Author: Lilli Cox

SCF OPENS SECOND CYCLE OF THE PATRICK AND AMELIA WILLIAMS OPPORTUNITY FUND

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2019

ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I., April 1, 2019 — St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce that the second cycle of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund for St. Croix youth opens April 1, 2019. Geared towards providing opportunities for St. Croix students to pursue their career goals through colleges or universities, scholarships not to exceed $5000 will be awarded to successful applicants. All applications will be reviewed on the basis of residency, school attendance, and GPA.

Graduates from a St. Croix public high school who have also attended a public junior high school and reside on St. Croix are eligible to apply. All applicants must provide proof of acceptance to an accredited college or university and must indicate and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applications will be reviewed by the St. Croix Foundation Grants Review Committee and must be received no later than May 10.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established in 2018 by Junior Gaspard, a native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H Woodson Junior High School, who wished to honor his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams. The Williams’ hard work, determination, and resilience is a legacy that Junior Gaspard and his family are committed to passing down to further generations, providing opportunities for St. Croix youth to overcome any obstacle with strength and perseverance.

After visiting St. Croix post-Hurricane Maria and Irma, Gaspard wanted to do something that could have a long-term impact. Knowing the challenges high-school students face preparing for and getting resources for college in a post-hurricane environment, this seemed to be most impactful way to help. “I remember going to double sessions and doing homework by kerosene lantern after Hurricane Hugo,” said Gaspard. “If this helps a few students who can persevere to get and stay in college, it will be a success.” He has seen firsthand the drive and ability St. Croix youth and knows many of them just need the resources to seize the opportunity of higher education.

President of St. Croix Foundation, Deanna James, stated, “The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and the commitment of the Gaspard family to support St. Croix youth is an example of active, hands-on philanthropy that the Foundation is nurturing throughout our direct services and grantmaking. While the Territory continues to rebuild after the 2017 hurricanes, encouraging and providing opportunities to students is a critical piece of empowering our young people to become fully engaged in sound community development.”

In its first cycle, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund awarded three St. Croix students scholarships totaling over $10,000 to defray tuition expenses for awardees to attend Monroe College in New York, Houston Community College in Texas, and the University of the Virgin Islands. Today, the Gaspard family is building awareness and mobilizing community both on and off the island to increase opportunities and availability of resources for more local youth.

In reflection of the spirit of Patrick and Amelia Williams, the scholarship Fund also gives priority to young people who are involved in meaningful community service and who participate in extra-curricular activities. The Fund acknowledges the challenges that many young people face in becoming more involved in civics, however, and invites students to demonstrate in essays the reality of their socioeconomic issues to allow the Review Committee to better assess applications.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund will provide up to two scholarships a year with all scholarship recipients required to report on their successes and challenges throughout the year. This process will ensure that the Fund continues to meet current needs and to provide students with additional support if needed. Applications are due by May 10 and applicants will be informed by decisions by June 1. The full application guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org. Applicants are encouraged to apply online; however, applications may also be mailed/delivered to St. Croix Foundation’s office at 1023 Market Street, Christiansted, VI 00820.

St. Croix Foundation wishes to extend its sincerest appreciation to Junior Gaspard, who is strategically giving back to the community and honoring those that provided him further opportunities that have led to his success! For more information about how to support the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund, please visit the Foundation online or call at 340.773.9898.

Event Line Up Announced For 2019 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT
(TEL)340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FEBRUARY 21, 2019

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce the event lineup for its annual benefit, the 2019 St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. A series of culinary food and wine events held on the island of St. Croix, U.S.Virgin Islands from Thursday April 4th through Sunday April 7th, 2019. The St. Croix Food & Wine Experience is a celebration of the people, the land, the culture, and the cuisine of St. Croix.

Now in its 12th year, St. Croix Food & Wine Experience (FWE) has a long history of promoting not just St. Croix but, holistic community development through the work of St. Croix Foundation. An outgrowth of the “culinary extravaganza” A Taste of St. Croix, the Food and Wine Experience is today the annual fundraiser for the Foundation and has enabled the 28-year-old organization to advance its mission of encouraging greater philanthropic activity, marshaling resources, and acting as a catalyst to benefit the people of the Virgin Islands.

While A Taste of St. Croix and the FWE have existed as independent entities since 2016, the impact of both events has brought international recognition to St. Croix and has elevated St. Croix’s brand as a bona-fide culinary destination.

