Incarnate Word Foundation
Contact Us:
  • 5257 Shaw Ave., Ste. 309
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  • 314-773-5100
  • 314-773-5102
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Our History ⋆ Incarnate Word Foundation
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Our History

Serving the St. Louis Region since 1997

For more than 100 years, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word have cared for the people of St. Louis and the surrounding communities. When the Incarnate Word Hospital was sold in 1997, the foundation was established with an initial gift of $30 million to continue their mission of caring in the area. That first year, we awarded five initial grants and have grown to award 50 grants throughout each calendar year. In 2003, our work really began as we know it today with the creation of grant focus areas to initially address immigration, domestic violence, and women’s incarceration. Our focus areas continue to change in response to the needs of the community.

In 2005, we began our place-based funding efforts and centralized investment into the Benton Park West neighborhood. Since then we have worked in many neighborhoods throughout St. Louis including Penrose, O’Fallon, The Ville, Dutchtown, and Gravois Park. In 2007, as a result of a mission trip to Zambia, we began a micro-lending program in St. Louis. From this work came the Women’s Helping Hands Bank.

(L-R) Sisters: Emily Costigan, Cleophas Emerson, Anna Offenberger, Mary Alyce O'Dneal, Bernard Marie Borgmeyer, Eucharista O'Connor, Magdalen Hession. Incarnate Word Hospital, c.1950s

In 2010, we began our placed based funding in North St. Louis and also created the Marketplace of Ideas: a small neighborhood funding program. As a response to a spike in gun violence, we launched STL Youth Jobs in partnership with the Mayor of St. Louis and MERS Goodwill to provide employment opportunities to youth in specific neighborhoods. Shortly after this, our executive director, Bridget McDermott Flood, was asked to serve as the co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Violence Prevention in St. Louis. In 2015, in response to the civil rights unrest in Ferguson, MO, we came together with nine other foundations to address racial inequities in the juvenile justice system in St. Louis. In 2016, we started another place based funding effort on the South Side in Dutchtown and Gravois Park.

Today, we continue to expand our efforts to act as a catalyst for change. We serve as a convener, grant maker, educator, collaborator, and advocate addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice.