Author: Lilli Cox

St. Croix Foundation Celebrates 31 Years of Mission-Driven Service & Impact in the U.S. Virgin Islands

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is celebrating 31 years of service to the U.S. Virgin Islands community on September 24, 2021.

Since 1990, St. Croix Foundation (SCF) has been advancing its mission to encourage greater philanthropic activity, to marshal resources, and to act as a catalyst to benefit the people of the Virgin Islands. As a place-based community foundation established in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, SCF’s founders, Philip Gerard and Michael Neuburger, intentionally positioned the organization to support broad-based community development grounded in the civic sector. As a unique model in the field of philanthropy, the Foundation’s portfolio of work and impact includes grantmaking as well as direct programming and fiscal sponsorship. In total, SCF has been the conduit of $43 million into the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For over three decades, the Foundation has served as a catalyst for systemic change, marshaling resources to focus on nonprofit capacity building as the cornerstone of its community development work. As the fiscal sponsor of up to 40 projects at any given time and a total of over 250 charitable projects since its inception, SCF encourages philanthropic activity by allowing projects that do not have formal 501(c)3 status to operate under SCF’s umbrella and apply for and raise critical funding. To date, SCF has been the conduit of over $23 million in funding for projects providing vital community services. The St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is a current sponsored project of the Foundation and an example of the invaluable role of SCF’s Fiscal Sponsorship services. LTRG is a “cooperative body made up of representatives from faith-based, non-profit, government, business and other organizations working within St. Croix to assist individuals and families as they recover from Hurricane Maria.” As a sponsored project, the LTRG, in partnership with Lutheran Social Services, has rebuilt 71 homes housing 141 people, and provided lifesaving case management services for affected residents.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “As with isolated, under-served and under-resourced communities of color around the globe, in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, capacity for organizations to leverage the full power of grantmaking was severely limited. Our Founders understood that the Virgin Islands needed an organization focused solely on strengthening civil society and, today, SCF’s results are evidence of their unconventional approach.”

St. Croix Foundation’s total portfolio also includes over $1 million in grantmaking and scholarships, which provides immediate relief and operational and programmatic support to organizations and individuals – funding that intersects with the Foundation’s own direct programming and its fiscal sponsored projects.

The Foundation’s direct services catalyze change, providing model programs that introduce equitable, new systems to the Territory. Today, serving as a holistic grassroots model for philanthropy in under-resourced communities of color like the Virgin Islands, the Foundation is focusing on a legacy project to completely renovate the Alexander Theater in Sunday Market Square. As a longstanding vision of SCF’s Founders and Board Members, the theater’s renovation is testimony to the Foundation’s collaborative and strategic approach of leveraging and intersecting projects for multiple benefits.

James stated that “SCF is busier than ever, leading some of its most comprehensive initiatives, from our Nonprofit Consortium and the restoration of the Old Alexander Theater to Kids Count USVI data collection. We are oftentimes, quietly, but always intentionally and collaboratively, building new, equitable systems around food security, energy justice, workforce development, nonprofit capacity building – and data collection. With each passing year, as the work of the Foundation expands and deepens, we could not be more grateful for our Founders, our current Board of Directors, our Staff, volunteers, Sponsors, national funders, and thought partners, and of course, our local nonprofits. Together, we are amplifying a truly progressive, high-impact approach to community development.”

The Foundation invites anyone interested in learning more and supporting its current projects to contact SCF’s President, Deanna James, at djames@stxfoundation.org or visit the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org.

St. Croix Foundation Nonprofit Consortium Celebrates 5 Years of Collective Service, Impact & Leadership

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development’s (SCF) Nonprofit Consortium is pleased to invite the Virgin Islands Community to its virtual 5th Anniversary Community Presentation on Thursday, September 16th, from 6:00pm – 7:15pm. Hosted by SCF in partnership with the Nonprofit Consortium, the Community Presentation will showcase the investment of the Foundation in the local Virgin Islands civic sector and highlight the collaborative service of our Nonprofit Partners.

