A Year in Review posted 01/25/18

By Jeanne Kaufmann

Another year has come and gone, and 2017 was a particularly exciting one for us here at Launch St. Louis.  As focused as we are on the future and all the wonderful things 2018 is bound to bring, we thought it would be nice to take a moment and look back on the last 12 months here at Launch.  Check out a few updates from our team below, and we look forward to celebrating another amazing year with you!

Our 2016/2017 Partnership with the APA

We recently finished our partnership with the Young Friends of the APA Adoption Center. It was a sad goodbye, but we are thrilled with all they achieved over 18 months. The Young Friends of APA have a mission of helping the APA connect thousands of St. Louis’ homeless dogs, cats and other animals with loving homes. Along with representing the APA at events, volunteering at the APA and fostering animals in need, the group hosted their first signature event, Paws + Prints. The event was a huge success, raising $8,000!

Introducing Our 2018/2019 18-Month Partnership

We received applications from many wonderful nonprofit organizations across St. Louis for our 2018/2019 18-Month Partnership. With 28 applicants, it was a long and difficult selection process. We’re pleased to announce that we have chosen Urban Harvest Food Roof for our new partnership and we can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!

Learn more about the Launch St. Louis 18-Month Partnership


LaunchMe is the newest Launch St. Louis endeavor! Created in 2017, Launch Me is designed to help young professionals find and engage with a variety of young friends groups in the St. Louis region.  In 2017, Launch St. Louis was able to connect sixty-nine young professionals to fill young friends board positions for various non-profit organizations. Collaborating with many local organizations, LaunchMe makes it easy to connect young and talented professionals with organizations and causes they feel passionate about to help build a stronger region.

Learn more about LaunchMe.


2018 will be an exciting year for the LaunchU program. The goal of LaunchU is to coach St. Louis non-profit organizations on how to establish young friend’s boards with local young professionals. Launch St. Louis is upgrading the workshops for 2018 to be even more engaging with an additional focus on networking and building strong ties between the workshop participants.

In 2017, five non-profits participated in the workshop programs. The organizations attending ranged from non-profits that were just starting to engage young professionals to experienced non-profits with already existing young friends groups seeking to perfect their board structure. Attendees last year included the Missouri History Museum, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, the National Children’s Cancer Society, Partners in Sustainable Development International and the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls.

The 2018 LaunchU program will be starting at the end of January and consists of one workshop each month. Last minute applications are still being accepted here.

2017 Gateway to the Future Summit

Nearly 100 St. Louis young professionals and nonprofit leaders gathered at T-REX in September for the 5th Annual Launch St. Louis Gateway to the Future Summit to discuss ways to create a more charitable and connected community.

Attendees arrived early to the half day summit to network with one another, connect with top nonprofit and community leaders, and learn about potential volunteer opportunities that align with their personal and professional interests.

The event kicked off with a passionate and inspiring keynote address from Ginger Imster, VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Ginger shared her personal story of capitalizing on luck and opportunity, dealing with risk tolerance and maintaining a sense of humor when facing adversity.

When Ginger declared that the audience truly is St. Louis’ “Gateway to the Future,” everyone felt motivated to get more involved in making a positive impact in the community.

After the keynote, young professionals participated in thought-provoking breakout sessions led by influential St. Louis leaders and Launch STL board members. Breakout topics included “Technology Trends in Nonprofits”, “Pursuing Your Passion” and “Fundraising and Friendraising.”

Social media was buzzing with excitement as people shared pictures, ideas on how to improve our community and quotes from the panelists.

Ginger finished her keynote with a quote from Gilda Radner that sums it up best: “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Launch Team

When it comes to Launch St. Louis, it is really the people that make the work so great.  2017 was a year of welcoming an exciting level of knowledge, resources and energy to our team on both the board and the committee level.  We were thrilled to welcome newest board members Jeanne Kaufmann and Ariel Zhang, as well as new committee members Katie Wall, Eric Williams, Katie Holtgrave, Derek May, Alex Goldberg, and Chelsey Green.

Sadly, saying hello can also sometimes mean saying good-bye, and 2017 ends with us saying thank you and farewell to Board Members Beth Casagrand and Jonathan Goldford.

Start building your young friends board today

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