LifeWise StL

Where Knowledge and Nurture Change Futures

aka LifeWise StL   |   St. Louis, MO   |  www.lifewisestl.org

Mission

Our mission is to help individuals and families achieve economic well-being by providing high-impact, relationship-based programming and by addressing systemic barriers to their success.

Ruling year info

2011

President/CEO

Mr. Scott E. Walker

Development & Associate Executive Director

Mrs. Jennifer L March

Main address

1321 S. 11th Street

St. Louis, MO 63104 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Kingdom House

EIN

43-0652648

NTEE code info

Neighborhood Center, Settlement House (P28)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Family Services (P40)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

St. Louis City has continually ranked the worst in comparison to other MO counties in the wellbeing of young children, including such factors as poverty, school dropouts and teen pregnancy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2014 estimated median household income for St. Louis residents was $34,800, compared to the national median of $53,482. Approximately 28.8% of St. Louis residents earn below the poverty level, compared to a national average of 14.8%. MO is one of the leading states for payday lending. Studies show that reporting high levels of debt relative to assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, and worse self reported general health. In the St. Louis region, many older adults suffer from poor health and struggle to live either without a support system or a weak and fragmented one. As individuals age, they often experience limited mobility which hinders their ability to get out into the community. This can develop into social isolation.

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?

Early Childhood Center

The LifeWise StL Early Childhood Center provides high quality childcare and preschool education for 94 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age. The Center is open year-round, Monday through Friday. Children receive breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. .

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

The LifeWise StL Young Scholars (After School) Program provides an academically-focused environment conducive to homework help and supplemental educational curriculum/activities; a safe and supervised environment for children to engage in constructive activities; academic enrichment through a curriculum of best practices to prepare students to perform at grade level and above on state MAP tests; a healthy dinner and activities to improve students’ health and promote their physical growth; free transportation from school and to home if needed; a variety of activities based on students’ interests and strengths to enrich and empower them; individual and/or group therapy to those assessed as in need; one-on-one private tutoring through a partnership with the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association to those assessed as in need; and professional development to staff to refine skill sets needed to implement curriculum, understand best practices and structure a learning environment.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

LIfeWise StL became a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program partner in 2016. The Freedom Schools Program seeks to build strong, literate and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer reading enrichment for children who might not otherwise have access to books, the program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps.

The dynamic curriculum aligns with the Common Core Standards and includes science, technology, engineering and math activities. A 10:1 child-to-teacher ratio keeps the culturally relevant curriculum engaging.

The program is a servant leader incubator for two generations – the children served and the college students and recent graduates who teach and serve them. Training coordinated by the CDF Freedom Schools national office prepares the young adults to provide an enriching experience for the children they serve.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

LifeWise Academy provides academic enrichment, social-emotional support, life skills and job readiness activities to teens during a critical period of development so that they are better prepared for a post-secondary institution and/or the workforce.

Academic support includes: academic classes; goal-setting; academic advising sessions; tutoring; and workshops on study skills.

Enrichment activities include: ACT test prep; college visits; community service; field trips; financial aid and scholarship application assistance; substance abuse education; and violence and pregnancy prevention workshops.

Life skills and job readiness includes: career exploration workshops; employment application assistance, employment skills training; financial literacy education; mock interviews; career advising sessions; and summer internship and employment opportunities.

Social-emotional support includes: empowerment programs; group and individual mental health sessions; and individualized support.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

ESOL classes provide the opportunity for participants to work with trained teachers to grow their English language skills. Classes teach essentials of the language and help individuals improve in areas such as writing, speaking and reading comprehension. Participants are able to utilize these language skills at work, home and in the community. During class, participants also learn about St. Louis and American culture in a supportive environment. Program provided in collaboration with St. Louis Public Schools.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Through one-on-one coaching, financial education and access to credit and wealth building financial products​, members receive economic wellness services that provide the support needed to achieve their economic goals. Families, individuals and LifeWise StL employees are invited to attend financial education classes and meet privately with financial social workers and coaches to establish clearly defined goals and develop strategies to meet them.

Services include obtaining and reviewing credit reports; creating debt-reduction plans; accessing checking and savings accounts; organizing and understanding financial documents; designing a unique budget; and addressing the behaviors that prevent individuals from successfully reaching goals.

Population(s) Served

Our Health & Wellness Program offers exercise and nutrition classes geared towards those who don’t have access to a traditional gym or gym membership. We incorporate components of emotional health into our programming, including mindfulness, meditation, and other supplemental programs. This holistic approach helps participants to better understand the connection between emotional and physical health. Our Mental Health team offers emotional support in the form of therapeutic groups, support groups, one-on-one coaching, individual therapy, care coordination, social capital building, and collaboration with other programming. We provide therapy to the youth we serve from preschool through high school. We also provide one-on-one coaching for mothers who are feeling overwhelmed and burned-out, while helping them understand the connection between their wellness and that of their family. We also provide space for mothers to gather and seek mutual support through support and therapeutic groups.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Senior Companion Program provides individuals who are 55 years of age or older and meet set program guidelines with meaningful volunteer opportunities in their community. Senior Companions receive a non-taxable hourly stipend and mileage reimbursement, which enables them to volunteer at no out-of-pocket expense. Companions receive 20 hours of training prior to their first assignment and additional training monthly. Medical or technical skills are not required.

