Author: admin

St. Croix Food & Wine Experience is Back for 2022 with Wine in the Warehouse

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – October 27, 2022 – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce the return of the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience (FWE)!  After a 2+ year hiatus due to COVID-19, this beloved celebration of the culture and cuisine of St. Croix is back for 2022 with one of the FWE’s most popular events, Wine in the Warehouse, at Bohlke International Aviation on Thursday, December 1, 2022 from 6:00-9:00 PM.

Featuring delectable food from Chopped Champion and James Beard Fellow Shacafrica Simmons, better known as Chef Shac, as well as some of St. Croix’s best chefs and caterers, complemented by fine spirits from Coca Cola 1 – all set against the sleek backdrop of live music and Bohlke International Aviation’s fleet of jets – Wine in the Warehouse is the perfect way to ring in the holidays.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “We are excited to bring back this beloved community event as a means of raising both spirits and funds to support the Foundation’s critical community development work.” James continued, “As we prepare to lead some of the most deeply impactful work in our organization’s history, the revenue generated from Wine in the Warehouse will be leveraged many times over and reinvested into the community to support the Foundation’s territory-wide mission of social, economic, and educational transformation.”

Tickets for the event are $150 per person and will be available for purchase beginning on Thursday, November 1, 2022 at

St. Croix Foundation would like to extend its deepest appreciation to the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, as well as to early sponsors Bohlke International Aviation, The Buccaneer Hotel and CC1. SCF also invites additional corporate citizens to become event partners and sponsors. For more information on how to become a sponsor, please contact 340-773-9898 or email

For information about tickets, events, and sponsorship visit or call the St. Croix Foundation office at 340-773-9898.

U.S. Virgin Islands Aligns with National Data Indicating Children are Suffering A Mental Health Crisis

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands —Recent national data indicates children in America are experiencing a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels according to the 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how children and families are faring. While the U.S. Virgin Islands is not yet included in the National Data Book, the annual report focuses this year on youth mental health, indicating that youth rates of mental health issues have increased through COVID-19 and concurring with a recent assessment by the U.S. Surgeon General that conditions amount to a youth mental health pandemic. The National Data Book also sheds light on other challenges, including those surrounding health and the economy, that are affecting American children.

The report also indicates that children across America, and in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, were more likely to experience anxiety or depression during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis than previously, with the national figure jumping 26%, from 9.4% of children ages 3-17 (5.8 million kids) to 11.8% (7.3 million) between 2016 and 2020, the year COVID-19 swept across the United States. This increase represents 1.5 million more children who are struggling to make it through the day.

In the 2021 KIDS COUNT USVI Data Book published in December of 2021, St. Croix Foundation reported on data from the 2018 USVI Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which indicated that 22.5% of middle schoolers seriously considered suicide, and among high-school respondents, 35.5% “felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks that they stopped doing some usual activities.” President Deanna James of St. Croix Foundation, the steward of the KIDS COUNT USVI Initiative, stated that “As signs of anxiety and depression, this data, collected in the aftermath of Category Five Hurricanes Irma and Maria is an urgent call-to-action for our community to collaborate around robust systems and wrap-around programming to support our children as they navigate a rapidly changing and complex environment.”

Racial and ethnic disparities contribute to disproportionately troubling mental health and wellness conditions among children of color. Nine percent of high schoolers overall but 12% of Black students, 13% of students of two or more races, and 26% of American Indian or Native Alaskan high schoolers attempted suicide in the year previous to the most recent federal survey. Further, many LGBTQ young people are encountering challenges as they seek mental health support. Among heterosexual high school students of all races and ethnicities, 6% attempted suicide; the share was 23% for gay, lesbian or bisexual students.

The release of the 2022 National KIDS COUNT Data Book underscores the need for the Virgin Islands to advocate for and develop a robust data infrastructure to ensure consistent and timely data collection instruments, such as USVI Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the Virgin Islands Community Survey (VICS), are administered. While the USVI does not have more current YRBS data to fully understand how COVID-19, compounded with protracted recovery from the hurricanes, has affected children in the territory, we know that after experiencing five years of disruptive crises impacting their home, school, and community life, as a predominantly Black community, trends suggest that many youth in the Territory may be struggling with behavioral and mental health challenges. Current and consistent YRB data, for example, will provide a longitudinal view to fully understand how COVID-19 and recovery from the hurricanes are affecting children in the territory. The result is the Virgin Islands’ collective ability to identify targeted supports and interventions for the children, families and communities that are most in need. As St. Croix foundation works to strengthen the connectivity across vital systems in the public and nonprofit sectors, there is increasing awareness and commitment to sharing timely and accurate data that reflects in real-time how children in the U.S. Virgin Islands are faring and provides a collective vision and roadmap going into the future.