Established in 2016, exactly one year prior to 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Croix Foundation officially launched the Nonprofit Consortium through a series of table conversations amongst over 50 grassroots and 501(c)3 local nonprofits to strategically build capacity within St. Croix’s Civic Sector in response to economic and political shifts that were decimating an already small donor pool. With a total investment of over $2.5 million into the Nonprofit Consortium, St. Croix Foundation along with NPC Partners will present its impact with scheduled contributors, which include all 30 members of the Nonprofit Consortium as well as national philanthropic thought partners from the Association of Black Foundation Executives and GlobalGiving. As stated by Deanna James, Foundation President: “With our status as a Territory, the U.S. Virgin Islands has a stifled voice, no vote at the federal level, and sit in a blind spot for many national funders. We knew that to improve access to services for our most vulnerable populations, the Foundation needed to work strategically to raise the collective profile and impact of our Civic Sector partners. To date, we have successfully gotten the US Virgin Islands onto the philanthropic funding map and are fostering new partnerships  between our Nonprofits and a growing network of national private (nongovernmental) funders.”

Today, the NPC is a membership collective of roughly 30 civic entities serving St. Croix that has been nurturing and enhancing meaningful, community-based collaboration with the overarching goal of supporting greater social impact with investments that benefit the people of the Virgin Islands. The Consortium is organized into 4 sectors, including (1) Crucian Heritage, Arts,  and Culture, (2) the Built and Natural Environs, (3) Education and Youth Development, and (4) Health and Human Services, with a collective service reach of over 10,000 residents. With 57% of member organizations reporting a staff size of only one to two employees, the Consortium’s organizations are harnessing the highest levels of collaboration for maximum efficiency and reach by emphasizing collaboration over competition. By creating space for nonprofits to share their visions, their missions, their data, and their stories, the Consortium has developed new collaborations, networks, and healthy systems in the US Virgin Islands.

The virtual Community Presentation this Thursday, September 16 at 6PM will report on the structure that is making the Consortium poised for even greater collaborative work, how nonprofits continued to excel even under COVID conditions, and how the Civic Sector is making the case for even greater investment in 2021 and beyond.

To join the St. Croix Foundation Nonprofit Consortium’s 5th Anniversary Community Presentation, Thursday, September 16, from 6:00 – 7:15PM, register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/st-croix-foundation-the-nonprofit-consortium-5-years-of-achievementtickets-169663521159

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to its partners and funders, GlobalGiving, TEAM Consultants, HIVE Fund, and the Momentum Fund for sharing an early, innovative vision of collaborative impact; and to the cadre of local nonprofits who provide critical services to our community. For more information on the Nonprofit Consortium or the Community Presentation, please contact staff@stxfoundation.org.

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium. www.stxfoundation.org

SCF Supports Local Nonprofits through Covid-19 with the 2021 CARE Sustaining Impact Grant

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce the opening of an invitation-only grant cycle for St. Croix nonprofit organizations from August 30 to September 30, 2021. Made possible through an award from GlobalGiving’s Maria and Irma Relief Fund, SCF will award Sustaining Impact Grants of up to $15,000 through its CARE Fund to members of the Nonprofit Consortium, a 30-member coalition of nonprofits who is on the frontlines, serving low-income populations and groups disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Launched in the immediate aftermath of 2017 Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the CARE Fund is designed to provide direct support to front-line relief efforts and holistic long-term recovery strategies. Since then, through CARE, SCF has raised and awarded over $1.8 million to support strategic, high-impact investments in the Virgin Islands for hurricane preparedness, resilience, and recovery – and now relief efforts in response to Covid-19. Through the CARE Fund, St. Croix Foundation will open an invitation-only grant cycle to award up to $15,000 in capacity building and impact sustaining grants to local nonprofits serving populations who have been impacted by Covid-19. Organizations eligible to apply include those active in the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium, which was established in 2016 as a collective of grassroots and 501(c)3 organizations serving the community in the areas of health care, youth and education, and environmental preservation, and arts and culture. Through the NPC, deep impact is already being felt in systemically stressed sectors of our civil society through the convening of nonprofit organizations to discuss sustainability, impact, and capacity building and is fostering meaningful support and compiling critical data respective to how to strengthen and sustain local civic organizations. To sustain this work, NPC members will be invited to submit a proposal beginning August 30, 2021. Applications are due by September 30, 2021, and awards will be announced on October 15, 2021.

Due to the risks surrounding Covid-19 and the annual threat of hurricanes, in June of 2020, St. Croix Foundation relaunched its CARE Fund as a permanent fund to support immediate and long-term needs relating to (1) Operating Support for Essential Nonprofits, (2) Programmatic Support for Frontline Responders, (3) Data Collection for Strategic Recovery, and (4) Support for Community Resiliency and Systems Innovations. In this phase of grantmaking, the Foundation will be awarding grants to support priorities #1 and #2 to ensure local nonprofits remain operationally strong enough to deliver services to residents in need.

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to partner and global funder, GlobalGiving, for its immediate and continued support throughout the process of recovery and resilience-building; and to the cadre of local nonprofits who provide critical services to our community. For more information on the CARE Fund’s 2021 Sustaining Impact Grant, please contact staff@stxfoundation.org/

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION:

Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium. www.stxfoundation.org

ABOUT GLOBALGIVING:

GlobalGiving is a nonprofit that supports other nonprofits by connecting them to donors and companies. Since 2002, Global Giving has helped trusted, community-led organizations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and hundreds of places in between) access the tools, training, and support they need to make our world a better place. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised more than $588M to support 30,022 projects in 175+ countries. https://www.globalgiving.org/

St. Croix Foundation & Nonprofit Consortium Partners Host Third Engage VI Virtual Town Hall of a 3-Part Series

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands –  St. Croix Foundation for Community Development in conjunction with Nonprofit Consortium Partners Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism Inc., St. Croix Environmental Association, and Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition will be hosting the third segment of the Engage VI Virtual Community Town Hall Series on Thursday, July 29, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. The Town Hall is themed “Reimagine St. Croix: A Vision for Healthy People, Thriving Economies, and A Sustainable Environment.”

The last of a three-part series, the Town Hall will provide community space in which residents will have the opportunity to learn more about alternative paths toward thriving economies and a clean, sustainable environment.  Like the first two town halls, the convening is intended to establish an open dialogue between policy makers, regulators, and the Community, and to establish a vision for the future.

Scheduled contributors include representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency; Nathaniel Smith, Chief Equity Officer of Partnership for Southern Equity; Wayne Biggs, Chief Executive Officer of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority, and Sydney Paul, Senior Manager of Business Intelligence and Marketing at the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park. The session will follow how we as a community might align the various visions set out for the territory under the Peoples’ Voice.  To learn more and to join this important community convening, individuals can register today at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/engage-vi-environmental-town-hall-tickets-153862204997.

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.

St. Croix Foundation & the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund Award $15,000 in Scholarships to St. Croix Students for 2021

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce $15,000 in scholarships awarded to three St. Croix graduates on Friday, July 23rd, at a virtual presentation at St. Croix Foundation (SCF) headquartered in Sunday Market Square. Scholarships were made possible through the fourth annual cycle for the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and SCF’s Foundation Scholars Fund.

Three scholarships of $5,000 each were awarded through the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and the Foundation Scholars Fund to support students who have faced and overcome inordinate challenges. This year’s scholarship recipients persevered despite extraordinary trials throughout their high school journey, including Category Five Hurricanes, a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, as well as the myriad of obstacles young people face today. Despite the trials, they also recognized that education is a pathway to achieving personal and professional success. Applicants were required to meet specific criteria that include being a high school graduate from St. Croix, maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, demonstrating financial need, and more importantly, submitting personal essays and participating in a formal interview with the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee. Candidates were asked to speak to the reality of their challenges and journey to pursue their dreams. Awards were presented to the following students:

  • Abigail Valery, Temple University, Major: Music
  • Caliyah Helliger, Howard University, Major: Biochemistry
  • Sanaa Burke, University of Delaware, Major: Climatology/Meteorology

The Patrick & Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established in 2018 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma by Junior Gaspard, a St. Croix native and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School. Wishing to honor his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams, Gaspard and his family, alongside the St. Croix Foundation launched the Fund as a vehicle to achieve long-lasting, life-changing impact on the lives of students in the St. Croix community. Gaspard, who presents awards annually to scholarship recipients, stated that “The high level of achievement displayed by our award recipients as they navigated an academic year that was largely virtual, is a testament to their character and perseverance. My family and I are excited to support them as they begin this next chapter of their personal and academic journey.”

