scholarship Central, www.stlouisgraduates.org. Scholarship Central is the region’s centralized database of private scholarships for local students, and uses a common scholarship application form.

If you have any questions about the SLPS Foundation administered scholarships, please contact Jane Donahue, SLPS Foundation President at jdonahue@slpsfoundation.org.

scholarships page