Philanthropy | St. Louis Public Radio


Figaro, right, keeps the schemes moving crisply along. 5.23.15
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis announced the largest donation in its history today.

A $45 million bequest by philanthropist and board member Phyllis Brissenden will boost the opera’s endowment to $80 million. Opera officials describe the gift as one of the largest ever made to an American opera company. Its largest single donation previously was a gift of $2 million.

Susan Walker is a great-niece of the late Mary Ranken Jordan.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up in Great Britain, Susan Walker heard bits and pieces about her great-aunt Mary Ranken Jordan, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Northern Ireland in the late 19th century. But several years ago she became determined to learn more about this distinguished yet mysterious relative.

She knew of her lasting impact in St. Louis, and now Walker’s research into Jordan’s life and legacy has her traveling overseas herself to the Gateway City. 

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Walker about the children’s hospital Jordan founded in 1941, what she’s learning through her research — and what she’s still hoping to discover about her great-aunt from others.

Evelyn and Eric Newman
Provided by the family

Evelyn Newman – a pillar of the community if ever there was one -- died Tuesday at Barnes-Jewish Hospital after a brief illness. She was 95 years old.

Although born in Georgia Mrs. Newman considered herself a lifelong St. Louisan. With her loyalty to this region, she brought business acuity and a special talent for marketing to bear on worthy regional causes.

Photo courtesy of Enterprise Holdings

Nine cultural, educational and historical institutions in the St. Louis area will receive money as a part of $92.5 million in donations from the family of Enterprise Holdings founder Jack Taylor.

The family announced the gifts Wednesday, two weeks after $22 million in donations were made public by the Taylors.

St. Louis Public Schools students thank Jack Taylor and family.
St. Louis Public Schools Foundation

A philanthropic family that prefers to remain low-key is making a high-profile statement to help underserved communities and St. Louis-area youth.

The family of Enterprise Holdings Founder Jack Taylor is donating $22 million to several charitable and educational organizations throughout the region.

Jo Ann Harmon Arnold
Provided by the St. Louis Zoo

Jo Ann Harmon Arnold rose from temporary secretary to top executive at Emerson Electric Co. More than three decades after her arrival, she explained why she stayed.

“Interesting, challenging work to do with a lot of responsibility is a hard combination to walk away from,” she told the St. Louis Business Journal in 1999.

She began in Emerson’s human resources department. As she moved steadily through the ranks, Mrs. Arnold said each opportunity seemed “more exciting than the next.”

(Courtesy GLPR Books)

Less than three years after graduating college in 1989, Jim Ziolkowski quit his corporate finance job at GE and started buildOn, an organization dedicated to building schools in impoverished nations and after school programs in America's inner city schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 20, 2012 - Nonprofit organizations are experiencing a tectonic shift in the way they function, requiring many organizations to experiment with new practices, said Rob Reich at the annual Philanthropic Landscape event on Thursday. The event presented the results of the organization's survey of more than 500 St. Louis area nonprofits, grant makers and community representatives.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2011 - Now that the Danforth Foundation has closed its doors after 84 years and more than a billion dollars in grants to the St. Louis area and elsewhere, don't go looking online to find its website.

Of course, even before it shut down at the end of May, the foundation had no presence on the internet. Nor did it operate with a large staff or go out of its way to draw attention to itself. It preferred to speak through its grants to Washington University, the Danforth Plant Science Center and other institutions. And it never intended to be around forever.

Beacon Blog: All just a decision away

Dec 24, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 24, 2010 - Today's Facebook sentiment that people are posting and reposting reads:

"Every Christmas I always hear people saying what they want and bought. Well this is what I want: I want people who are sick with no cure to be able to be cured. I want children with no families to be adopted. I want people to never have to worry about food and shelter & heat. Now, let's see how many people re-post this who actually care. I have awesome friends ... I know I'll see a lot of reposts."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 14, 2010 - If you poke too hard at what motivates grown men and women to put on too-tight jerseys and to run or to ride bicycles great distances in charity-a-thons, you have to realize that, in all fairness, participation is not all eleemosynary.

Besides desires to help out a school or a lab or a library or church or hospital, there lurk demons in our motivational architecture: desires to please somebody; wanting to look good in the eyes of our peers; wanting to mollify the boss.