Over the past three years, St. Croix Foundation has been committed to ensuring that every event, every project and initiative attached to its name, is perfectly aligned with the organization’s mission and programmatic priorities of community revitalization and holistic community development.

This year, St. Croix Foundation is proud to be taking all necessary steps to truly embody the 2019 theme for the Experience: ‘Feel St. Croix.’ With a commitment to emphasizing St. Croix’s special characteristics, St. Croix Foundation is expanding partnerships with community stalwarts Bohlke International Airways, balter restaurant, and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, as well as forming new friendships with community revitalizers like the Caravelle Hotel and Casino.

As the Foundation seeks to really ground the FWE this year, two of the Experience’s events will serve culinary delights that are 100% locally sourced. And with additional surprises in store, St. Croix Foundation is certain that this annual celebration of the people, land, culture, and food of St. Croix will be like never before.

As with every year, 2019’s weekend event series will consist of an impressive roster of the finest vendors, local chefs, and nationally and regionally acclaimed guest chefs. Chefs will participate in events that range from relaxed to elegant options for foodies and wine connoisseurs alongside guest wine makers and spirit companies that will pair their expertise at each event. The 2019 schedule of events is as follows:

 Thursday, April 4

bond @ balter – A special invitation only reception, an evening of celebrity chefs, exclusive spirits, and delectable appetizers await sponsors, partners, chefs, vintners, and media at balter restaurant and creates the perfect ambiance for active, passionate philanthropists to meet and mingle. 4:30 PM Thursday.

Friday, April 5

Cork & Fork – The cosmopolitan Cork & Fork Dinner returns for 2019!

Always with a renowned chef. Always in a stunning private home. Always the height of elegance and intimacy. Call for location. 6 PM Friday

Sunset BBQ – Our much-loved Sunset BBQ is back as well for 2019! Bring the family out to Frederiksted Pier for the perfect Crucian sunset and finger-licking BBQ treats from some of St. Croix’s finest restaurants and eateries. With live music, a raffle, and plenty of room to roam, there’s something for everyone! 6 PM Friday

Saturday, April 6

Wine in the Warehouse – Let your cup overflow with the spirit of philanthropy and raise a glass (or several!) to community. Enjoy Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits’ fine wines, appetizers, and live music in Bohlke International Airways’ exclusive jet hanger. Grab your passports and prepare your taste buds for a flavor journey that you won’t want to miss, because no matter how far you may fly, on St. Croix, you’re always home. Wine sales available. 6 PM Saturday

Sunday, April 7

Gourmet Vintner Dinner – Join us and one of St. Croix’s favorite culinary artists, award winning Chef Digby Stridiron. This lively and community-centric dining experience pairs fabulous wines with a 5-course meal and includes a live auction. This event is not to be missed! 6 PM Sunday

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “Despite the ever-present consequences of the aftermath of the two Category 5 Hurricanes that ravaged the Virgin Islands over a year ago, the Foundation, with the generous support of corporate partners and individuals, is committed to demonstrating real civic leadership.” James concluded, “We are also proud to report that every sponsorship dollar raised and the revenues received from this event are leveraged many times over and reinvested into the community to support the Foundation’s operations as well as its territory-wide mission of social, economic, and educational transformation.”

SCF is a hardworking organization, and the FWE is the one time each year, when the Organization reaches out and asks for the community’s support! Since its founding in 1990 following the devastation of Hurricane Hugo, St. Croix Foundation has been a visionary of social change and community development, working with community partners to challenge the status quo in order to address key priority areas including community and economic development, education reform, public safety, and nonprofit development.

In line with the vision of its founders, (late community stalwarts Mr. Philip Gerard and Mr. Michael Neuburger), the Foundation continues to operate as a place-based hybrid-foundation, serving as a grantmaker as well as a project manager and direct service provider. One of the most important components of SCF’s work is providing fiduciary and fiscal sponsorship services to over 220 grassroots efforts, organizations, and charitable initiatives throughout the Territory. Today, the Foundation has expanded its programmatic portfolio to include providing support to a growing number of St. Croix’s nonprofits through its Nonprofit Consortium, a project which provides capacity building, technical support, and advocacy on the local and national stage. In total, over the past 28 years, the Foundation has been a conduit of $41 million private and public sector dollars invested into the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The St. Croix Food & Wine Experience provides operating support to the Foundation so that it can continue doing all of its community-building work. Made possible by countless chefs, volunteers, corporate citizens, and loyal attendees, the Foundation is especially grateful for the Experience’s Platinum Sponsors including the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and the Caravelle Hotel and Casino; Gold Sponsors, Crucian Point, William and Kay Cook, and First Bank as well as valued Sponsors Bohlke International Airways, balter Restaurant, the Buccaneer, ProTouch Communications, Braata restaurant, The Virgin Islands Daily News, Crucian Gold, St. Croix Tourism, Tropical Shipping, and CULTIVATE Studio.

