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Special Projects

Women’s Economic Stability Initiative (WESI)/Women's Economic Stability Partnership (WESP)

The Women’s Economic Stability Initiative arose out of a decision on the part of the Trio Foundation of St. Louis to identify an urgent issue in the St. Louis community. The Foundation planned to address the problem through a multi-year collaboration with a local agency with a focus on economic empowerment for single, low-income mothers. The research revealed the difficulties faced by these women in achieving financial stability when faced with the conflicting demands of pursuing an education while simultaneously dealing with the issues of childcare, housing, transportation, educational costs and often debt reduction.

Trio’s vision was to fund and collaborate with an agency on a program that would support ten low-income women who were pursuing non-traditional careers that would provide higher wages and economic stability for their families. Trio funds were intended to permit the agency to flexibly address obstacles to the completion of the women’s educational and career goals. In early 2007 Trio issued a request for proposals to implement the initiative and in May 2007 awarded the grant to the YWCA of Metro St. Louis. 

In January 2011, The Gateway Center for Giving recognized the Trio Foundation of St. Louis with its “Giving is Ongoing” award for the Women’s Economic Stability Initiative (http://blog.centerforgiving.org/?s=eulonda ). We were pleased to receive this award, but the women in the program are the ones we honor. We consistently admired their commitment to their children and careers and were privileged to play a part in helping the women achieve their dreams and secure their futures. One of the participants from Class One, Jennifer Wall, describes the impact in this video http://www.youtube.com/user/ywcastl.

The program was so successful that the YWCA incorporated it into their regular service offerings and renamed the program Women's Economic Stability Partnership (WESP). WESP, the new iteration of WESI, is being supported by the United Way, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, as well as several other foundations and YWCA board members. Key findings and a full report on the first five years of the program can be found here: Women's Economic Stability Report.

 

 

St. Louis Graduates

Begun in late 2008, St. Louis Graduates (formerly the College Access Pipeline Project or CAP) is a consortium of St. Louis’ largest college access providers, as well as corporate and foundation funders, including the Trio Foundation of St. Louis The group came together because, while there existed in St. Louis a growing number of effective programs to help low-income students pursue college degrees, the efforts were fragmented. St. Louis Graduates is galvanized by a BIG goal: to increase the proportion of students in the St. Louis region who earn higher education degrees to 50% by 2020. More information about our work can be found at http://www.StLouisGraduates.org.

 

 

 

Tower Grove Park East Playground

In 2009 the Trio Foundation of St. Louis made a grant to Tower Grove Park to renovate its East Playground, including bringing it to ADA accessibility code, in memory of our founder Dorothy R. Moog.

Before

Dorothy Moog had high regards for Tower Grove Park, which she demonstrated in 2003 when she and the Trio Foundation of St. Louis both provided funding for renovation and upgrade to ADA accessibility regulations for the West Playground. This was particularly significant because overall, Mrs. Moog kept her giving very separate from the Trio Foundation. In fact, the gift to the West Playground was the only project that Mrs. Moog and the Trio Foundation explicitly funded together.

After

When Tower Grove Park approached Trio for funding similar renovations and upgrades on the East Playground, the Trio Board knew that the project would be a perfect way to remember Mrs. Moog. As her son Jim Moog said at the playground dedication, “There is a connection to the sentiment that inspired Henry Shaw to enrich our city and its residents with his magnificent Garden and Tower Grove Park--His purpose was not to create a grandiose monument, but to make people’s lives more rewarding by allowing them to experience the simple pleasures of nature.” We hope the playground will provide many hours of fun and serve as a reminder of Dorothy Moog and her great fondness for children, play, accessibility, and the natural beauty that this park provides to our city.