Also in attendance at the award presentation were members of the Gaspard family who provided counsel and motivation, telling awardees to “remember you bring the Virgin Islands with you wherever you go,” “We have future leaders here that we are supporting,” “We are part of your tribe and your village. We are here invested in you, in your success”, and from a grandson of Patrick and Amelia Williams, “This is a way to share who they [my grandparents] were, with you … Amelia and Patrick would be very proud.”

To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has provided a total of $47,000 in scholarships to 11 students who have had to overcome obstacles to continue their education, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and now COVID-19. SCF is also pleased to report that all prior awardees are still pursuing their course of study and members of the Fund’s first cohort of awardees are now preparing to graduate. 2021 scholarship recipient Sanaa Burke, who hopes to shine a light on St. Croix and the Virgin Islands’ vulnerability to climate, expressed her appreciation, stating that “This scholarship will allow me to further my education while not having to extensively worry about where the funds to pay for tuition will come from. This has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders!”

According to St. Croix Foundation Program Officer, Jonathan Williams, “What we know about higher education is that it can provide students with viable pathways toward success. The reality for students in Black and Brown communities is that those opportunities often stay just out of reach. Our goal for the Williams Fund recipients is to provide them with an additional support system on their journey toward discovering their personal and professional path unencumbered. Each year as we work with students through the selection process, we are reminded of how necessary this fund remains.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to the Gaspard family for their partnership and philanthropic spirit as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee for its engagement. The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund welcomes gifts to allow for additional students to be provided the chance to pursue their education. St. Croix Foundation would also like to thank the DIAM Fund for its partnership and contributions to the Foundation Scholars Fund.

For more information about the Williams Opportunity Fund and how you can support this special scholarship opportunity and those like it for our young people, please contact St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898 or visit our website at www.stxfoundation.org to learn more.

2021 National Kids Count Data Book Paints Compelling Picture on the Conditions of Children and Families

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) released its 32nd edition of the KIDS COUNT® Data Book, which highlights indicators of child well-being in four (4) areas. Supported by a national network of non-profits, foundations, and consortia, KIDS COUNT includes members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Launched in 1990, the Data Book is widely used as a means of sharing critical data about the welfare of children at the federal, state and local levels and is aimed at increasing public advocacy and informing policy and decision-making in states, the districts, and the territories.

KIDS COUNT Network partners collect local data related to child well-being and are tasked with disseminating their findings publicly through a local Data Book and other communication formats that promote local engagement and action. In January 2020, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development (SCF) was invited to lead the KIDS COUNT initiative for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Geared toward the needs of local Virgin Islands communities, St. Croix Foundation is designing tools and strategies to tell the story about children in the Virgin Islands to answer the overarching questions: Where are our children and how are they faring? On May 1, 2021 the Foundation published its 2020 Kids Count USVI Snapshot entitled “Building Level Pathways for Our Children,” which frames SCF’s Vision for Kids Count to activate the data related to child well-being and highlights the current status of data systems in the Territory. The Snapshot also outlines the Foundation’s plans to hone in on an older youth population by prioritizing the Territory’s ‘Opportunity Youth’— young people ages 16 through 24.

A striking indicator presented in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2021 Data Book focuses on American children’s access to health insurance: 6% of the nation’s children, 4.4 million, lacked health insurance in 2019. As reported by AECF in its June 21, 2021 press statement, “This was the first rate increase in a decade and that was before the pandemic hit” and outlined several recommendations, urging policymakers to “use this moment to repair the damage the pandemic has caused — and to address long-standing inequities it has exacerbated.” Recommendations included:

  • Congress should make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent.
  • State and local governments should prioritize the recovery of hard-hit communities of color.
  • States should expand income support that helps families care for their children.
  • States that have not done so should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strengthen public schools and pathways to postsecondary education and training.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), a community whose families and children have experienced back-to-back crises with the devasting twin Hurricanes of 2017, compounded by the current Covid-19 pandemic, answering the question, how are children in the USVI faring, is critical. Currently, SCF is working in concert with a wide spectrum of civic and government stakeholders to collect real-time data and to help build community engagement and advocacy for its Kids Count USVI work. Toward that end, the Foundation is looping its social impact organizations (i.e., nonprofits) more intentionally into the circle, and in closer linkage with public sector partners, in order to construct a knitted and cohesive system of safety nets, especially for the most at-risk youth.