Residents and corporate citizens interested in directly supporting work that addresses root causes and approaches rebuilding after the hurricanes through an equitable, community-based lens, are invited to become sponsors of The Experience.

For information about, tickets, events, and sponsorship visit http://www.stxfoodandwine.com or call the St. Croix Foundation office at 340-773-9898.

Foundation To Host 3rd Annual Retreat For National Foundation Executives

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT
(TEL)340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FEBRUARY 12, 2019

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development will be hosting its 3rd Annual Philanthropy Retreat February 14th thru February 17th on the island of St. Croix. The invitation-only retreat will connect National and International Senior Philanthropy Executives with Board and Staff of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium partners.  This year’s convening will feature Executives from Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Council on Foundations, the Southeastern Council of Foundations, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, TIDES Foundation, Global Giving, and Partnership for Southern Equity.

As a vehicle for supporting St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium, which is an almost 3-year-old association of approximately 35 St. Croix nonprofits, the retreat will afford national funders insight into the inherent challenges and assets of St. Croix’s social and economic landscape.

The theme of this year’s convening is Civic Excellence: Demonstrating Impact in Rural & Isolated Communities. Over the course of 3 days, nonprofits and Foundation Executives will convene around issues focused on diaspora philanthropy, social equity and nonprofit capacity building. The weekend will also include an island tour and a visit to the Agricultural Fair.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “The retreat is an unprecedented opportunity for the Foundation to highlight our Consortium of Nonprofits and thank them for the incredible contributions they are making to nurture a healthier St. Croix community. When we launched our Nonprofit Consortium in 2016, we affirmed our commitment to building capacity and rallying partners around strategic collaborations and collective impact. Initially opened to all St. Croix nonprofits, to date approximately 35 organizations have committed their time and effort to being active members of the Consortium. The retreat is the Foundation’s opportunity to build a broader network of philanthropic partnerships in support of the work of St. Croix’s civic sector.”

To date, the Foundation has hosted over 15 Foundation Executives at past convenings. As a result of the first retreat, despite the lack of national media attention on the impact of the 2017 storms on the island of St. Croix, the Foundation had already secured several fierce champions on the mainland who knew St. Croix’s nonprofit landscape and knew the passion and potential of our civic leaders to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable residents in our community.

Leveraging this work, in the fall of 2017, the Foundation applied for and was awarded its first major grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support nonprofit organizations on St Croix in their recovery efforts. That Kellogg grant, along with funding secured from other national foundations after the hurricanes, translated into over $700,000 in grants to St. Croix nonprofits.

Since hosting its first philanthropy retreat in February of 2017, exactly 7 months before Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Foundation has developed some of its most enduring national partnerships. And, despite years of isolation from most national philanthropic organizations which have historically regarded the U.S. Caribbean as either irrelevant or international, St. Croix Foundation (assisted by the media attention from 2017’s hurricanes) is working tirelessly to change that trend.

Additionally, in March 2018, St. Croix Foundation was invited to become a member of the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF), which boasts a network of over 300 foundations serving the U.S. Southeast. SCF is, today, the first and only territorial foundation to be a member of SECF.

“Taking into consideration the demographic realities of St. Croix, with far greater needs and fewer economic resources, local nonprofits have had to rely on dwindling local government funding and fatigued corporate donors,” James stated. “St. Croix Foundation has become a steadfast advocate for the territory’s Nonprofit Sector, who we believe is essential in counterbalancing stretched and struggling governmental systems.” As a placed based operating foundation, St. Croix Foundation’s work is focused on holistic community development, providing not just grantmaking but broad-based support to nonprofits to allow for greater impact.

St. Croix Foundation extends its sincere gratitude to its local, national, and international partners who have made this convening possible. For more information on the Retreat or on how to support the Foundation’s community rebuilding and Nonprofit Development efforts, please call the Foundation’s office at 340.773.9898 or visit their website at www.stxfoundation.org.