Through home and community visits, Senior Companions help isolated and frail elderly adults maintain the highest possible level of independent living. Companions also provide short periods of relief to family caregivers, enabling them to take a break or run errands. Without this service, many individuals may not be able to continue living at home and may need more expensive and less personalized care.

Population(s) Served
Seniors

The Senior Resiliency Fund is a four-part intervention for lower income older adults to gain access to valuable information and liquid assets for savings, and to grow relationships in the community.

Over a six-month period, participants engage in bi-weekly meetings with speakers on various topics including: productivity and goal-setting; physical, emotional and sexual wellness; elder financial abuse and scam avoidance; and conversations with family and friends about end-of-life planning.

They also participate in one-on-one financial coaching with our Certified Financial Social Worker to set individual savings goals, manage their budget on a fixed-income, credit repair or any other financial goal they have set for themselves.

At the end of the six-month period, participants who have successfully completed the above requirements for the program receive a 2 to 1 match on their savings goal (up to $400 for $200 saved) to use for the goal they set at the beginning of the program.

Population(s) Served
Seniors

The Department of Volunteer Engagement and Service Learning connects individuals and groups with the St. Louis community through a variety of meaningful service opportunities and social justice education geared towards helping people to achieve better lives.

Our Urban Forum program provides professional guidance in social justice education through immersive service learning. Groups are given the the opportunity to serve within our early childhood, youth development and family development programs. Service projects are paired with curriculum designed to help participants gain a greater understanding of issues facing those who live in poverty and on the margins of society.

Our Traveling Reflection & Immersion Program allows our staff to come to your group. Programming ranges from a few hours to full day workshops geared towards facilitating dialogue in order that participants gain a better understanding of issues such as poverty, food insecurity, racism and educational disparities.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Families, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes both direct and indirect client data. -2015 brought about a transition to more -2020 data reflects food and cleaning supply distribution as part of COVID relief efforts

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Families, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Direct clients only--clients who received extensive and/or long-term services in small groups or 1:1. These clients are unduplicated and we collect complex data records on them.

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Not unduplicated.

Number of clients who self-report increased skills/knowledge after educational program/intervention

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Applies to Economic Wellness, Emotional and Physical Wellness, and Senior Programming

Number of savings accounts used by clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Economic Wellness Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of financial literacy courses conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Economic Wellness Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students who exhibit kindergarten readiness

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Infants and toddlers, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Early Childhood Center

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Enrollment numbers decresed during the COVID epidemic 2020-2021. Enrollment is increasing significantly in early 2022.

Number of youth who plan to attend post-secondary education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

LifeWise Academy (Teen) Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

LifeWise StL is committed to helping program participants achieve wellness in all areas of their daily life.

Participants in Family Development will experience:
-an increase in physical wellness,
-a reduction in the symptoms of perinatal mood disorders,
-an increase in skills learned in adult education courses like HiSet preparation, and ESOL,
-an increase in financial stability (including improved credit, increased savings and assets, and decreased debt)
-and an increase in social capital

Early Childhood Center
-increased readiness to enter kindergarten
-increased ability to reach age-appropriate developmental milestones

After School/Summer Camp
-increased proficiency in reading/math
-increased positive self confidence

LifeWise Academy
-increased matriculation from High School
-increased knowledge of job readiness and life skills

Senior Companions
-transition to a stable or improved living situation

Our Early Childhood Program is accredited under the Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Children and Youth and provides quality services for 94 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age. We are a member of United 4 Children, which provides technical support and in-service training, as well as ChildCare Aware of Missouri. We use Creative Curriculum, which is based on the latest research on how children learn and has been shown through experimental studies to improve classroom quality and promote school readiness of preschool aged children. We use Teaching Strategies Gold as an ongoing assessment tool to help provide individualization, plan goals and objectives, and track outcomes.

Our After School and Summer Camp programs provide an academically-focused environment conducive to homework help-seeking and supplemental educational curriculum/activities. In 2018, we brought in learning disability consultants to work with children who have learning disabilities. Consultants see 18 children twice per week.

LIfeWise Academy is a unique program providing academic enrichment, social-emotional support, life skills, and job readiness activities to approximately 100 teens during a critical period of development so that they are better prepared for a post-secondary institution and/or the workforce.

