Who We Are


“The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation is a key partner of the District’s and an essential ally as we work together on pursuing targeted priorities designed to promote student success and ensure continued progress.”

– Dr. Kelvin Adams, Superintendent

Since 1997, the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation has existed to mobilize the community’s generosity and to support the amazing educators and students within the Saint Louis Public Schools. Over the years, we’ve provided schools with more than $13 million in resources.

The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation is the District’s strategy partner with the unique mission of dedicating 100% of its funds and efforts to District strategy. The Foundation works closely with the Saint Louis Public Schools Superintendent, District leadership, and schools to ensure that the community’s resources support District priorities.

Dr A at bus stop



The mission of the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation is to engage and focus local, regional, and national support to promote educational success for Saint Louis Public School District students.

Operating principles

To ensure program integrity and good stewardship, the Foundation:

1. Focuses on strategic areas identified by Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams as key levers for facilitating student success;

2. Invites investment only in evidence-based programs that have buy-in from both the District and School level and for which there is a clear evaluation plan;

3. Demonstrates fiscal responsibility and high-level transparency.

How We Achieve Our Mission

The Foundation achieves its mission by:

1. Championing and cultivating resources for four strategic priorities:

Strong Early Starts

Ready for College

Great School Leaders

Health and Wellness

2. Managing school funds
3. Growing great partnerships with nonprofit partners
4. Expanding community support – from individuals, to nonprofit partners, to funders – for the St. Louis Public Schools students

Past Highlights

Since its inception, the Foundation has raised and distributed nearly $13 million, and served as an important catalyst of reform and innovation.

Proud points from Our Past:

  • Recognized exemplary teachers in the classrooms through programs like the Pettus Foundation Awards for Excellence
  • Funded the District’s capacity to develop online system to manage students’ health records
  • Supported students’ immediate needs, including providing eyeglasses, shoes, coats for students so that they can come to school ready to learn
  • Sponsored key enrichment activities for students including the annual Student Art Competition; the Scholar-Athlete luncheon and numerous field trips
  • Funded the build-out early childhood education classrooms in multiple schools
  • Supported students’ post-secondary planning and pursuits




Jane Donahue

Jane Donahue was named President of the St. Louis Public Foundation in October 2013. Under her leadership, the Foundation will work strategically with District and community leaders to mobilize and leverage community resources that can accelerate progress for the 27,000 students in the St. Louis Public Schools. Prior to her role at the SLPS Foundation, Ms. Donahue spent 9 years at Deaconess Foundation, where she led a capacity building grant making program, the Deaconess Impact Partnership, for child-serving nonprofits in St. Louis. Ms. Donahue is deeply engaged in promoting the potential of low-income students throughout St. Louis. She was a founder of College Summit-St. Louis, a college access effort that has significantly increased the college-going rate of first generation youth. She was a founder and is currently co-chair of the region’s college access coalition, St. Louis Graduates, which includes business, higher education, K-12, funders and nonprofit leaders working toward increasing college degree completion. She was board chair and serves on the board of Gateway Center for Giving, the region’s association of grantmakers. Before moving to St. Louis in 2002, Ms. Donahue worked at a variety of youth-serving nonprofits in New York City, and attended Wesleyan University and Harvard Divinity School. She is a graduate of FOCUS’ Leadership St. Louis, and received a FOCUS St. Louis Award for Promoting Educational Excellence in 2012.


Danielle Wallis
Program Director

Danielle Wallis joined the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation staff in September 2015, after working with the United Way of Greater St. Louis on issues related to Ferguson response, and with the Gateway Center for Giving, the region’s association of grantmakers.  Danielle is a proud St. Louis native and a graduate of Washington University where she earned highest honors for her work in Education and American Culture Studies.  She is also an alumna of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, where she developed a deep interest in the intersection of philanthropy and education.


Michael Whitley began at the SLPS Foundation in December 2016, after serving as Director of Development for College Bound, and as Director of Development (Major Gifts Fundraising and Alumni Relations) for Missouri State University.  He’s also had experience in the corporate world, working for Wells Fargo in Atlanta, GA, Target, and the National Black MBA Association (Chicago, Il).  At College Bound, he provided leadership, strategic direction and management of all fund-raising efforts and coordinated programs to increase the organization’s support base among individuals, corporations, charitable foundations, and government entities.

A grad of St. Louis Public School’s Laclede Elementary School, Michael was compelled to “return” to SLPS and looks forward to positively impacting the thousands of students we have the honor of serving.   Michael is a graduate of Missouri State University; a college athlete, Michael was drafted as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

Michael is active in the community, serving as a mentor and motivational speaker with various youth organizations.  In 2012, he was awarded the St. Louis American Foundation Young Leaders Award.


Donna Woods

Donna Woods joined the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation in July 2014, after retiring from a lifetime of distinguished service in the St. Louis Public Schools.  Since 1996, she worked as Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent.  In addition, she was the Founder and Chair of the Executive Professional Academy, mentored numerous school support staff and championed their professional growth.  She brings with her deep knowledge of the District, the loyalty of many community stakeholders, and finely-honed skills in a range of administrative services.




Valerie D. Bell, Chair, Attorney
Robert L. Newmark, Vice Chair, Managing Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP
Linda Bearman, Secretary, Ingenium Partners, Inc.
R.D. Todd Baur, Treasurer, Conway Investment Research, LLC

Board Members

Keith Brooks, Director/Youth Commissioner, St. Louis Cardinals
Zundra L. Bryant, Director, Project Management, MasterCard Worldwide/MasterCard Technologies
Al Caiazzo, Managing Director, First Clearing Correspondent Services
Vanessa Foster Cooksey, SVP Communications, Wells Fargo Advisors
Sharon Harvey Davis, Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, Ameren
Bijal Desai-Ramirez, Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Investments, WEPOWER
Caryn L. Fine, Director and Assistant General Counsel, Ameren Services Company
Atul Kamra, Managing Partner, Sixthirty
Carol Putzel Lister, Community Volunteer
Joseph F. Reagan (Joe), Community Volunteer
Susan Schlichter, MSW (Sue), Community Volunteer
Bryan Scott, Quality-Vice President, Defense Space & Security, Boeing
Suzie Spence, Community Volunteer
Tamila N. Taylor (Tammy), Managing Partner, Taylored Analytics
Pam Trapp, Community Volunteer
Peter Werner (Pete), Nonprofit Consultant
Shawn Williams, Principal, Eagle College Prep Fox Park




Proper fiscal stewardship is one of the Foundation’s defining traits. Since its establishment, the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation has received clean audits. Read the Foundation’s latest audit.