Category: Press Releases

St. Croix Foundation Releases the 2021 KIDS COUNT USVI Data Book

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 (SCF) is pleased to announce the release of the 2021 KIDS COUNT USVI Data Book on December 15, 2021, at 10:00 AM AST during a Virtual Community Stakeholder Presentation that is open to the public.

A national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), KIDS COUNT has evolved into one of the largest, long-standing data repositories in the United States focused on the status of children and families. A national network of nonprofits, foundations, and consortia from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, KIDS COUNT is seen as a vital means of providing critical data about child well-being for many federal, state, and local government agencies.

During the virtual presentation on the 15th, SCF’s KIDS COUNT Team will provide an overview of the 2021 Data Book to Government Partners and Community Stakeholders. The 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book comprehensively reports on U.S. Virgin Islands youth in four primary domains (Family and Community, Education, Health, and Economic Well-being). An electronic copy of the Data Book will be distributed to participants. Parents, educators, nonprofit organizations, policy makers, and public administrators are likely to find the information in this year’s Data Book to be useful. Interested parties may register for the Presentation at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qc-yopj0pE9MQpJnL5GuvsXcFpF3lhjm3. There is no cost to attend and all are welcome.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book includes data for the years 2017 through 2020, collected from the most current available data sources (including Governmental as well as Nonprofit) throughout the Territory. One targeted population that the KIDS COUNT Team seeks to highlight is the often-overlooked subpopulation of our children: adolescents.

President and CEO of St. Croix Foundation, Deanna James, stated: ”From the outset of this work, the Foundation has been affirmed in our belief that data is just the beginning. What our community does with the data is the real task before us. As the territory continues to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, concurrent with a protracted hurricane recovery, our KIDS COUNT USVI Team believes that, collectively, community stakeholders can seize the opportunity to address the inequities that persist in the lives of children and families.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to the Annie E. Casey Foundation and its many local partners from the public, private and civic sectors for their collaboration and commitment to children and families in the Virgin Islands. The Foundation also thanks GlobalGiving for its generous, unwavering support of its work. Questions about the initiative should be directed to President Deanna James of St. Croix Foundation at 340.773.9898 or staff@stxfoundation.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 U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Croix Foundation has a track record of leading impactful community development initiatives and has received national and international recognition for its work in education reform, small business development, and community revitalization. Today, the Foundation is focused on energy independence, workforce development, education, youth and families, and providing support and capacity building for nonprofit organizations through fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.

St. Croix Foundation Awards $160,000 in Sustaining Impact Grants through CARE Fund

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 that $160,000 in grants were awarded to 11 member organizations of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium. Made possible through the Foundation’s CARE Fund and GlobalGiving, the 2021 CARE Sustaining Impact Grant serves to build operational and programmatic capacity among nonprofits as they advance COVID-19 relief efforts.

The CARE Fund, which was established in the immediate aftermath of 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, supports strategic, high-impact investments in the Virgin Islands for disaster recovery and community resilience. Now a permanent Fund of the Foundation’s, in this cycle of grantmaking the CARE Fund prioritized 1) Stabilizing nonprofits serving vulnerable populations through the Open-Door Funding; and 2) Providing direct support to frontline NPOs to build or expand programming.

This 2021 cycle of the CARE Fund was invitation only and offered to St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium (NPC) member organizations. A coalition of 25-plus nonprofits, NPC is a progressive civic model that collaborates around four vital sectors including, 1) health and human services, 2) education and youth development, 3) environs (built and natural), and 4) arts, culture, and Crucian heritage. Applications were carefully reviewed by the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee, with the following nonprofits and charitable projects receiving awards between $10,000-$15,000:

  1. Caribbean Center for Girls and Boys of the Virgin Islands: Out-of-School Programming
  2. Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts: Art Ignites!
  3. Diane Hampton Breast Cancer Project: Art Therapy Workshops
  4. FYR is LIT: BLAZE Literacy and Teen Leadership Development
  5. Music in Motion: 39th Dance Season
  6. Croix Environmental Association: Afterschool Environmental Education
  7. Croix Landmarks Society: Junior Preservationists Program
  8. Croix Long Term Recovery Group: Resilience Hub Planning
  9. Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts: Strategic Development Organizational Capacity Building
  10. Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition: Organizational Capacity Building
  11. World Ocean School: Roseway Program Capacity Building

Funding for this round of grants will support programs that collaborate to leverage scarce resources and span literacy skill development, art therapy, and organizational capacity to achieve greater impact. Awards were made possible through a grant award from GlobalGiving, a global crowdfunding platform that connects donors with meaningful causes in over 165 countries and operates on a core principle that “good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time.” In 2020, the GlobalGiving community raised more than $105 million for projects in 169 countries alone.

To date, St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund has invested over $1.9 million into the Virgin Islands’ ongoing recovery efforts through innovative and strategic grantmaking, workforce development, energy independence, and food security initiatives. President and CEO of St. Croix Foundation, Deanna James, stated, “With the Virgin Islands continuing to be outside of most national philanthropies’ funding sphere, GlobalGiving’s trust-based approach to grantmaking allows the Foundation to not only keep doors open but build capacity in the civic sector for sustained impact.”

St. Croix Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to GlobalGiving and to the Virgin Islands nonprofits, national partners and foundations as well as the Foundation’s Grants Review Committee for its engagement.

For more information on how you can support the CARE 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.

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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.

St. Croix Foundation Opens Sprint to Excellence Education Relief Grant for Local Nonprofits

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 its Sprint to Excellence Education Relief Grant for St. Croix nonprofit organizations effective October 29. The application deadline is November 19. Made possible through funding from the U.S. Federal CARES Act through the U.S. Virgin Islands Office of the Governor, SCF will award grants of up to $100,000 to local nonprofits offering educational enrichment opportunities to youth amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. Croix Foundation’s 2021 Sprint to Excellence Grant is designed to provide funding support through the summer of 2022 to nonprofit organizations in the St. Croix district offering educational programs and projects including but not limited to interdisciplinary academic support, social-emotional learning, literacy, bridge programming, before and after school programs, summer programming, tutoring, and/or other interventions which support students and staff in the learning process or improve learning environments. Through the Sprint to Excellence Education Relief Grant, St. Croix Foundation will award nonprofit organizations a maximum of $100,000 each in a competitive application process.

Eligible nonprofits must be currently providing services in the St. Croix District and be a 501(c)3 organization registered with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or a charitable effort operating as a sponsored project of a 501(c)3 organization. Applicants must also be a registered nonprofit in the Virgin Islands for three (3) years or more with a current Letter of Good Standing from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office of the U.S. Virgin Islands; OR partner with an organization that meets the above criteria. Grant funds may be used as operational or programmatic funding to sustain or expand educational initiatives on St. Croix that seek to improve student and/or staff success through relevant and rigorous enrichment opportunities through September of 2022. Applicants must also demonstrate collaboration with other nonprofit organizations.

All applications will be carefully reviewed by St. Croix Foundation’s Grants Review Committee. The Foundation has also developed strict reporting guidelines and phased grant award disbursements to ensure the highest degree of accountability and support for successful outcomes. Awards will be announced on December 3, 2021.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “Long before the 2017 hurricanes and the current pandemic, local nonprofits have provided frontline relief, filling critical service gaps for our most underserved and vulnerable populations. Recognizing the unprecedented challenges our youth are facing today, educational programming, outside of school, offers important touchpoints in their lives, which is part of a critical support system during these challenging times. For this reason, the Foundation has taken great care to design holistic application criteria which encompass both academic and psycho-social programming.”

Since its inception, St. Croix Foundation has offered a diverse portfolio of educational grants and scholarships seeking to improve outcomes for teachers, students, and the community as a whole. The 31-year-old Organization has also spearheaded several Territory-wide educational initiatives, such as its Model Schools Initiative, which received recognition from the National School Boards Association. More recently, the Foundation’s work includes education policy research and the KIDS COUNT USVI Initiative.

Organizations that wish to apply for the 2021 Sprint to Excellence Education Relief Grant are invited to visit St. Croix Foundation’s website at https://www.stxfoundation.org/youth-education/grants-scholarships/ to review requirements and instructions for submitting proposals via the Foundation’s online portal. For more information on the 2021 Sprint to Excellence Education Relief 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

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.