St. Croix Foundation Celebrates 28th Anniversary

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development will mark 28 years of service to the US Virgin Islands community on September 24, 2018. Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over $40,000,000 in funding for community-based projects throughout the Virgin Islands. With an incomparable track record of successful community development initiatives and national recognition for its work in education reform and small business development, the Foundation has also received international acknowledgement for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on their Four Pillars of Community Development: Public Safety, Public Service, Public Policy, and Public Will. The Foundation remains grounded in the philosophy of its founders, Phillip Gerard and Michael Neuburger, who believed that functioning as a hybrid operating foundation was the single most effective format for serving a community with such significant needs and socio-economic disparities.

In the spirit of giving back, the Foundation will launch ticket sales for the 2019 Food and Wine Experience Event on September 24th with a special 28 percent discount given to teachers and first responders for two of its most community-centric events- Sunset BBQ and Wine in the Warehouse. The discount tickets for teachers and first responders will extend through October 8, 2018 and can only be purchased at the St. Croix Foundation headquarters on the Market Square in Christiansted.

As the Foundation’s annual benefit, the ‘FWE’ is now in its 12th year and has evolved into a true embodiment of the organization’s core values, grounded in holistic community development. In 2018, despite the challenges directly after the hurricanes, the Foundation and its partners and sponsors forged ahead and hosted a scaled back FWE, proving that the event series is today more than just a benefit. It represents the power of collaboration and the resiliency of our community while celebrating St. Croix’s unique spirit.

Building on this, the Foundation’s theme for the 2019 Food and Wine Experience will be ‘Feel St. Croix…’ and will celebrate the people, the land, the culture, and the incredible food of St. Croix as never before. The event will kick off on Thursday, April 4th and wrap-up on Sunday, April 7th. The weekend series will consist of five events and feature an impressive roster of guest chefs including well-known TV personalities and private chefs. Through a deepening partnership with the Department of Tourism, the event also brings to the Territory a variety of travel writers, bloggers and media representatives who expand St. Croix’s national and international exposure as a culinary and cultural destination.

According to St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, “Every year the Foundation hosts a community block party in Sunday Market Square to thank our partners and the community at large for the partnerships that make our work possible. This year, we decided to pause and say thank you to our local teachers and First Responders for what they have done and continue to do, sometimes quietly and behind the scenes, to support our community through the recovery from last year’s hurricanes.”

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development would also like to thank longstanding sponsors, partners, and vendors of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience including Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Crucian Point, balter, Bohlke International Airways, Braata, and The Buccaneer, who have already committed to celebrating everything good about St. Croix’s culinary and cultural scene with The Foundation in 2019!

The Foundation invites anyone interested in more information to visit http://www.stxfoodandwine.com or contact Deanna James at the Foundation at (340) 773-9898.

St. Croix Foundation Remembers Hurricanes Irma and Maria

CONTAcT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2018

As the Virgin Islands community marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development commemorates this marker with a note to the community outlining its recovery and rebuilding efforts and accomplishments in the aftermath of the storms. Over the past 12 months, the Foundation has worked tirelessly exercising its function as an operating foundation with a strict commitment to building a portfolio that extends far beyond grantmaking.

Since the storms, the Foundation has focused mainly in three areas in order to maximize its impact with its nimble resources.

  1. Immediate Relief Projects – In the first 100 days after the hurricanes, the Foundation sponsored the shipment and distribution of approximately 250,000 pounds of food, water, clothing, baby supplies, and medical supplies.
  2. Grantmaking to Nonprofits– Since November of 2017, St. Croix Foundation has provided over $600,000 in grants to over 52 of St. Croix’s nonprofits for hurricane recovery. From reconstruction of facilities to vital programming and, perhaps most importantly, capacity building, the Foundation is strengthening nonprofits.
  3. Data Collection – To help assess the immediate impact of the storm and direct resources where they were most needed, St. Croix Foundation launched two surveys: one to evaluate unmet needs among households in areas hit hardest by the hurricanes, and the second to determine the capacity of St. Croix’s nonprofits as needs accelerated. In June of 2018, the Foundation officially published summary reports on both surveys, which are both being widely used by a number of civic and public-sector agencies.

With numerous initiatives in the works, the Foundation remains grounded in its steadfast commitment to holistic development and to nurturing greater civic leadership as it expands its support for the nonprofit sector. Though the Caribbean Assistance and Recovery Efforts (CARE) Fund raised just over 1.6 million dollars, the Foundation leveraged those funds to do more than some organizations 10 times its size. In addition, it is also serving as the fiscal sponsor for hurricane specific charitable projects like the St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group. To date, the Foundation’s sponsored projects have raised over $500,000 for their own hurricane recovery projects – all dollars that are directly serving residents in need, post-hurricanes.

The Foundation has also laid out a comprehensive agenda for the future including:

  • The CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Recovery Efforts) Fund, which will continue to raise funds specifically geared toward re-building and building operational capacity for the civic sector and our local nonprofits;
  • The restoration of the Old Alexander Theater, which is slated to be restored and will serve as both a state of the art performing arts center and modern community disaster shelter;
  • And a clean energy, community-based Solar Project, which will be launched to solarize neighborhood-based community centers.

According to St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, “The past year has allowed St. Croix Foundation to serve our community in ways we would never have imagined. But it also brought us back to the original mission of our organization. We have leveraged old and new partnerships in order to bring resources to residents of the Virgin Islands that they so urgently require. We are also working diligently to champion the needs of the Territory, advocating to national philanthropy to commit to long-term investments in the Virgin Islands. We thank our partners in the civic sector who stepped into action immediately after the storm and have continued to work tirelessly to aid the underserved and underrepresented.”

As the community reflects on the last year, the St. Croix Foundation would like to take the opportunity to extend its deep appreciation to its supporters, partners, friends, and donors including but not limited to Crucian Gold, ReV!ve, Limetree Bay Terminals, Diageo USVI, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, AARP Foundation, and Johnson and Johnson Foundation, for remaining at its side during this hard year of work. The Foundation remains committed to the Virgin Islands community and will work without pause for its betterment. The Foundation’s vision for the future and for St. Croix is a sustainable, progressive and prosperous community. The Foundation also thanks its peers in the work – the civic sector of the Virgin Islands – for demonstrating real philanthropy every day through their work.

For more information on the Foundation’s CARE Fund and community work, visit www.stxfoundation.org or call 340.773.9898.

St. Croix Foundation Hosts Week of Community Building Activities Featuring Tuesday Ryan-Hart

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 1, 2018

The St. Croix Foundation is hosting a week of activities geared at empowering organizations within the nonprofit sector and for the community at-large to become change agents. On August 6th and 7th, the Foundation will be joined by Tuesday Ryan-Hart, an internationally renowned systems change strategist who has worked with organizations and stakeholders engaged in community building. The Foundation has enlisted Ms. Ryan-Hart, who will be introducing the community to a new concept of community engagement, entitled “The Art of Hosting,” to help build capacity in our community through conversations and training around high impact collaborations and self-empowerment. The public is invited to RSVP at stxartofhosting.eventbrite.com for the Keynote Address,‘Re-Inventing Our Collaborations,’ which will take place on Monday, August 6, 2018 at the Bennie and Martha Benjamin Conferencing Center at the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center at 5:30PM.

On August 9th and 10th, the Foundation will host Edward Jones of the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and the Black Social Change Funders Network. The Black Social Change Funders Network (BSCFN) is a network of funders committed to creating thriving Black communities by strengthening the infrastructure for Black-led and social change.

BSCFN’s purpose is “to build the institutional and political power of the Black community to make Black lives matter and for the Black community to thrive.”

In March, ABFE President & CEO Susan Taylor Batten visited St. Croix with a number of local philanthropy executives for the Foundation’s annual Funders Forum during which Batten gave a powerful preview of ABFE’s work around community power-building.

Edward Jones, ABFE’s Vice President of Programs, noted that “ABFE’s goal is to increase philanthropic engagement in St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas & Puerto Rico. And through BSCFN’s work around black-led and black-serving social change, ABFE is nurturing a shift toward greater social equity for black and brown communities.”

According to St. Croix Foundation Executive Director, Deanna James, “Over the course of the past year, the Foundation has been sponsoring convenings around the issues of civic leadership, collaboration and community vision building. Ms. Ryan-Hart and Mr. Jones represent the deepening of our commitment to sustained capacity building in our civic sector.”

