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The Jefferson Foundation awarded 95 grants totaling $2,400,579 to 92 nonprofit recipients in its latest round of grant-giving, focusing on providing a helping hand to those most affected by COVID-19.

Jefferson Foundation executive vice president Missy Endres said organizations were informed May 1 that they received funds in this year’s first round of grants, and the checks were mailed on Monday. There were 164 grant requests.

“I think you will see a lot more emphasis on basic needs (because of the virus),” Endres said. “There were several grants to food pantries, the St. Vincent DePaul societies, which is a financial assistance agency. The other area of focus was on mental health, to do what we can to help people through these difficult times.”

The foundation also created the Coronavirus Assistance Grant Program to award money to groups that help people receive food and financial assistance. The foundation reached out to food pantries and religious organizations it already had relationships with to see if a special round of grants would help serve those impacted by the coronavirus, Endres said.

As of May 20, the foundation had awarded an additional $244,500 to fund 28 grants designed to help people impacted by COVID-19, according to foundation records.

“It was a very short application process,” Endres said. “We still discussed every grant, and some received partial funding and some received full, just like a normal process. This situation is continuing, so the process is still open.”

All the foundation’s grant money comes from the $154 million the Mercy health system paid in 2013 when it acquired Jefferson Regional Medical Center (now Mercy Hospital Jefferson) in Crystal City.

The foundation has awarded 953 grants for a total of $46.9 million since it began administering them in 2014, Endres said.

She said the foundation started taking requests for this year’s second round of grants on June 3, and requests need to be in by July 22.

In this year’s first round, Upward Smiles received the largest grant – $150,000 to continue providing dental service to children from low-income families in Jefferson County.

Disability Resource Association, which provides numerous programs to help people live independently, received the second-largest grant, at $100,000, and the Curators of the University of Missouri, which provides psychological evaluations for 50 high-risk youth in the county, received the third-highest grant, at $85,000.

The grant to the Curators of the University of Missouri was one of nine earmarked to provide some form of mental health services in the county.

The foundation awarded $482,250 to organizations to directly deal with mental health in the first round of grants.

“What we hear regularly is we need more access (to mental health services),” Endres said. “That is why it continues to be a priority and one we look at every round of grants. Obviously, COVID-19 added to that.”

Upward Smiles

The dental practice that operates in Festus, 660 N. Creek Drive, and Farmington, 2820 Anchor Drive, has received $1,949,903.18 from the foundation since 2014.

“(The foundation has) been vital to the growth of Upward Smiles. With their support, we can focus on dentistry and the kids, instead of having to focus more on the dollar for dollar spending,” Upward Smiles COO Jeffrey Cauley said. “It is good to have a partner in the community who supports the mission and knows what we are doing. We wouldn’t be where we are now, if it wasn’t for them.”

Cauley said the $150,000 Upward Smiles received in this round will be used to help pay dentists and dental assistants. He said the practice had six dentists working five days a week between the two locations, seeing about 50 to 60 patients per day, before COVID-19.

He said because of the pandemic, the practice now has two dentists at the Festus location and one in Farmington to see patients with urgent dental needs. He said those dentists can see about 20 patients per day.

“It is a pretty drastic cut from seeing 50 to 60 patients,” Cauley said.

Endres said the foundation knows Upward Smiles is a worth organization to receive grants.

“We have been very impressed with how they have evolved,” Endres said. “They keep asking themselves how can we be better? How can we be more efficient? How can we see more kids? They continuously try to improve and be more efficient to serve as many kids as they can.”

DRA

The DRA, at 130 Brandon Wallace Way in Festus, has received $1,508,920.10 from the foundation since 2014.

“They have helped us so much,” DRA director Nancy Pope said. “We get a little bit of state funding, but it is mainly through grants and donations that we are able to provide our services. The foundation has been very generous, and we are thankful for that.”

Pope said the most recent $100,000 grant mainly will be used for the DRA’s transportation services. The DRA offers free rides for medical purposes, such as doctor’s appointments or to pick up prescriptions. Those who need transportation services need to contact the DRA at 636-931-7696, ext. 117, a minimum of five days before the ride, according to the agency’s website.

Pope said the DRA provides about 1,000 rides to 250 clients each month. “We often lose money with transportation, but there is such a need for people to get to their doctor’s appointments,” she said.

Pope said the grant money also will be used to help those facing a financial crisis so they may continue to live independently.

“We give some funding for mortgage or rent assistance or utility assistance,” Pope said. “Independent living is whatever will help them to continue to live in their home. It can be for helping file paperwork to keeping up their Medicare, making a budget for themselves or supplying equipment they need.”

Endres said the DRA continues to receive foundation grants because of the important services it provides.

“They spend the funds just as we would want them to spend them, and they provide the services they say they would,” Endres said. “They are a great partner.”

Mental health

In addition to the Curators of the University of Missouri, the foundation awarded nine other grants that specifically deal with mental health services. Those grants were to the Grandview R-2 School District ($80,250), Provident Inc. ($70,000), Crystal City School District ($67,000), Criminal Justice Ministry ($50,000), Jefferson Franklin Community Action Corporation ($50,000), Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri ($40,000), FamilyForward ($30,000) and Kids Under Twenty One ($10,000).

For a full list of grants, go to myleaderpaper.com, click on local news and scroll until you find the story.

“(Mental Health) continues to be one of the most needed services,” Endres said.

Grandview High School Principal Deb Stukey said the district will use half of its grant money to hire an intervention specialist for the 2020-2021 school year.

“The specialist will work with families to find resources they need for mental health or doctor services,” Stukey said. “We have one counselor in our school, and she does as much as she can. So, to have someone who can focus on doing intervention with families is a huge need for us.”

The other half will be used to help fund several district programs, including Family First, which provides training to help families dealing with mental health or a student’s behavior; Keep the Lights On, which helps families pay for electric bills; Hook Us Up First, which provides home internet access to students who need it, as well as funding for transportation for students who are considered homeless.

“We are such a small district this would be something that is out of our reach, and it is something we need desperately,” Stukey said. “Because of the Jefferson Foundation, we are able to meet needs in our community that have been needed for many years. This will help give families resources that they need.”

Crystal City School District director of social services Taylor Massa said the district will use the grant money to provide a behavior analysis therapist every day the district holds classes for the 2020-2021 school year. Crystal City will move to a four-day school schedule for this upcoming school year.

“The therapist will work with students in kindergarten through seniors in high school who may have social, emotional or behavior concerns,” Massa said. “It is going to be great for our students.”

Massa said the district is looking to hire an independent therapist to work all four days or possibly current staff members trained and certified in ABA therapy to add the duty to their work load.

“The most important thing is our students will get what they need,” Massa said. “I can’t express how grateful I am for that. (The foundation) always helps our district.”

Other groups

Endres said a few grants stood out to her in this round:

■ Nightlight Christian Adoptions: $25,000 to develop a new foster car program in the county. “They have programs in other locations that have been successful. They started to work on how to implement something here. We gave them seed money to get that started. We recognize we need more foster parents,” Endres said.

■ Center for Hearing and Speech: $55,000 to provide mobile hearing health care services in the county. “We know transportation can be such a barrier to services, and to be able to bring more mobile services in, I think, is a great thing,” Endres said.

■ Finding Grace Ministries: two grants totaling $55,000, including $32,000 to expand emergency shelter and transitional housing services in the county and $25,000 to provide program support for services for at-risk youth and the homeless. “We really don’t have a lot in terms of homeless services. That is exciting,” Endres said.

■ Jefferson County Health Department: $82,260 to develop a community health dashboard. “The Health Department has been a large recipient because they use the funds in a great way,” Endres said.

Complete 2020 Round 1 grants list

■ Upward Smiles Inc.: $150,000 to support dental services for children in Jefferson County.

■ Disability Resource Association Inc.: $100,000 to provide program support for the emergency assistance, transportation and independent living programs.

■ The Curators of the University of Missouri: $85,000 to provide psychological evaluations for 50 high-risk youth in Jefferson County.

■ Jefferson County Health Department: $82,260 to develop a community health dashboard specifically for Jefferson County.

■ Grandview R-2 School District: $80,250 to increase school based mental health services.

■ Jefferson County Government: $76,400 total: $40,000 to provide program support for the treatment court program; $36,400 to increase exercise opportunities at the Juvenile Detention Center.

