Category: Press Releases

Believe…Together We Can Make A Difference

Press Release

Contact: Roger Dewey: President, Deanna James: Chief Operations Officer



The St. Croix Foundation (SCF) is inviting the community to come out and celebrate their 22 years of leadership and service to the Virgin Islands Community on Thursday, September 27 in Sunday Market Square in downtown Christiansted. The Foundation’s Birthday celebration is from 5 PM to 8 PM, and will be held in conjunction with the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours networking get together.

This event heralds the official launch of the Foundation’s BELIEVE Campaign which seeks to inspire the entire Virgin Islands to “BELIEVE in our community” and to pull together through these challenging times. Roger Dewey, President of the Foundation, stated that “Despite the unprecedented economic upheaval facing the Territory, the St. Croix Foundation believes in the strength of our community. We believe in the future of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands.”

The BELIEVE Campaign is modeled after a highly successful movement launched 10 years ago in Baltimore Maryland, which sought to tackle the issue of drug violence by “awakening Baltimore’s truer sense of self — to tap the fire inside — and to call upon the power of that spirit to confront the violence of drugs and drug addiction that was killing 300 to 350 young men every year,” according to a Baltimore newspaper article.

The St. Croix Foundation’s BELIEVE Campaign, like Baltimore’s campaign, seeks to address many of the critical issues affecting our community by developing diverse partnerships and spearheading targeted initiatives that support a healthier community. For this campaign, the Foundation will be directing specific focus toward strategic programmatic areas such as community revitalization, public education reform and public safety.

Since the announcement of HOVENSA’s closure at the beginning of the year, the Foundation has hosted economic roundtables to hear from business owners and community stakeholders to assist in identifying solutions that move us forward. Building upon the feedback received from those roundtables, the Foundation’s BELIEVE Campaign aims to initiate several highly visible beautification projects beginning with Contentment Road, the entrance into Christiansted town. The Foundation is also urging businesses, residents and neighborhood associations to join them in their efforts by partnering together and to promote clean, safe neighborhoods.

Deanna James, the Foundation’s Chief Operations Officer explained that, “Our BELIEVE Campaign is about taking adversity and turning it into opportunity. It’s about believing in the inherent capacity of the human spirit to triumph over seemingly insurmountable challenges.” Today and into the future, the Foundation, through their BELIEVE Campaign, will be reaching out and working extensively with community partners to strengthen our islands’ economic and social structures.

The Foundation’s 22nd Birthday celebration, on the 27th in Sunday Market Square, is really a thank you to the entire Virgin Islands Community for all the ways that all of our partners have contributed and shown how they BELIEVE in the organization’s mission and vision for the Territory.

The Foundation would also like to thank the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, the VI Police Department, Chef Ashley Williams who will prepare hors d’oeuvers, and Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies, Ballet Folklorico Dominicano, and the Pearl B. Larsen Quadrille Group for providing entertainment.

For more information on the St. Croix Foundation’s BELIEVE Campaign or their birthday celebration, please contact the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898.



“Answers for Change” Survey Results

Results at a GlanceFull ResultsPress Release

Contact:Leslie Hamdorf
YAC Team Leader, St. Croix Foundation


The St. Croix Foundation Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is pleased to release the results of their revealing youth survey, entitled “Answers for Change.” The survey was developed entirely by YAC members to gain information from their peers about the challenges facing youth in their community.

The 44 question survey addresses issues surrounding school climate, school safety, future academic plans, and personal motivators, and was distributed to private and public schools on St. Croix. In total, over 900 surveys were tallied during the spring of 2012.
The Youth Advisory Council, which was created by the St. Croix Foundation in 2009, is a youth philanthropy group made up of 16 students from St. Croix private and public middle and high schools. The Council was founded with the express goals of engaging youth and teaching them about the importance of philanthropy and charitable giving, as well as civic awareness. Today, YAC serves as a platform for burgeoning youth leaders to assess and address the needs of their peers through various outreach initiatives.
YAC members believe that the results from their survey will serve to illuminate the needs, aspirations, and challenges of young people in the community. The results will also help the Council and the Foundation direct their future efforts toward more relevant supports for young people and for their schools.

While the overall results from the survey were very informative, some responses were particularly revealing. One question asked students whether school was valuable to them. 59% of students in public high school responded that yes, school was valuable to them, compared to 93% of private high school students.

In another question which addressed the issue of school safety, 80% of private high school students said they felt safe compared to 41% of their public school peers. However, when private high school students were asked how they dealt with stress, the responses indicated that 13% drank, 22% smoked, and 21% used drugs, in contrast to public high school students who responded with lower levels of drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Public middle school students also reported in the ‘Answers for Change’ survey that 12% considered dropping out of school.
Overall, the survey revealed that there are some incredible opportunities within our public middle schools to sustain what appears to be higher levels of student engagement while at the same time addressing some potentially serious social trends that may lead students to lose focus and in turn fall out of the system in high school.

YAC members believe that the entire survey should be of interest to parents and educators alike. According to YAC member, Chasen Richards, “In high school, priorities get confused and life starts to happen. In high school, students are also exposed to more- both at school and in the media. Additionally, there is a bigger age range at high school, and kids are exploring things and rebelling if they can. They also don’t have the same support or the focus anymore.”

After reviewing the questions about support, YAC member Kemit Sweeney said, “Students lack a connection between their daily lives and the theoretical knowledge from school. When they don’t find it, they drop off the radar.” YAC members believe that their survey has given youth on St. Croix a voice and through collaborative efforts from community stakeholders, targeted steps can be taken to prevent youth from dropping off the radar and out of the system.

