Category: Press Releases

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 http://www.stxfoodandwine.com.

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 lcox@stxfoundation.org.

For information about tickets, events, and sponsorship visit http://www.stxfoodandwine.com 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.

RELEASE INFORMATION 

The 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is currently available 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 http://datacenter.kidscount.org. 

ABOUT ST. CROIX FOUNDATION 

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. 

ABOUT THE ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION 

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 www.aecf.org. 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.

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 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.

ABOUT FUNDACION COMMUNITARIA DE PUERTO RICO

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 www.stxfoundation.org to learn more.

St. Croix Foundation Announced as 2022 HUD Secretary’s Award Recipient

Contact: Deanna James, President and Chief Executive Officer   

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – On Thursday, June 23rd, the Council on Foundations (COF) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced St. Croix Foundation for Community Development (SCF) as a recipient of the 2022 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships! The award was presented by Peter Kahn, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development, during a virtual awards ceremony which briefly showcased the impact of each organization. St. Croix Foundation is one of five organizations from across the nation to receive this honor in 2022. A national partnership between HUD and COF now in its tenth year, the Secretary’s Awards are presented annually and recognize philanthropy’s work with government partners as a community strategy to increase the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents across America.

St. Croix Foundation was recognized for their investment in Community Resilience Hubs in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. St. Croix Foundation projects, which were highlighted through this award, were a Farm Tienda (container farmstand) Initiative; a Solar-Supported Community Center and Workforce Development Initiative; and the renovation and retrofit of the historic Alexander Theater which is currently underway to transform it into a state-of-the-art performing arts center and a downtown Community Disaster Safe Room capable of housing over 300 people. This work would not be possible without the collaboration of countless nonprofit partners on St. Croix, all working together to nurture resiliency and help our community thrive.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “This award is truly testament to the impact of Place-Based Philanthropy working in full alignment with Civil Society. Through this initiative, SCF continues to fulfill our fundamental role as a convener and bridge-builder, forging strategic partnerships between nonprofit, private, public and philanthropic sectors. The Foundation is especially grateful for our Nonprofit Consortium Partners who continue to inspire us and remind us each day that the real formula for community resilience lies in the power of community-rooted relationships! In fact, it’s our local Nonprofits who are collectively building real competency around how to effectively activate federal and philanthropic investments to serve the most vulnerable and underserved in our Community and who have been our thought partners and collaborators every step of the way.”

During a prepared statement during the award presentation, James extended her deepest appreciation to HUD and the Council on Foundations for the recognition. “Our Community Resilience Hubs were made possible through investments of time, talent and treasure from FEMA, Global Giving, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), and numerous other community stakeholders,” said James.

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 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.

For more information on St. Croix Foundation’s impact and how to support this work, please phone 340.773.9898 or visit www.stxfoundation.org.

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About The St.Croix Foundation: St. Croix Foundation for Community Development (SCF) was founded 31 years ago in the wake of Hurricane Hugo. Since its inception, the Foundation has been unflinchingly dedicated to the issues of equity and holistic, rooted community development. SCF is equally committed to advancing a brand of progressive place-based philanthropy, as we direct laser focus on catalyzing systemic change through a myriad of philanthropic strategies including strategic grantmaking, direct services, program administration, and nonprofit capacity building.

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.

St. Croix Foundation Solarizes 2nd Community Center, Adds 6000KW of Sustainable Power to Island

St. Croix Foundation Solarizes 2nd Community Center, Adds 6000KW of Sustainable Power to Island

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

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 SCF Awards $160,000 in Sustaining Impact Grants through CARE Fund

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 Releases 2021 KIDS COUNT USVI Data Book, Building Level Pathways for our Children

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.