Each year, the KIDS COUNT National Data Book presents national and state data from 16 indicators in four domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community factors — and ranks the states according to how children are faring overall. The data in this year’s report are a mix of pre-pandemic and more recent figures and are the latest available.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation calls for lawmakers to heed the surgeon general’s warning and respond by developing programs and policies to ease mental health burdens on children and their families. They urge policymakers to:

  • Prioritize meeting children’s basic needs. Youth who grow up in poverty are two to three times more likely to develop mental health conditions than their peers. Children need a solid foundation of nutritious food, stable housing and safe neighborhoods — and their families need financial stability — to foster positive mental health and wellness.
  • Ensure every child has access to the mental health care they need, when and where they need it. Schools should increase the presence of social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals on staff and strive to meet the 250-to-1 ratio of students to counselors recommended by the American School Counselor Association, and they can work with local health care providers and local and state governments to make additional federal resources available and coordinate treatment. (Local data from VIDE indicate that public schools are near or within this recommended ratio, with a 247-to-1 ratio of students to guidance counselors in the St. Thomas/St. John District, and a 164-to-1 ratio in the St. Croix District.)
  • Bolster mental health care that takes into account young people’s experiences and identities. It should be trauma-informed — designed to promote a child’s healing and emotional security — and culturally relevant to the child’s life. It should be informed by the latest evidence and research and should be geared toward early intervention, which can be especially important in the absence of a formal diagnosis of mental illness.
  • St. Croix Foundation’s USVI KIDS COUNT Team, publishes a local Data Book annually, with the next release expected in Fall 2022.


The 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is currently available at Additional information is available at Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at 


Established in 1990, St. Croix 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, small business development, and public-private partnerships, the Foundation has also received international acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on holistic community building and development, policy research and data collection, and the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium. 


The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s young children, youth and young adults 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 KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. 

Black Philanthropy Month Conference to Feature Caribbean Session on Decolonizing the Region & Reparative Philanthropy

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – Black Philanthropy Month is pleased to invite community stakeholders to register for its 2022 Annual Summit: “Fierce Urgency of Now: From Dream to Action,” a global, virtual (with hybrid options) convening with six distinct events over six dates in August. Each session in the Summit is led by prominent funders and thought leaders from distinct regions of the Black Diaspora. Keynotes and respondent panels spotlight issues and strategies that are working to promote funding equity for Afro-descendant people worldwide. Each day of the Summit is designed to cultivate community and identify actionable principles for equitable, impactful funding of Black communities ravaged by racism, Covid, and recession. The Global Kick-Off for the conference began August 3rd, with sessions scheduled on the 4th, 9th, 10th, 17th, and 31st.  Online registration is available at BPM 2022 US Global Summit Kick Off – Aug 03 | Hopin.

On August 17, 2022, from 1:00 – 2:30PM AST, St. Croix Foundation and the Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico will lead the Caribbean Session of the Black Philanthropy Month Conference in a progressive (virtual) panel discussion entitled: “Funding for Equity: Decolonization and Reparative Justice Investments in the Caribbean.” Moderated by Dr. Marissel Hernández Romero, Director of Racial Building Equity Institute of the Americas at Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, panelists will include Susan Taylor Batten, President of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Olga Chapman Rivera, Founder and Chief Go-Getter at BRAAVE, and Deanna James, President of St. Croix Foundation. Featured Keynote Speaker Dana Francois of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will offer insight on some of the more current regional conversations, around decolonization and reparations, as well as the role of philanthropy around reparative justice funding throughout the Diaspora (USA, the Caribbean and Africa).

Black Philanthropy Month, now in its 11th year, is today a program of The Women Invested to Save Earth Fund, which culminates in a multinational summit every August in a global celebration and concerted campaign to elevate African-descent giving and funding equity. Incubated in 2001 by its Founder Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland, with the support of Reunity, formerly the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network, BPM launched in 2011 with its first official global summit to commemorate the United Nations Year and Decade of People of African Descent. Today, Black Philanthropy Month has 9 million people engaged across 60 countries, making it the “world’s only global Diasporan community coalition and movement to celebrate and empower Black funding in all its forms…”

St. Croix Foundation and Fundacion Communitaria De Puerto Rico would like to invite nonprofits, policymakers, and global funders, to register today at BPM 2022 The Caribbean – Aug 17 | Hopin. Appreciation is extended to all panelists and the organizers and sponsors of Black Philanthropy Month. For more information on all sessions, please visit BPM 2022 US Global Summit Kick Off – Aug 03 | Hopin and for details on the Caribbean Session, phone St. Croix Foundation at 340.773.9898 directly.


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 holistic community building and development, policy research and data collection, and the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.


Since 1984, the FUNDACION COMMUNITARIA DE PUERTO RICO (FCPR) has allowed donors to contribute to the development of Puerto Rican communities. FCPR plays multiple roles such as grant-maker; grant-seeker, program administrator; philanthropic leader, community convener, fund manager and custodian of the community endowment. Since Hurricane María, its strategic plan promotes and strengthens equitable access to potable water, renewable energy, social housing, community economic development, and education, among other areas of interest.

St. Croix Foundation and the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund Award $15,000 in Scholarships

ST. CROIX, U.S.V.I., July 14, 2022. St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce that $15,000 in scholarships has been awarded to three St. Croix youth on Thursday, July 14th, at a virtual presentation at St. Croix Foundation (SCF) headquartered in Sunday Market Square. Scholarships were made possible through the fifth annual cycle for the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund and SCF’s Foundation Scholars Fund.