Over the past three years, the Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council has been very busy. In addition to the survey, they have awarded grants to various youth-based community projects and earlier this year, they hosted a highly successful Youth Forum, entitled “Turning Problems into Possibilities.”

Moving forward, YAC members will be using the data collected from their survey to develop a Youth Network, which will entail a resource clearinghouse for youth providing career development, as well as mentoring and social supports. They have already begun to reach out to other youth groups in the Territory inviting them to join forces to prove that youth have the ability to mobilize for positive causes to make a positive difference in their community. YAC members wish to extend their heart-felt thanks to the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority for their assistance in tallying the surveys. The Council is also grateful to Mr. Boatang of The University of the Virgin Islands Extension Services for allowing them to meet regularly in their building. Additional thanks go out to Mr. Gary Molloy and Ms. Janine Schuster of the Virgin Islands Department of Education for providing the Department’s support for the survey. The Youth Advisory Council also expresses their thanks to the St. Croix Foundation Matt Miller Fund and the Miller family for their ongoing support and guidance.

Last but certainly not least, YAC extends a sincere thank you to all of the students who participated in the survey from the following schools: St. Croix Educational Complex, St. Croix Central High School, John H. Woodson Junior High School, Elena L. Christian Junior High School, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Free Will Baptist School, Arthur Richards Elementary School, Country Day School, and Good Hope School. Student responses are greatly appreciated and will remain as a guiding factor in the projects that YAC undertakes this year.
Survey results can be found on the St. Croix Foundation’s website at And, for more information about the Council email YAC at or contact the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898.


SCF Youth Advisory Council Students Respond to “Answers for Change” Survey Results

SCF Youth Advisory Council Students Respond to “Answers for Change” Survey Results

“The St. Croix Foundation Youth Advisory Council is grateful for the articles that were published in The Daily News on Monday, September 17, 2012 and The St. Croix Avis on Thursday, September 20 about the results of our Answers for Change Survey…” for full press release on Answers for Change.

SCF Coordinating VI Delegation for Education Reform Conference in New York

 Grantmakers for Education, Press Release

Contact: Deanna James, Chief Operations Officer
August 9, 2012


The St. Croix Foundation is currently coordinating a small delegation of local education stakeholders to attend the 2012 Annual Grantmakers for Education (GFE) Conference entitled, “Rethink, Reframe, Redesign Education” in New York City, October 23-26th.

Considered by many to be one of the most dynamic and informative forums on transformational educational models, GFE is a ‘membership organization for private and public philanthropies that support improved educational outcomes for students’. Founded in 1995, GFE seeks to ‘promote dialogue, inquiry and learning to strengthen practice within the field of education philanthropy’. Each year, their annual conference convenes representatives from the largest educational funders in the country including the Bill and Melinda Gates, Nellie Mae, Cleveland and Annie E. Casey Foundations to share experiences; to assess which reform models are working (and which ones aren’t); and to refine strategies.
As a GFE member for the past four years, St. Croix Foundation made the decision to coordinate a VI delegation to the conference this year, with the express goal of building capacity and consensus among local stakeholders around which reform models are right for our community.
Recognizing the critical nature of the challenges before the Territory today, the Foundation’s ultimate goal is to hasten the pace of education reform in order to ensure that the Virgin Islands is adequately preparing our youth to navigate through the tenuous economic conditions before them- both locally and globally.

Increasingly inspired by the body of work that is presented each year at the annual conference, the Foundation hopes this year’s conference will expose local stakeholders to progressive educational strategies that are transforming public schools throughout the country.

With many of GFE’s members currently underwriting the lion’s share of funding costs for some of the most innovative and successful school reform models today, the featured sessions and site visits are always a major highlight of the conference each year. This year’s conference is expected to be particularly exciting because it’s being held in New York City and will feature site visits to several bold educational models, including the nationally renowned Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Recognized by The New York Times as “one of the most ambitious social-service experiments of our time,” HCZ is a comprehensive system of programs over a 100 block radius in Central Harlem that aims to keep children on track from the cradle to college and on to the job market.

Another site visit that will be offered at the GFE Conference is the New American Academy (NAA), which was created in partnership with the United Federation of Teachers, the New York Department of Education, and The Harvard Graduate School of Education. NAA represents a visionary approach to education wherein ‘teachers work in collaborative teams of four to lead a typical classroom of 60 students in small, differentiated groups. The academy currently serves students in kindergarten and first grade.’
While only a handful of slots have been allotted for the St. Croix Foundation’s delegation, invitations have already been extended to members of the Board of Education, the Department of Education, the CTEC Board and the St. Croix Federation of Teachers as well as several other key education stakeholders.

According to Deanna James, Chief Operations Officer of the Foundation, “We are deeply encouraged by the response we’ve received thus far from stakeholders as most of the slots for our very small delegation have already been filled.” James went on to state that “The Foundation truly believes that the GFE conference has the potential to bridge philosophical and political divides that have prevented our community from making real headway in our attempts to improve our educational system.”
As the Foundation seeks to strengthen their community-based work in education, they believe the GFE conference presents a ripe opportunity for deeper engagement and for greater collaboration among all educational stakeholders irrespective of their individual focus areas. The Foundation also sees the conference as a way to segue from individual agendas and pervasive distrust to real cooperation and synergy.
Invited guests will be responsible for covering their conference costs, and because the conference is a ‘members only’ industry event, guests will have to be registered through the Foundation’s membership account.

For more information on the GFE Conference or on the Foundation’s educational programming, please call the St. Croix Foundation at 340-773-9898.