According to SCF’s President Deanna James, “Recognizing that data by itself is insufficient to move the needle on the welfare of our children, the Foundation remains committed to moving policy, encouraging community advocacy and cultivating ‘systems thinking.’ Leaning on our civic, public and private sector partnerships, our long-range goal is to identify the pressure points that will activate the data, reduce vulnerabilities, build reinforced safety nets and improve overall outcomes for all children.”

St. Croix Foundation projects the release of the KIDS COUNT USVI DATA BOOK in the Fall of 2021. For more information on Kids Count, please visitor phone the Foundation’s office at 340.773.9898.

Release Information
The 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book will be available June 21 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/databook. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.                                                                             

About St. Croix Foundation
St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is a place-based operating foundation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Founded over 30 years ago in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, SCF has been dedicated to the issues of equity and holistic, community-rooted development, and has directed laser focus and resources on highly strategic grantmaking, direct services, and community building. To date, the Foundation has been a conduit of $43 million charitable dollars into the Virgin Islands Community. For more information on Kids Count, visit St. Croix Foundation website: www.stxfoundation.org

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

St. Croix Foundation and Nonprofit Consortium Partners Host Second Engage VI Virtual Town Hall of a Three-Part Series

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development in conjunction with Nonprofit Consortium Partners Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism Inc., St. Croix Environmental Association, and Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition will be hosting the second segment of our Engage VI Virtual Community Town Hall Series on Thursday, June 10, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. The Town Hall will thematically follow Heavy Industry and the Food That We Eat: Impacts on Agriculture and Fisheries on St. Croix.

Thursday’s Town Hall will serve as an information session during which residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of heavy industry on St. Croix’s environment and create an open forum for local farmers to discuss the impacts of recent oil releases on their farms. Like the previous town hall, this session is intended to establish an open dialogue between policy makers, regulators, and the Community.

Scheduled contributors from our local agricultural community and academic experts will shape the dialogue around the impacts heavy industry has had on food security and sovereignty for St. Croix. Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, VI Department of Agriculture, VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources, VI Senate Committee on Economic Development & Agriculture, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been invited to provide pertinent information to residents. To learn more and to join this important community convening, individuals can register today at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/engage-vi-environmental-town-hall-tickets-153862204997.

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.

SCF Opens Fourth Scholarship Cycle of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the fourth cycle of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund for St. Croix youth on April 15, 2021. 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.

2021 graduates from a St. Croix public high school who 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 June 1.

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, in honor of 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. To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has awarded nine scholarships to St. Croix students totaling $35,000 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, St. Agnes College, and more.

Gaspard conceived of the fund after visiting St. Croix post-Hurricane Maria and Irma. Wishing to do something that could have a long-term impact and knowing first-hand the challenges high-school students face preparing for and getting resources for college, Gaspard worked with St. Croix Foundation to develop the fund to meet the needs of youth. “The last year of this pandemic has required a high level of flexibility and adaptability from students all across the world, and especially so in the Virgin Islands. We are confident that our 2021 award recipients will continue to display the perseverance to excel in their academic careers as we enter our Post Covid ‘normal’,” Gaspard commented.

Gaspard has seen firsthand the drive and ability of St. Croix youth and knows many just need access to the resources necessary to seize the opportunity of higher education. 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. The selection criteria for the scholarship also take into consideration the challenges that young people face and the Foundation invites students to demonstrate in essays the reality of their socioeconomic circumstances.

The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund will provide a minimum of 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.

