As 2020 (finally!) comes to a close, we at WFSTL can look back proudly at how we adapted to change, pushed forward on our goals, and stayed true to our mission.

We started out the year with a media campaign and community report to recognize the 2019 Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard Initiative honorees. The following 17 companies were honored for their pro-female work environments:

·       The Simon Law Firm, P.C.

·       National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis

·       LaunchCode

·       Civil Design, Inc.

·       Krilogy LLC

·       Operation Food Search

·       Spry Digital

·       Weber Shandwick

·       Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC

·       Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C.

·       Missouri Foundation for Health

·       Brown Smith Wallace

·       Sapper Consulting

·       Wyman Center

·       Large Organizations

·       Saint Louis University

·       St. Louis County Government

·       Washington University in St. Louis

Utilizing information from these honorees, and as part of our 2020 Action Plan, we identified 3 cost-effective strategies that any company can utilize to begin creating a workplace that works for women and families:

1.       Establish paid family/personal leave benefits,

2.       Ban salary history questions during hiring,

3.       Develop a working group focused on creating workplace equity.

The 2020 Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard is still open for companies to participate until January 11th. Email [email protected] to register and receive your unique survey link!

In addition to our workplace change efforts, we responded to new workplace needs in a COVID-19 economy. In a webinar series titled “COVID-19: A Woman’s Role in the Economic Recovery,” we spoke with local female leaders to address how employers are responding to the pandemic, the impact on entrepreneurs, and challenges for women returning to work. In September alone, the data shows 856,000 women left the workforce, and 1 in 4 are considering either downsizing or leaving their careers due to increased demands, including caring for children or other family members during the pandemic. A new section of the Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard was added in 2020 to address these changes and measure the employers’ pandemic response efforts.

Because large gatherings were not possible this year, the Making A Difference event went virtual and helped us raise over $150,000 to support women in St. Louis! We hosted a panel discussion with Carolyn Kindle Betz and Ali Hogan and honored the achievements of Laurna Godwin.

We also saw success in our advocacy efforts in 2020. We endorsed Prop R in St. Louis City which was successfully passed, raising $2.3 million in additional annual funding for early childhood services. We also hosted a webinar on “Changing Public Policy: Economic Success for Women,” which highlighted elected officials and legislation that advances the economic success of women.

While everything we do plays an important role in advancing St. Louis women in our economy, we feel especially proud of the organizations we were able to support through grantmaking in 2020, all of which increase access to jobs and fair wages for women and/or increase supports for working families :

·       Center for Women in Transition

·       LaunchCode

·       Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project

·       WEPOWER

WFSTL funding for Center for Women in Transition supported vocational training to women involved in the justice system to ensure their successful transition back to family and community. Our grant to LaunchCode and their Coder Girl Program helped women prepare for high-demand jobs in the technology sector. We supported Migrant and Immigrant Community Action’s (MICA) efforts to eliminate major barriers to successful employment for immigrants. Finally, WFSTL funding supported WEPOWER and their Elevate/Elevar Program, an accelerator initiative that advances racial and gender equity through entrepreneurship. We’re proud to support these fantastic organizations doing important work to empower women!

In the midst of all of this, WFSTL welcomed a new Executive Director, Keri Koehler, who holds a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, brings over 10 years of nonprofit experience, and extensive leadership in program development to the organization. We also added a new position and hired Sarah Hines as our Community Engagement Manager. Sarah will lead our outreach and communications efforts and work with our partners at Rung for Women to recruit volunteers for their social capital programs.

As we look forward to 2021, we hope to create transformational change through enhanced collaboration. As the 2020 Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard Initiative wraps up, we will make efforts to support employers beyond the scorecard and provide more educational opportunities. We will continue to advocate for policy change to increase access to jobs, fair wages, and support for working families. We will also build deeper partnerships with our grantees to affect more change and support for women. In a new partnership with Rung for Women, we will support volunteer recruitment and outreach efforts as they welcome their first cohort of members in March 2021.

We thank everyone who has supported us through thick and thin this year! Together we are transforming our region by ensuring all women can reach their full potential.

When she thrives, we thrive.

Join us for our next Seeking Solutions Symposium – Women in the Economy: An Underleveraged Powerhouse and Why it Matters to Businesses and Communities