An extension of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium, which was launched in the summer of 2016 to nurture dynamic collaborations among local nonprofits, BSCFN’s and ABFE’s visit represents a strategic agenda for the Foundation to empower and support greater self-sufficiency and sustainability in local nonprofits.

Through recent convenings with the Southern Partners Fund and the NY Federal Reserve Bank, St. Croix Foundation recognizes that many political systems were established upon ideals that perpetuate inequity, and as such change cannot take place until deeply entrenched and inequitable systems are better understood and  then reframed  with equity as a principle and a practice.

“It is the Foundation’s belief that this kind of systems-change can only occur if we arm our community with the necessary information, tools and capacity to be active challengers to the status-quo,” James continued. “The work of Ms. Ryan-Hart, and separately the BSCFN, has the potential to positively impact our community by helping stakeholders identify their own voice and therein, their own power and capital.” James concluded.

During Ms. Ryan-Hart’s visit, the Foundation will be convening both community-wide meetings as well as smaller more intimate sessions with local nonprofit stakeholders. The first convening will be a Keynote Address on Monday, August 6, 2018, and is open to the general public, including private and public sector stakeholders. The Foundation will continue with private sessions with Ms. Ryan-Hart and ABFE’s BSCFN throughout the week specifically geared toward their partners in the Nonprofit Consortium.

The upcoming convening is sponsored in part through TEAM Consultants and the Foundation’s Hurricane Recovery CARE Fund. Since the hurricanes, the CARE Fund has awarded over $300,000 to local nonprofits during its first cycle of strategic grants and has secured an additional $275,000 for several other organizations through their national advocacy. Seeking to stabilize St. Croix’s civic sector so that vital nonprofit organizations can become powerful advocates and champions of social justice as well as an organized political power base, the CARE Fund will be awarding a 2nd cycle of grants in upcoming weeks.

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Tuesday Ryan-Hart and the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and to St. Croix’s nonprofits who continue to provide vital services to our community while also moving the needle on entrenched social issues. Special thanks also goes out to the many corporate, foundation, and individual contributors who make St. Croix Foundation Nonprofit Consortium and CARE Fund possible.

For more information on the Foundation’s upcoming convenings, or to RSVP for attendance, please call the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898 or email: jwilliams@stxfoundation.org.

Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund Awards $11,000 in Scholarships

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 27, 2018

The St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce $11,000 in   scholarships awarded to three St. Croix graduates on Thursday, July 26 at St. Croix Foundation’s headquarters in Sunday Market Square through the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established by Junior Gaspard and his family in honor of his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams, whose work ethic, determination, and expectation of excellence led to educational opportunities for multiple generations. The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Scholarship’s goal is to provide opportunities to youth who have met obstacles but persevere despite these challenges and see educational pursuits as a means to achieving personal and professional success that can then be shared with the next generation.

The scholarships were awarded to the following students for enrichment opportunities ranging from culinary arts to nursing:

  • Shauniqua Wells, Monroe College, Major: Culinary Arts
  • Whitney Warner, Houston Community College, Major: Nursing
  • Joshua C. Parris, University of the Virgin Islands, Major: Criminal Justice.

Aimed at supporting students who have had to overcome obstacles to continue their education, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, students had to meet specific requirements that included being a graduate from a St. Croix public high school and junior high school, maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, demonstrating financial need, and most importantly, submitting personal essays that spoke to the reality of their challenges and their journey to pursue their dreams. All recipients are required to submit reports to the Foundation.

Scholarship recipient Joshua Parris expressed his appreciation, stating that, “I am humbly honored by this scholarship award. After the hurricane, my family and I had to live in a tent for a while and all of my dreams seemed so far away.  But seeing where I am now, I know that not giving up has led me to a place of strength. I thank my father and my mother, Junior Gaspard and St. Croix Foundation for making it all a reality.”

A native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School himself, Gaspard and the rest of the Williams/Gaspard family wished to honor his grandparents in a meaningful way in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017.  Launching a named scholarship fund would allow for a longer lasting impact on the lives of students in the community and allow the lessons learned from his grandparents about resilience and perseverance to be passed on to the next generation of leaders.

According to St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, “The Foundation is firmly committed to supporting our young people through innovative and targeted grants and scholarships. In these challenging times, our organization is acutely sensitive to how critical the funds provided through our grants are for our youth. Junior Gaspard is currently our youngest philanthropist in our Donor Advised Fund portfolio, and his dedication to and engagement in addressing the needs of our students – needs he himself has witnessed – is inspiring.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Junior Gaspard (and his family) for his partnership and philanthropic spirit as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee

For more information on St. Croix Foundation, please visit its website at www.stxfoundation.org or call the Foundation directly at 773-9898.

