Character Saves Lives

aka CHARACTERplus   |   St Louis, MO   |


CharacterPlus® Mission Promote positive character development in young people by partnering with schools, families, and communities to provide character education evidence-based processes, expert support, and professional resources.

Ruling year info



Mr. Mike Park

Main address

2025 Craigshire Road Suite 150

St Louis, MO 63146 USA

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NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

As outlined in our Strategic Plan.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

CharacterPlus Programs, Processes and Services

CharacterPlus Way
To improve overall school culture and climate, as well as increase academic achievement and decrease disciplinary incidents, regardless of a school’s geographic, socio-economic, or demographic profile.

This CASEL-endorsed, evidence-based process’s power and sustainability rest in its framework, which emphasizes core values and implementation unique to the school community. By using data for ongoing assessment, monitoring, and refinement, a comprehensive and sustainable process is created.

Schools that complete the CharacterPlus® Way process show higher test scores and academic performance while decreasing disciplinary incidents. School culture and climate improves, relationships are strengthened, and belonging takes a front seat. Additionally, many schools are ready to go through the Schools of Character recognition process after implementation.

Contact CharacterPlus® expert Nicole Diehl at [email protected] to begin the conversation on the goals you are seeking to accomplish for your educators, students, and school culture and climate.

Teacher Academy in Character Education - TACE
To provide expert training and resources in character education to educators in years 3-5 of their career and inspire and equip them as teacher-leaders with best practices and methods for social, emotional, and character development for students.

A year-long cohort led by experts in the field of SEL & Character Development. It will include the following topics: Understanding Self & Others; The ABC’s (Autonomy, Belonging Competence) of Character; History & Frameworks; Class Meetings & Structures; Self-Care & Mindfulness; Positive Relationships; Classroom Management; Trauma, Diversity, Equity & Bias Awareness; Curriculum Integration; Building Effective Communication with Parents & Coworkers; & Student Empowerment.

The outcome of this academy is to equip teachers to live their noble purpose by understanding the importance of character education, while also lowering teacher turnover and increasing job satisfaction.

Autonomy (voice and choice), belonging (being part of a community), and competence (the ability to do something successfully) are needs all humans have. These are especially true for students, and as educators, we need to create opportunities for students to experience these three things.

Learn activities and strategies to implement immediately at your school. Explore ideas to challenge and stretch your students to grow their sense of competence. Leave with a plan to ensure you are being intentional about creating a school community in which all students have a voice, belong, and feel like they matter.

When students feel empowered and that they have a voice, it provides leadership opportunities, creates a positive school community, and can ultimately transform your school environment.

This classroom changing workshop is offered online at or it can be scheduled at your school as whole-staff professional development.

Designed for trailblazing women educators CharacterPlus has assembled a selection of the region’s most notable and successful women business and social change leaders who have lived their noble purpose with character as their foundation.

Four dinner evenings of empowering regional educational women leaders through thought provoking, inspiring, character and purpose driven lives as shared by fellow transformational women leaders in the community.

Experience what positive possibilities can come when you understand and live your Noble Purpose through a commitment to character.

Foundational Certification in Character Education
This workshop will provide the instruction needed to create a solid foundation around the basic tenets of character education. If you are ready to transform your school or classroom into a true community of learners, move your school or classroom from good to great, and increase student achievement while decreasing discipline incidents, this is for you.

This online workshop is led by experts in the field of character education and includes: history and theory of character education, framework for effective character education, building a learning community based on autonomy, belonging and competence, and best practices in effective character education.

Participants will receive CharacterPlus Foundational Certification upon completion of this workshop, indicating their foundational understanding of Character Education and the ability to return to the classroom ready to implement best practices.

This workshop will focus on classroom-level character education prioritization, relationship building among students and teachers, using intrinsic motivation to help youth internalize ethical and performance values, the impact of modeling ethical and performance behavior, empowerment opportunities for youth leadership and voice, and practicing identified skills as hallmarks of effective ongoing character development.

The U.S. Department of Education said, “When considering character education, states might use a framework researchers have summarized using the acronym PRIMED: Prioritization, Relationships, Intrinsic Motivation, Modeling, Empowerment, and Developmental Pedagogy.” PRIMED is the work of Dr. Marvin Berkowitz. Participants will get a deep dive understanding of the process, and immediate ways to begin laying this foundation in their school, classroom, and personal life.

The U.S. Department of Education reports that classrooms that use this framework will often experience higher student engagement, which leads to stronger academic performance. Practiced well, this approach will see classrooms reduce disciplinary incidents. And as classroom culture and climate improves, relationships strengthen, and student belonging takes a front seat to feeling isolated or disconnected.

Focusing on middle school students, WeBeSchools ignites curiosity, and a personal understanding of the positive possibilities wise choices create. It does this by leveraging timely, authentic, and age-relevant dilemmas middle school students face in everyday life. The program creatively places students at the apex of a decision, where they must grapple with their character.

WeBeSchools is the first online middle school program specifically designed to build social, emotional, and character muscle in adolescents. Animated dilemmas, created by a team of scholars, teachers, interactive designers, animators, and writers, center on how today’s youth communicate and learn. Visit to see an example.

A 2019 study conducted by Character Lab (co-founded by Angela Duckworth, author of Grit and University of Pennsylvania MacArthur genius grant recipient) reflected a 10% increase in a student’s inclination to make more favorable decisions when faced with difficult dilemmas. Students using WeBe’s program reported they would be more likely to self-advocate, advocate for others, and question bad choices. This program is available to member middle schools to use in their schools immediately.

Character Readiness Assessment
We are often asked by schools how they know if they are ready to apply for Schools of Character recognition. We created a new tool in 2019, based on our years of experience helping schools transform their culture and climate, called the School of Character Readiness Assessment.

