News & Features

Small Gifts; Big Impact

Fontbonne Community Connection Turns Five
As women around the globe wield increasing control over financial matters, a group of St. Louis women are pooling their individual resources to make a collective, philanthropic impact on a local level.

Each member of the Fontbonne Community Connection (FCC) contributes a small percentage of the total funds raised by the group, but with 86 current members, their collective gifts have made possible 65 projects, impacted innumerable people and provided $339,000 in grants to the Fontbonne University community since the group’s inception, an impact which extends beyond the campus. The FCC, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year, gives individual women the power to make a big difference — even in a down economy.
“Members can be as involved as they would like,” said Karen Gedera, immediate past president of the FCC, which has seen growth every year since its founding. “All of us, however, believe in the importance and worth of education, and we value having a personal stake in our charitable giving.”

The group will receive public recognition for five years of contributions during Fontbonne’s annual Academic Convocation, held this year on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 10:15 a.m., and will then present this year’s grants at a ceremony following at 11:15 a.m., both in the Dunham Student Activity Center.

Inspired by a national trend in giving circles, several alumnae came together in 2007 to pool modest resources in order to support programs and projects initiated within the Fontbonne University community. Members of the FCC include Fontbonne alumna and friends who have each committed to a minimum contribution of $1,000 annually. They encourage faculty, staff and students to dream big and submit ideas that would be beyond the scope of their university budgets. This year, 14 projects were funded by grants ranging from $250 - $20,000. Throughout the past five years, projects have included on-campus renovations, children’s workshops, community play productions, an on-campus seminar for local businesses, and international service trips, and are implemented on campus and in places as far away as Costa Rica.

Learn more about the FCC.

Image: Members of the FCC gather for their annual meeting in July.