Deaconess Breaks Ground on $8.5M Center for Child Well-Being

By on September 27, 2016

From The St. Louis American:  When communities make something a priority, they must create space for it, said leaders of the Deaconess Foundation at the groundbreaking ceremony of its new center on September 20.

“We’re inviting the region to make space to advocate for children’s best interests,” said Cheryl D.S. Walker, the foundation’s board chair and a Bryan Cave attorney.

The 20,000-square-foot Deaconess Center for Child Well-being is being built at 1000 N. Vandeventer in the Grand Center Arts District and at the edge of St. Louis’ Vandeventer neighborhood. The project’s expected completion is fall of 2017. The $8.5 million development will offer space for community convening and cross-sector collaboration, as it will house a grant maker, child advocacy organization and youth service provider under one roof.

“We want to cultivate a movement for child well-being in St. Louis,” said Rev. Starsky Wilson, Deaconess’ president and chief executive. “Movements need activated individuals, creative ideas and institutional expressions. This will be a place where they all come together for kids.”

The Deaconess Center will include administrative offices for the foundation and long-term grantees, Vision for Children at Risk and Neighborhood Houses. Forty to 50 people will work at the site, relocating from offices in downtown, Downtown West and Jeff VanderLou. It will also have meeting rooms, classrooms and conference space for up to 125 people in the largest setting. Between the co-locating partners, the building is expected to host more than 6,000 citizens a year in more than 250 meetings focused on children’s issues. Meeting rooms will be available at no charge to initiatives focused on improving public policy for children.

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