Two consultants from our programming team will spend 2-3 hours at your school during a typical school day. They will tour the building and meet with the administration and/or culture/climate team to learn about the level of character education implementation in the school.

This process will create a list of implementation possibilities aligned with the requirements of the School of Character framework, as well as a recommendation regarding the school’s timing for applying to Schools of Character.

Character Leadership Exploration and Development - CLEAD
Effective leadership is an essential and often defining factor to ensure all team members achieve at their highest potential. Leaders, who foremost seek to understand themselves first and do so humbly, are able to intentionally create a culture where their colleagues not only achieve, but thrive.

Our process helps move your leaders further down that path or in some cases get them on it. With this in mind the program is designed to provide participants with a foundational understanding of the leadership competencies essential to developing their skills and abilities. Leader Participants will engage in a variety of CLEAD experiences that will result in relevant learning and practical application back in their respective areas of responsibility.

Participants will increase leader self-awareness in order to better lead their team. Participants will identify and model the characteristics of an ideal team leader and team player by embodying the concepts of humility, social awareness, and the desire to be more and do more for the team. Participants will be equipped to lead the necessary change to ensure that a healthy and productive culture in their department exists for all.

CharacterPlus Online - CharacterPlus.Teachable.Com
Our goal remains resolute: helping students in our member schools and districts build the character they need to flourish. In addition, we remain committed to the human interaction you’ve come to expect and appreciate. In line with that commitment, many of the online modules will have built-in opportunities for interaction/feedback with CharacterPlus staff.

For the first time, CharacterPlus Members have free online programming access. Content-focused on relevant topics in the area of social, emotional, and character development will be added throughout the school year, and regular updates will be provided on this site and with your District Leader. Hosted on our Teach:able platform, the training modules are self-paced and can be utilized individually, for a PLC/grade/content team, or for a faculty meeting.

Every educator in your District can now achieve Foundation Certification in Character Education using our on-line workshop. In our Signature Training Modules, you'll find our most popular workshops, including Class Meetings, ABC’s (Autonomy, Belonging, and Competence), Structures, Service Learning, and the State School of Character Process. These take the place of our half-day workshops. Class Meetings and SSOC are currently available, with the rest to come soon.

Schools of Character - SOC
The Schools of Character application process begins with a rigorous self-evaluation and creation of a large portfolio demonstrating a school’s character education implementation. This process can seem overwhelming, and because we think it is so valuable, we want to support schools through the application process.

Two half-day workshops are offered in the fall every year to help equip schools with the knowledge they need to confidently apply for Schools of Character. The first is an overview of the application process, including best practices in creating a portfolio. The second workshop, is a mentoring opportunity for schools. Potential applicants bring their application, and experienced leaders from National Schools of Character read through their drafts and offer feedback.

School teams feel empowered to confidently lead their school through the Schools of Character process.

Equity and Justice Academy in Character Educaiton - EJACE
Students of color experience culture and identity stress impacting health, socialization and emotional well-being. The Equity and Justice Academy in Character Education (EJACE) changes this sequel in St. Louis schools by bringing school staff and students together to develop a mission, vision, values, practices and narrative that fosters a positive impact breaking the chain of long held biases and systemic intolerant attitudes.

A year-long experience in leadership growth & development through the Equity and Justice Lens. Each school will bring a 4-person team of staff to include the building principal. The other three members are selected by the Principal. We will look at these elements through the characteristics of autonomy, belonging, competence and dignity - resulting in a journey to create communities where each child, family and staff member feels safe, welcomed and included and valued.

Through a shared purpose and clear vision to get at the core of doing what is fundamental for the well-being and success of all members, the Academy will focus on changing the narrative through unwrapping and recreating the following elements; Telling our story (Narrative); Where are we going and how are we getting there? (Mission, Vision, and Values); Who are we? (People); Where/What are we? (Place); How do we do what we do? (Policies, practices, systems).

Athleadership Academy in Character Education - AACE
CharacterPlus has adapted its’ evidence-based ABC’s process for creating Autonomy (voice and choice), Belonging (being part of a community), and Competence (the ability to do something successfully) for college coaches, high school coaches and their athletes. Furthermore, Character Ambassadors will become aware of and/or hone their own virtue and character strengths and leadership potential to help their team thrive and succeed.

The Athleadership Academy in Character Education (AACE) provides character education skill building for NCAA and High School athletes. Annually, each participating university, college and or high school selects two student-athletes from every collegiate sport to attend AACE training on their way to becoming NCAA Character Ambassadors.

Athletes and coaches gain an honest awareness of the relationship hurdles impeding high performance team culture. Participant athletes reflect the personal commitment outcomes we love to see at CharacterPlus - athletes feeling valued (free of bias), team culture where everyone belongs (welcomed regardless), and empowering leadership (voices heard, ideas appreciated).

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Social and economic status

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

The Center for Character and Citizenship 1987

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Continue to expand the CharacterPlus mission nationally.

As outlined in our Strategic Plan.

As outlined in our Strategic Plan.

As outlined in our Strategic Plan.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 01/19/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Steve Seele


Term: 2025 - 2023

Timothy Fagan

Ernst & Young

Eric Fencl


Jacqueline French


Marvin Anderson

Bank of America

Linda McKay


T Judson Duncan IV


David Alexander

Technology Partners

Melinda Bier


Tyler Dunaway

Bank of America

Robert Fasoldt

St. Louis Cardinals

Maureen Clancy-May

MO. Dept. of Education

Andrea Harpring

Nine Network of Public Media

Pamela Howlett


Linda Matkowski

Stern Brothers

Mary Kullman

Community Volunteer

Joanne Soudah

U City School Board

Keith Marty

Parkway Schools

Beth Kinzel

Bank of America/US Trust

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/5/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/05/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.