 

St. Croix Foundation Hosting Board of Southern State Funders

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 10, 2018

The St. Croix Foundation is hosting a small delegation of Board members from the Southern Partners Fund from July 11th -15th. Southern Partners Fund is a 501(c)(3) public foundation serving grassroots organizations in rural communities across 12 states; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Their visit to St. Croix serves to help the Foundation make a case for expanding SPF’s funding map to include the Territory.

As an extension of the Foundation’s Nonprofit consortium, which was launched in the summer of 2016 to build capacity and nurture dynamic collaborations among local nonprofits, SPF’s visit represents the 3rd philanthropic convening hosted by the Foundation over the past year.

With a commitment to “giving voice and opportunity to marginalized and underserved communities and families in the rural south, SPF’s mission is to support rural Southern communities and organizations seeking social, economic, and environmental justice by providing them with financial resources, technical assistance and training, and access to systems of information and power to shift the balance of power in their communities.”

Likewise, St. Croix Foundation has been committed to supporting local nonprofits, serving as a fiscal sponsor for over 200 nonprofit organizations and grassroots community projects over the past 27 years. More recently, the Foundation has deepened its commitment to building capacity and nurturing civic leadership within the nonprofit sector.  Since the hurricanes, the Foundation has awarded over $300,000 in strategic grants to local nonprofits through their CARE Fund, seeking to stabilize their civic sector so that vital nonprofit organizations can become powerful advocates and champions of social justice as well as an organized political power base.

During SPF’s visit, the Foundation will be convening intimate meetings with local nonprofit executives primarily those representing organizations committed to advocacy and social justice. SPF Board members will also conduct site visits to local nonprofits and will attend a slow down dinner at Ridge to Reef Farm entirely sourced by local farmers and fishermen to advance the Foundation’s commitment to supporting the St. Croix agricultural industry and advocacy for food sovereignty.

According to St. Croix Foundation Executive Director, Deanna James, “One of the primary goals of the Foundation moving forward is to expand opportunities to get the Territory ‘on the map’ and recognized as a relevant and legitimate funding priority for national funders.” “We fundamentally believe that one of the critical components of civil society is advocacy power. And as it currently stands far too many of our civic organizations are too dependent on government subsidies to exert the level of political power necessary to ensure social justice for the consistuents they serve and the missions they drive.” James continued.

The Foundation, through their Nonprofit Consortium, is working to elevate the efficacy and force of the nonprofit sector and in turn build a model for other communities’ recovery and sustainability efforts.

Toward that end, SPF has already made a commitment to support the work of St. Croix nonprofits through several grant awards in partnership with St. Croix Foundation. The shared history of social and economic oppression has been a compelling case and rationale for SPF exploring ways to deepen their engagement with the VI. They join St. Croix Foundation’s growing network of national philanthropic partners along with the Southeastern Council of Foundations which, in March, invited the Foundation to be the first organization outside the contiguous U.S. to join its 300 member foundation association.

In the upcoming weeks, the Foundation will be sponsoring additional convenings around the issues of civic leadership, collaboration and community vision building.

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Southern Partners Fund, to St. Croix’s nonprofits who continue to provide vital services to our community, and to the many corporate, foundation, and individual contributors who make St. Croix Foundation Nonprofit Consortium and CARE Fund possible.

For more information on Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium please visit www.stxfoundation.org or call the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898.

St. Croix Foundation Releases Data Reports on Post-Hurricane Conditions

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 29, 2018

St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce to the community the release of two reports that summarize the data collected in two surveys conducted post Hurricanes Irma and Maria: the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment.

The first report, A Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Survey, was launched on the island of St. Croix three weeks after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in order to determine the immediate needs of local nonprofits. Because the Foundation had full internet connectivity and electricity the organization quickly became a hub for over 25 displaced nonprofit organizations and relief agencies for the next 100 days. Senior Program Officer, Lilli Cox commented that “Our work with St. Croix’s nonprofits has taught us that our civic sector plays a critical role in our community. After the storm, the Foundation witnessed countless nonprofit organizations mobilize to serve children and families, the elderly, and residents who had medical needs and who were unable to receive help from government agencies. We knew we needed data about the sector’s capacity to fulfill the increased demands for their services in order support them and get them fully functioning.”