The full application and guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at https://www.stxfoundation.org/youth-education/grants-scholarships/. All applications are due June 1. Applicants will be informed of decisions by June 15. St. Croix Foundation recognizes that while times may be uncertain, students are encouraged to begin the application process immediately. If challenges or questions arise regarding completing the application and/or obtaining required documents, staff is available to assist at lcox@stxfoundation.org.

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! Special thanks are also extended to the Gaspard family for spearheading fundraising initiatives and working to support beneficiaries throughout the year. 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.

St. Croix Foundation Solarizes Second Community Center Adding 6000 KW of Sustainable Power to the Island of St. Croix

By: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce the completion of the second phase of its Pilot Solar-Supported Community Center Project and Workforce Development Initiative with the solarization of the senior citizen housing center, Flambouyant Gardens, in November of 2020. This milestone is being memorialized at a presentation on April 14, 2021 with members of St. Croix Foundation Team and Flambouyant Gardens.

The solar initiative was formally launched in June 2019 and continues to build infrastructure around neighborhood resilience, energy independence, and food security. As a multi-layered resilience model, the Foundation graduated the Virgin Islands’ first cohort of local solar installers, providing workforce development opportunities in a field that nurtures energy independence for St. Croix. As part of the students’ on-the-job training, the Caribbean Center for Boys and Girls of the Virgin Islands and, most recently, Flambouyant Gardens Senior Independent Living Center were both solarized and will serve as resilience hubs that fortify neighboring communities in times of crisis. Funded in partnership with the VI Department of Labor, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, GlobalGiving and several local partners, this project is a model of cross-sector collaboration that builds economic, energy, and community resilience through workforce development, energy independence and strategic, innovative grantmaking for nonprofit capacity building.

During the first phase of the Project, 9 students aged 18-28, successfully completed a 6-month course through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and received intense classroom instruction in NCCER Core Curriculum, Electrical Levels 1-4, and Solar PV Installation. As of June 2020, 100% of the cohort was fully employed in the field and by October, two participants had been promoted to Team Lead, while one is training to specialize in Tesla power walls. At the conclusion of the classroom component of this program, students received on-the-job training installing Solar Photovoltaic Systems by completing the installation of a full solar system on the roof of the Caribbean Center for the Boys and Girls of the Virgin Islands (CCBGVI).In November of 2020, the second center, Flambouyant Gardens, home to 56 senior citizens, was also solarized through this innovative and holistic approach to community development. The solar systems build capacity in targeted community centers serving children, families, and the elderly. Today, the CCBGVI enjoys energy independence and utility savings of up to 40%, and Flambouyant Gardens has received over $500 in savings, thus far.

In testimony to St. Croix Foundation’s commitment to local nonprofits, the initiative is nurturing a culture of resilience by empowering nonprofits to achieve a reduction in utility costs, the savings from which can be reinvested in direct services that benefit the communities and vulnerable populations they serve. In total, the solar system grants provided by the Foundation are benefitting over 160 youth and elderly every day.

“We are grateful for the collaboration of St. Croix Foundation in the solarization of the Flambouyant Gardens senior community center,” stated Junia John-Straker, Chief Executive Officer for Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands. “It is an opportunity for LSSVI to reinforce our social service support to the community and make Flambouyant Gardens a resilient hub during disasters. Having solar means we can provide reliable power for low-income seniors during power outages — helping them keep communication lines open, store their medication safely and maintain access to information available to them,” John-Straker continued.

In addition to the benefits during blue skies, in the event of future disasters, all selected solar-powered community centers have committed to serving as neighborhood hubs for individuals and families in walking proximity. CCBGVI and Flambouyant Gardens will enable residents in the neighborhood to store medication that requires refrigeration, charge electronic devices, and use an internet connection to communicate with family. Community centers will also have the capacity to serve as localized distribution sites from which aid and relief items can be stored and disseminated in the future. To increase the number of neighborhood resilience hubs, St. Croix Foundation has also begun the solarization phase for its Small Agribusiness Recovery and Revitalization Initiative, in which 7 farmers will receive solar systems for their Farm Tienda. Farm Tiendas are eco-friendly container stores that SCF granted to farmers and outfitted with potable water systems, and now a solar PV system.