The Family Development Department offers Adult Education in the form of ESOL classes. Through Financial Stability Services like one-on-one coaching, financial education, and access to credit- and wealth-building financial products, members achieve their economic goals. The LifeWise STL Health and Wellness Program offers fitness classes, nutrition workshops, coaching sessions and a healthy meal feature. Participants receive the support needed to achieve their health and wellness goals. Enlace is a program that focuses on building social capital and access to resources for participants. Studies show that social capital is vital to upward mobility, and the lack of is often strongly correlated with poverty. Apoyo y Cariño focuses on intervention to Latina mothers who are pregnant or parenting babies through 24 months of age. Family Development also offers a low-cost thrift store, low-cost healthy food market, and free childcare to support families as they participate in programs.

Through home and community visits, the Senior Companion Program helps isolated and frail elderly adults maintain the highest possible level of independent living. The LifeWise STL Senior Resiliency Fund is a four-part intervention for lower income older adults to gain access to valuable information and liquid assets for savings, and to grow relationships in the community.

LifeWise STL has a full-time, Master's-level employee dedicated to program evaluation for the organization, ensuring program quality and fidelity to evidence-based practice. All data are housed in a HIPAA-compliant database called Efforts to Outcomes. All Program Directors and the Coordinators of Family Development are Masters-prepared and utilize current research in their fields of expertise and evidence-tested assessment tools. LifeWise STL supports all staff in continuous professional development.

LIfeWise STL provides bilingual programming and interpretation for all participants and removes barriers to engaging in programs through the provision of our market, thrift store and child care. We incorporate program evaluation as a continuous quality improvement process across every department. Many of our clients come to us with an existing foundation, be that a job, a place to live or a supportive social network. Because of this our services are tailored to get clients to that next level, like purchasing a home, paying off student debt, preventing (and in some cases eliminating) chronic disease diagnoses and achieving post-secondary education.

LifeWise STL is the only agency in neighborhoods south of downtown St. Louis that provides a comprehensive array of services for children of all ages and their families. There are also very few agencies in the St. Louis Metro Area that provide bilingual (Spanish/English) social services, and the increase in the Hispanic clients at LifeWise STL reflects the demand.

In 2018, LifeWise STL impacted a total of 2,269 individuals through its diverse programs and services designed to address the needs of low-income community members of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Due to the volume of our programming, we have a number of outcomes through which we define success. In 2018:
-82% (27/33) of After School and Summer Camp students improved their reading skills.
-79% (74/94) of Early Childhood participants achieved/exceeded developmental milestones.
-68% (108/158) of Financial Stability clients increased their savings, credit, and assets.
-62% (38/61) of Mental Health clients experienced a reduction in perinatal mood disorders.
-100% (14/14) of senior class participants in Kingdom Academy graduated from high school.
-80% (16/20) of participants in Kingdom Academy's Wyman Teen Outreach Program (TOP) gained critical thinking and decision making skills.
-85% (116/136) of our Senior Companion clients transitioned to a stable living situation.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Low-income and under-resourced people of all ages in our community.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression are risk factors for chronic conditions. Inversely, those who have experienced chronic pain and/or conditions are at a higher risk for experiencing increased poorer mental health and decreased moods. We recognize that our participants are not exempt from these determinants of health. In addition, our community faces increased risk factors for poor health and emotional wellness due to historical and structural racism, lack of access, and other cultural disparities. For these reasons, we created the Emotional & Physical Wellness Department as an intentional step towards recognizing and addressing the wellness of our participants in a holistic manner.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We created the Family & Community Council, which serves as the advisory body for the adult programming departments at LifeWise StL. In this role, the Council provides important guidance around existing and future programming and represents the voice of the community in all programmatic decision making. Key charges include: provide feedback on existing adult programs; interpret outcomes from existing adult programs; elevate pressing issues and areas of need in the community; help develop and critique new and future programming; inform the vision and core values of the adult programming departments; and disseminate key information about adult programs to the broader community. The Council has increased engagement and instilled ownership in our programs and services.

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

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, 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,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

LifeWise StL
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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

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LifeWise StL

Board of directors
as of 03/04/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Ryan Kight

Edward Jones

Term: 2020 - 2022

Adam Caldwell

Thrivent Financial

Patricia Heavens-Kosh

David Guess

Maher & Company, PC

Victoria Brown-Kennerly

Webster University

Dana Warfield-Harris

Kindred at Home

Donna Puyear

Eric Seidler

Ameren

Karla Samson

Square

Robert Puyear

Shari Scott

Paula Anderson

Together Credit Union

Andres Hun

Charter Communications

Anne Kilburn

Citi

Derek Attwood

The Boeing Company

Kevin Kosh

Beloved UMC

Michael Hazelton

Webster Groves School District

Tracey Coleman

MSD

Peter Romano

Wells Fargo Advisors

John Higdon

SSM Health

Steve Korbecki

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 9/8/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/08/2021

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

Data
  • 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 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 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.