In this issue: Annual holiday drive kicks off; Thanks for Giving recognizes donors; double your gift with tax credits; and forum addresses behavioral health care.

Help Spread Magic This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and many generous supporters in our community are gearing up to ensure every one of the more than 9,000 children, teens and families Youth In Need serves has a memorable holiday. Many local businesses, individuals, schools and community groups will participate in the agency’s annual holiday drive, collecting items from program wish lists through Dec. 12. To learn more about this year’s holiday drive, email Emily Birgenheier, Development Services Manager, view the general wish list or shop directly from the Amazon wish list. You also can support the drive by making a cash gift online.

Also back this year is the 13th annual Boatload of Toys drive with local radio station 93.7 The Bull. Radio personalities will be outside Bass Pro Shops in St. Charles on Dec. 3 and 4, filling boats with toys, hygiene supplies, books and more for Youth In Need. The station kicks off the Boatload of Toys drive with its annual Santa Jam concert on Friday, Dec. 2, at Stifel Theatre.

Annual Donor Event Celebrates Philanthropy

Youth In Need revived its annual “Thanks for Giving” donor appreciation event with a brunch at Vue 17 earlier this month. The event had been on hiatus since the pandemic. More than 50 donors attended the brunch, which is an opportunity for Youth In Need to extend its sincere thanks to guests for their support over the year. In addition, four special awards are given to supporters who have gone above and beyond in their advocacy for Youth In Need.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees!

Outstanding Community Partner
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Outstanding Corporate Partner
Healthy Blue Missouri

Outstanding Individual Partner
Beau Richmond

James A. Braun Champion of Children Award
Steve Zwolak

Ancient Order of Hibernians

From left: Demetria Lightfoot, Youth In Need's Director of Philanthropy, with members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Spirit of Philanthropy Community Partner honoree.

Healthy Blue Missouri

From left: Meredith Childs, representing Healthy Blue Missouri, the Spirit of Philanthropy Corporate Partner honoree, and Pat Holterman-Hommes, Youth In Need's President and CEO.

Beau Richmond

From left: Beau Richmond, Youth In Need Board member and Spirit of Philanthropy Individual Partner honoree, with Pat Holterman-Hommes.

Steve Zwolak

From left: Pat Holterman-Hommes and Steve Zwolak, the James A. Braun Champion of Children honoree.

Increase Your End-of-Year Giving Impact with Tax Credits

Every youth deserves a helping hand. When you make a donation to Youth In Need and use tax credits, you’re doubling your impact! Thanks to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Youth In Need has both Youth Opportunity Program and Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits available for every gift of $100 or more. Double your gift at no additional cost! Donors contributing $100 or more qualify for state tax credits equal to 50 percent of their donation that can then be used to pay Missouri state income tax. Learn more about tax credits or make a gift online.

These tax credits were awarded to support and expand Youth In Need’s continuum of services reaching the region’s most underserved youth. Project services include homeless outreach, emergency shelter, early childhood education and both school-based and community-based counseling. With these tax credits, supporters will be able to contribute more than $650,000 to these programs.

Panel Discussion Highlights Access to Behavioral Health Care

Behavioral Health Forum, presented by FOCUS St. Louis and United Way of Greater St. Louis hosted a forum this week to discuss behavioral health care in our community. Pat Holterman-Hommes, Youth In Need’s President and CEO, was one of four panelists who discussed equitable access, streamlined navigation and accepted normalization of care across all communities and populations we serve.

“We envision a community with equitable opportunities for children, youth and families so that it is not only possible but probable that they will thrive,” Holterman-Hommes said. “To achieve that, we need community-based care that is culturally competent and physically and financially accessible.”