■ The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis: $74,500 to support the Student Advisor program and to provide two four-year scholarships for Jefferson County students.

■ Provident Inc.: $70,000 to support mental health services in Jefferson County.

■ Crystal City School District: $67,000 to increase school-based mental health services.

■ Office of Job Training Programs: $60,000 to provide program support for basic needs assistance and employment counseling.

■ Pony Bird Inc.: $60,000 to support the essential medical transportation program.

■ Finding Grace Ministries: $57,000 total: $32,000 to expand emergency shelter and transitional housing services in Jefferson County; $25,000 to provide program support for services for at-risk youth and persons who are homeless.

■ CHADS Coalition For Mental Health: $55,000 to provide family support services and school-based programs, including signs of suicide and bullying prevention programs.

■ National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-St. Louis: $50,779 yo support prevention programs in Jefferson County, including school-based programming and the Teen Institute for Prevention Leaders retreat.

■ American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas: $50,000 to support disaster relief and preparedness programs in Jefferson County.

■ Austin Christopher Paul Deno (ACPD): $50,000 total: $40,000 to increase access to substance-abuse treatment services for Jefferson County residents; $10,000 to attend conferences and seminars to receive up-to-date information to address the addiction and opioid epidemic.

■ Criminal Justice Ministry: $50,000 to provide mental health and financial-assistance services to Jefferson County residents who are involved with the criminal justice system and have mental illness.

■ Jefferson Franklin Community Action Corporation: $50,000 to increase mental health services in Jefferson County.

■ The Covering House: $50,000 to provide program support for residential services for children and teens who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.

■ Christian Family Services: $45,000 to provide program support for the foster care, maternity counseling and adoption and counseling services programs.

■ Nurses for Newborns: $45,000 to provide nurse home visits to underserved families in Jefferson County.

■ Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri: $40,000 to provide mental health counseling services to Jefferson County residents.

■ FamilyForward: $30,000 to provide mental health services to Jefferson County children and families who are at high risk for or who have experienced abuse and neglect.

■ Girls on the Run of St. Louis: $30,000 to support the Girls on the Run program in Jefferson County schools.

■ Good Shepherd Children and Family Services: $30,000 to provide home-based counseling and case-management services for pregnant women in crisis.

■ Jefferson County Rescue Mission: $30,000 to provide operating support and to make facility improvements.

■ NextStep for Life: $35,000 to provide program support for the emergency respite voucher program, TeenCare and KidStart Lending Library.

■ Parents as Teachers-Festus: $30,000 to provide program support and to purchase incentives to increase participation in screenings.

■ The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition: $30,000 to support foster care services in Jefferson County.

■ Center for Hearing and Speech: $28,000 to provide mobile hearing health care services in Jefferson County.

■ Annie's Hope – The Bereavement Center for Kids: $27,500 to provide program support for grief services for children in Jefferson County.

■ De Soto Public School District: $25,250 to conduct a feasibility study for a community civic center in DeSoto.

■ Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri: $25,000 to provide the PAVE (Project Anti-Violence Education) program in Jefferson County schools.

■ Jeffco Subcontracting Inc. (JSI) Sheltered Workshop: $25,000 to purchase equipment that will provide employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

■ Maryville University of St. Louis: $25,000 to provide program support for the KidTalk Outreach program which provides free speech-language therapy services.

■ Nightlight Christian Adoptions: $25,000 to support the development of a new foster care program in Jefferson County.

■ Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter: $20,000 to provide Alzheimer's education, outreach and ongoing care support to 830 clients in Jefferson County.

■ Brenden's Friday Backpack Program Inc.: $20,000 to purchase program supplies, including food for more than 1,300 children in local schools.

■ St. Pius X High School: $20,000 to provide a drug education class at the high school.

■ Sunnyhill Inc.: $20,000 to support the agency's employee training program.

■ Teen Challenge of St. Louis: $20,000 to provide operating support for the substance abuse residential facilities.

■ The Salvation Army – Arnold Corps: $20,000 to provide program support for the food pantry and the emergency services program.

■ Bethany Christian Services: $15,000 to provide program support for families in crisis and to prevent cases of child abuse and neglect.

■ Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries: $15,000 to support the work of a faith community nurse in providing health services and education at three local food pantries.

■ Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments: $15,000 to provide program support for services to children with a medical diagnosis of blindness or visual impairment and their families.

■ Food Outreach Inc.: $15,000 to support the agency's program that provides heart-healthy food for low-income clients living with HIV/AIDS or cancer in Jefferson County.

■ Gateway to Hope: $15,000 to provide services to breast cancer patients in Jefferson County.

■ Let Me Run St. Louis: $15,000 to expand the Let Me Run program to Jefferson County schools.

■ Missouri Health Care for All: $15,000 to support public education programs focused on health care and insurance in Jefferson County.

■ Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired: $15,000 to expand low vision services in Jefferson County.

■ St. Patrick Center: $15,000 to provide program support for the homeless prevention program for Veterans in Jefferson County.

■ The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter: $15,000 to ensure Jefferson County children have access to lifesaving asthma equipment and medication.

■ Wyman Center Inc.: $15,000 to provide program support for the Wyman Leaders program in Jefferson County.

■ Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jefferson County: $12,000 to provide program support for advocacy services for children who are in the foster care and family court system in Jefferson County.

■ All For Family: $10,000 to provide program support for the supervised visit program.

■ Amvets National Service Foundation: $10,000 to support a health and benefits fair for Jefferson County Veterans.

■ Birthright of Hillsboro Inc.: $10,000 to provide direct financial assistance to families in need.

■ Emmanuel Baptist Church Food Pantry: $10,000 to purchase food and to assist with general operating expenses.

■ First United Methodist Church: $10,000 to purchase food and personal-care items for the food pantry.

■ Jefferson County Foster Children's Fund Inc.: $10,000 to provide basic needs supplies to children in foster care in Jefferson County.

■ KUTO, Kids Under Twenty One: $10,000 to support school-based mental health and suicide prevention services.

■ NAMI St. Louis: $10,000 to support the Crisis Intervention Team program in Jefferson County.

■ Ozark Food Pantry: $10,000 to purchase food and to assist with general operating expenses.

■ Peace Pantry: $10,000 to provide program support for the basic needs program.

■ Pink Ribbon Girls: $10,000 to provide meals and rides to treatment for Jefferson County individuals and families where there has been a diagnosis of breast or gynecological cancer.

■ St. John's Lutheran Church and School: $10,000 to provide program support for the agency's support group program and financial assistance program.

■ St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program: $10,000 to provide program support for the health equipment lending program.

■ Royal Order of the US Military P-38 Can Opener Association: $9,640 to provide 20 veterans with disabilities an opportunity to attend a therapy camp.

■ St. Andrew's United Methodist Church: $7,500 to provide program support for a prom for individuals with special needs.

■ Crime Victim Advocacy Center: $5,000 to provide financial assistance with legal services for survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.

■ DeSoto Food Pantry: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Endless Opportunities Worldwide: $5,000 to provide program support for the basic needs program.

■ Helping Hand Me Downs: $5,000 to provide program support for the basic needs program.

■ Herculaneum United Methodist Church: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Hillsboro R-3 School District: $5,000 to support the basic needs program for students in the Hillsboro School District.

■ Our Lady's Inn: $5,000 to provide shelter and supportive services for Jefferson County women and children.

■ Raintree Church: $5,000 to provide program support for the basic needs program.

■ Roman's Joy: $5,000 to provide assistance with funeral expenses for families who have experienced the death of a child and to help volunteers become certified grief counselors.

■ Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Fenton: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Society of St. Vincent de Paul-St. John's Conference: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Immaculate Conception Parish in Arnold: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in House Springs: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Good Shepherd Conference in Hillsboro: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Society of St. Vincent DePaul Our Lady Conference in Festus: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ St David Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ St Joseph Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Imperial: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ Springhills Presbyterian Church: $5,000 to provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families in need.

■ St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness (SLOCA): $5,000 to conduct an outreach campaign about ovarian cancer in Jefferson County.

■ University of Missouri Extension Council of Jefferson County: $5,000 to support the career-readiness program for at-risk youth.

■ VFW Post 3777: $5,000 to purchase emergency medical equipment.

■ Zion Lutheran Church: $5,000 to provide program support for the basic needs program.

■ Hillsboro Christian Church: $2,500 to purchase emergency medical equipment.

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