This will give farmers off-grid energy and connectivity to process payments, provide lighting and cameras for security, refrigeration for produce, and a small fan. Each farmer has pledged (and already begun during Covid-19) to serve as resilience hubs for their communities.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “These initiatives represent model case studies on the power of place-based philanthropy and St. Croix Foundation’s philosophy and multi-pronged approach to philanthropy: catalyze holistic community development that builds capacity in nonprofits, leverages cross-sector collaboration, and directs resources at the intersections of complex social-economic challenges facing marginalized communities.”

The Foundation is deeply grateful for all its community partners for their support and collaboration in making this project a reality including the Department of Labor, Commissioner Gary Molloy and his Team on the Workforce Development Board, Sustainable System and Design International, Lions Den, and course instructors Ian Caesar, Kevin Dubois, Jensen Berkitt, Gregory Christian, and Sana Joseph. For more information, please feel free to contact the Foundation at 340-773-9898 or visit their website www.stxfoundation.org for more information about the Initiative or to support this and other St. Croix Foundation initiatives.

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.

St. Croix Foundation Awards $65,000 in Capacity Building Grants to Local Nonprofit Consortium in Celebration of National Philanthropy Day

By: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – In recognition of National Philanthropy Day, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce $65,000 in grants were awarded to 13 member organizations of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium. Made possible through the Foundation’s CARE Fund and the newly formed Momentum Fund of the United Philanthropy Forum, the grants serve to build capacity among nonprofits as they advance COVID-19 relief efforts.

Mini-grants totaling $65,000 were awarded to St. Croix nonprofits through St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund, which was established in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, to support strategic, high impact investments in the Virgin Islands for disaster recovery and community resilience. Now a permanent Fund of the Foundation’s, the CARE Fund, in this cycle of grantmaking, is prioritizing 1) Stabilizing nonprofits serving vulnerable populations through the Open Door Funding; 2) Providing direct support for frontline NPOs to build or expand programming. The following organizations were awarded mini-grants of $5000:

  1. Caribbean Center for Girls and Boys of the Virgin Islands
  2. Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts
  3. C.H.A.N.T. (Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism)
  4. Clean Sweep Frederiksted
  5. Liberty Place
  6. FYR is LIT
  7. St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group
  8. Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands
  9. Music in Motion
  10. World Ocean School
  11. St. Croix Environmental Association
  12. St. Croix Montessori School
  13. Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition

This cycle of the CARE Fund was invitation only and offered to St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium member organizations- a coalition of 25 nonprofits that is working collaboratively around four vital sectors including, 1) health and human services, 2) education, 3) environment (built and natural)and, 4)arts, culture, and heritage.

Funding for this round of Grants was made possible by a $65,000 grant award from the United Philanthropy Forum’s Momentum Fund, which is advancing “a model of philanthropy that unapologetically centers racial equity and explicitly prioritizes the needs of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities as part of our national recovery from the COVID-19.” President and CEO of St. Croix Foundation, Deanna James, stated, “Every November, St. Croix Foundation celebrates National Philanthropy Day, a day to pause and say thank you to the countless donors, social impact organizations, and civic and corporate partners who believe, as we do, in the nobility of Philanthropy (defined as ‘the love of humankind’). St. Croix Foundation could think of no better way to recognize National Philanthropy Day than to support local nonprofits who are in turn supporting Our Community.”

To date, the CARE Fund has invested over $1.8 million into the Virgin Islands community’s ongoing recovery efforts through innovative and strategic grantmaking, workforce development, and food security initiatives.

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to the United Philanthropy Forum and to the Virgin Islands nonprofits, national partners and foundations, businesses, individuals, churches, associations, grassroots movements, and everyone in between for their incredible gifts of time, talent, and treasure, as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee for its engagement.

For more information on how you can support this special fund, or to support the Foundation’s numerous other projects/programs please contact St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898, staff@stxfoundation.org, or visit its website at www.stxfoundation.org. For information on the Momentum Fund, visit www.momentumfund.org.

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ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit for over 42 million dollars 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 acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and of course, the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.