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International Organization Honors St. Croix Foundation

Sept. 7, 2007 — An international non-profit organization will honor the success of the St. Croix Foundation Sept. 17 at a conference in San Francisco.
Roger Dewey of the St. Croix Foundation will present its work to an audience of national community-foundation members. The event is the annual conference on community foundations by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Foundations (COF). The COF provides leadership, expertise, legal information and networking opportunities to its more than 2,000 grant-making foundations and giving programs worldwide, as well as to the general public, according to a news release from the St. Croix Foundation.
Dewey will share the foundation’s successes and methods with other small foundations at a session called “Small Foundations, Big Results.” He will also facilitate another session on foundation management.
The invitation to speak was prompted several months ago by an email exchange between Dewey and COF President Steve Gunderson. After Gunderson sent COF members an email praising sharp increases in foundation endowments nationally, Dewey responded by writing, “We cannot lose sight of the fact that the importance of our work (as community foundations) is measured in the results of our efforts. Keeping score through endowment size can be misdirected energy.”
Dewey cautioned against seeing grants as an end in themselves.
“Grants can sometimes act as band-aids and not truly address the root causes of a community’s problems,” he wrote. “Organizations like the St. Croix Foundation must look at their role as one of leadership in tackling difficult problems in a community, rather than just serving as a grant maker.”
The COF responded with an invitation for Dewey to speak at the conference.
“The St. Croix Foundation has successfully developed a community foundation leadership model,” Dewey wrote. “We make grants, particularly small community grants, as well as provide scholarships, but the needs of our community are so great that grant making alone cannot address them.”
The St. Croix Foundation has worked in many different arenas, the news release said. In early 2000, responding to budget cuts in the Department of Public Safety and rising crime, the foundation worked on behalf of downtown merchants to identify and secure funding for security cameras. The initial support for grant writing came from the Christiansted Restaurant and Retail Association and St. Croix Hotel Association. The foundation secured funding for the Department of Public Safety to place security cameras in not only Christiansted and Frederiksted towns, but also in Charlotte Amalie and Cruz Bay. Since then the foundation has continued to raise community donations every year to maintain and upgrade the cameras on St. Croix.
The foundation’s work “has also become so well respected that when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control needed a local fiduciary to manage HIV/AIDS funding, they approached the foundation for this critical service,” the release said. It continues, “The organization currently manages funds for nearly 50 projects ranging from the Boys and Girls Clubs to Toys for Tots.”
The foundation has also worked to redevelop and preserve Christiansted, Frederiksted and Charlotte Amalie, and supports the V.I. Police Department’s bicycle patrols on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Beyond downtown redevelopment, the foundation also works to improve public schools.
“The St. Croix Foundation was created by long-time Crucian community activist Phillip Gerard and retired aerospace executive Michael Neuburger in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Hugo,” the release said. “Strategically, the foundation has foregone raising an operating endowment in order to use funds raised for critical needs. This long-term approach results in a much healthier community.”
Now the foundation is moving toward an endowment.
“The foundation will soon begin an endowment campaign, for we feel that we have demonstrated the efficacy of our model and the success of our work,” Dewey said. “SCF truly appreciates that the Council of Foundations recognizes the work we have done for our community. All of this could not be done without the willing cooperation of our donors and our many proud Virgin Islanders who are willing to work hard to help our community rise to its potential.”
For more information on the St. Croix foundation, call 340-773-9898 or visit stxfoundation.org.
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