The survey was conducted within the first 60 days and during that time, the Foundation polled 28 nonprofits; although responses were limited due to communication interruptions, the organization was able to direct resources to 60% of nonprofits that responded to the survey. Armed with data, the Foundation provided referrals to DEMA (the Danish Emergency Management Agency) for repairs and mitigation work to stabilize facilities, such as a blue roof for the Caribbean Center for Boys and Girls and flood mitigation work for the St. Croix Landmarks Society. The Foundation also secured grant funding, provided free office space, and made vital connections for nonprofits based on the first survey.

As efforts shifted from immediate relief to longer term recovery, the St. Croix Foundation launched a follow-up nonprofit survey asking in-depth questions to further understand the damages, losses, operational statuses, current needs, and more of local nonprofits. A total of 57 nonprofit organizations submitted surveys. The St. Croix Foundation is urging nonprofits to use this information as a tool to further capacity building and grant efforts, ultimately building a more resilient community. Cox stated, “This data has been invaluable in assisting the Foundation in knowing how to best support our nonprofits, how to be strategic with our grantmaking, how to advocate nationally for further support, and determining what technical or administrative assistance will have the most impact. It’s incredibly important to see the story, the people, behind the data.” The report provides data indicating that, 4.5 to 5.5 months after the storm, 73% of organizations polled were still operating on a limited basis or not at all yet almost 70% of organizations had seen an increase in demand for their services or programs.

Also released today is St. Croix Foundation’s second report summarizing results from the Foundation’s Individual and Household Needs Assessment Survey. In an effort to fill the void of data collection regarding highly impacted neighborhoods and individuals and to streamline the supply chain of hurricane relief supplies, the St. Croix Foundation developed a survey to inform immediate relief strategies.

To conduct the surveys, Foundation team members developed questions with input from community partners and then recruited and trained 50 volunteers to administer the survey with an emphasis placed on compassion, useful techniques, consistency in approach, and setting realistic expectations for residents about how the information being gathered would be used. Data was gathered using convenience sampling. Early on in the data collection phase of the project, volunteer surveyors were dispatched to community events where large groups of hurricane survivors would be gathered such as at free hurricane relief supply distribution events. Residents were typically approached for their voluntary participation in the survey while they were waiting in line. As data collection progressed, by early November shifts in recovery began to occur including an increase in power restoration, more residents returning to work, and fewer relief distribution events being held. At that time, SCF’s Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Coordinator reviewed the estates (neighborhoods) represented in the existing sample and strategically dispatched volunteers to locations to capture the needs of residents in areas that the Foundation knew to be hard hit but had been under-sampled or not sampled at all. In few instances volunteers were dispatched in teams for door-to-door outreach in targeted neighborhoods or housing complexes. An emphasis was placed on reaching low to moderate income residents to ensure their needs and perspectives would be represented in future conversations about recovery.

Responses were collected from over 1,000 individuals. Executive Director Deanna James stated that “The data from this report helped the Foundation to make over 350 referrals that resulted in residents receiving targeted public assistance. This information was vital and quickly helped the Foundation steer agencies in the right direction in terms of long term planning.”

St. Croix Foundation expresses deep gratitude to the partnering agencies that made both surveys possible. The vision could not have come to life without the support of volunteers and the community at large.

The Foundation’s two surveys and accompanying reports were funded through the St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund, which is supporting holistic recovery through a community-based approach to future development. In the early days after the hurricanes, the Foundation’s CARE Fund facilitated the shipment and distribution of hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, water, clothing, baby supplies and medical supplies and sponsored the shipment and security of over 117,847 pounds of critical relief supplies. Today, the Foundation is supporting St. Croix nonprofits through grantmaking, technical skill development, and advocacy as well as serving as the fiscal sponsor for hurricane recovery projects such as the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group.

The CARE Fund which funded the data collection is made possible by countless local and national individuals, corporations, grassroots movements, and foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, AARP Foundation, Limetree Bay Terminals and Crucian Gold among many other generous philanthropic partners who support the Foundation’s operations to ensure the sound development and administration of its own programs.

For more information on the St. Croix Foundation visit the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org or contact the St. Croix Foundation directly at 340-773-9898. Read the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Summary and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment Summary here.