Established in 2018, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Williams Opportunity Fund evolves each year to fill gaps in the support system for young people who have and continue to navigate rapidly changing and challenging academic environments. In 2022, and in close collaboration with Junior Gaspard, founder of the Williams Opportunity Fund, SCF assessed through student data, surveys, and interviews of past candidates that support for awardees while they progress through their academic careers is critical as federal aid decreases and coursework intensifies.

Given the data, the spirit of The Fund, and in acknowledgment of the unique challenges the 2021 Cohort has and continues to overcome in pursuit of secondary studies, SCF’s Grants Review Committee awarded three (3) scholarships of $5,000 each to the following recipients of the Fund’s 2021 scholarship cycle, now sophomores at their respective places of study:

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

2022 recipients were required to demonstrate progress by submitting a formal application that included transcripts, letters of reference, and a four-minute video presentation in which candidates were asked to speak to the reality of their challenges during their first year at university. Carefully reviewed by SCF’s Grants Committee, applicants spoke about overcoming the very real obstacles of grappling with severe winter weather and “culture shock” while maintaining a rigorous course load in a new city– all amid continued changing conditions around COVID-19. Despite these many challenges, applicants demonstrated their ability to assess, to reflect deeply, and to shift when necessary to achieve their goals.

Fund Donor, Junior Gaspard (a St. Croix native and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School) stated that “The aim of establishing this Fund was to honor my grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams, by helping our young people to achieve long-lasting, life-changing goals.” Gaspard, who presents awards annually to scholarship recipients, continued that, “Beginning the journey towards any goal is hard, but continuing along the journey and completing it requires tenacity and commitment. The level of perseverance and adaptability that our awardees showed in adjusting to new environments while continuing to succeed academically is inspirational. We are thrilled to continue to support them as they move into the next year of their collegiate career.”

To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has awarded a total of $59,000 in scholarships to 11 students who have had to overcome unprecedented difficulties throughout their high school tenure and early university education. 2022 scholarship recipient Abigail Valery, who is studying classical flute at Temple University expressed her appreciation, stating that “I would like to thank St. Croix Foundation and the Gaspard family for their support and belief in me. There are not many scholarships available for secondary studies in the arts, and this helps to lift my family’s burden. But perhaps most importantly, having this come from my own community, my own people, it empowers me to continue. Thank you.”

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 donations to allow for additional students to be provided the chance to pursue their education.

For more information about the Williams Opportunity Fund and to find out 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 to learn more.

St. Croix Foundation Partners to Launch ‘Farm Tienda’

The St. Croix Foundation and the Coca Cola Company launched Farm-Tienda in partnership with local farmers on Friday at the Ann Abramson Pier in Frederiksted.

The project supports the agriculture sector on St. Croix by granting eligible farmers a durable and moveable “farm stand” for the expansion of their local business.

Read more

St. Croix Foundation Hosts a Week of Community-Building

The St. Croix Foundation is hosting a week of activities geared toward empowering organizations within the nonprofit sector and for the community at large to become change agents.

On Monday and Tuesday, the foundation will be joined by Tuesday Ryan-Hart, a systems change strategist who has worked with organizations and stakeholders engaged in community building. The Foundation enlisted 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 the community through conversations and training around high-impact collaborations and self-empowerment.

The public is invited to RSVP at for the keynote address, “Re-Inventing Our Collaborations,” which will take place Monday at the Bennie and Martha Benjamin Conference Center at the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center at 5:30 p.m.

On Thursday and Friday, the foundation will host Edward Jones of the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and the Black Social Change Funders Network (BSCFN). BSCFN is a network of funders committed to creating thriving black communities by strengthening the infrastructure for black-led and social change. Its 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.”

Jones, ABFE’s vice president of Programs, noted that “ABFE’s goal is to increase philanthropic engagement in St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and 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.”

See original post from Virgin Islands Daily News here.

Hurricane Rebuilding through Philanthropy & Community

Over the course of  several weeks, the St. Croix Foundation published a series on Philanthropy & Community. The purpose of the series was to urge our community to consider our collective future as the upcoming election draws near and we think about recovery. We explored some principles we believe are key drivers for healthy communities- Equity, Culture, Collaboration, Empowerment and Change. The publications can be viewed here.

Helping Caribbean Islands Recover from a Devastating Hurricane Season

As anyone who lives in the Southeast knows, hurricanes can cause massive devastation and disruption. Streets and homes flood, power disappears, cellular networks go down and basic necessities are suddenly in short supply.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represented a 1-2 punch, hitting communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In their wake, many foundations stepped up, creating or contributing to funds to fuel relief efforts that will last long after these storms fade from the headlines.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all seen in the past week, this hurricane season’s impact has spread beyond the Southeast. Many island nations and U.S. territories in the Caribbean, which were already hit hard by Harvey and Irma, were also dealt another blow by Hurricane Maria. Some places, like Barbuda, were rendered nearly uninhabitable. In other places, particularly Puerto Rico, residents are facing the possibility of weeks or even months without electricity.

Click here to read the full article.