Privilege to Give
History of the Staenberg Family Foundation
The Staenberg Family Foundation was founded in 2005 by Michael and Carol Staenberg as a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. As such, it supports projects and programs that meet the mission of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, which is to mobilize resources needed to preserve and enhance Jewish life in St. Louis, in Israel and around the world.
The Staenbergs chose to establish the Foundation in this manner because they believe that the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ mission is consistent with their family values as Jews. Tzedakah (righteousness) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) are values that have guided the Jewish people and guide the Staenberg family. They also wanted to set an example of giving for the community and their immediate family. “Tzedakah is basic to Judaism. We want to teach the next generation the importance of giving back,” stated Michael Staenberg. The Staenberg family hopes that their actions will inspire others to give back to the community.
Guided by Jewish values, the Staenberg Family Foundation seeks to ensure that the Jewish community, as well as the greater St. Louis region, thrives and flourishes.
The Staenberg Family Foundation’s highest funding priority will be supporting services, projects and programs directed toward creating a thriving Jewish community in St. Louis and beyond. The Foundation values an inclusive and pluralistic approach to Jewish life.
The Foundation’s other significant areas of interest are Infrastructure (especially buildings); Arts and Culture, including providing art for institutions that promote art, culture, and health; Children, with a special focus on summer camps; Education; and Medical Research.
The Foundation works toward the betterment of the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond by supporting places, projects, and people in these priority areas.
The family board meets four times per year to consider grant requests and make allocations recommendations. Michael Staenberg serves as Foundation President.
The Staenberg Family Foundation does not financially support any political organizations.
For questions about the application process or funding, please contact Karen Sher at KSher@JFedSTL.org or 314-442-3824.
Staenberg Family Foundation Applications
In order to be considered for funding through the Staenberg Family Foundation, all requests must come through the Spectrum Portal. This applies to:
- General Support Applications (applications accepted on an ongoing basis)
- Event Sponsorship Requests (applications accepted on an ongoing basis)
- Anything Grant Applications (applications accepted December through February)
You will be directed to the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ new online grant management system, Spectrum Granted Edge. You will need to create an account in order to apply for a grant from the Staenberg Family Foundation, even if you previously had an account through the prior grant management system. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Please Note: All grant recipients will also be required to complete a six-month follow-up.
For questions regarding the Spectrum Portal or technical issues, please contact Karen Sher at KSher@JFedSTL.org or 314-442-3824.
Anything Grants support projects, infrastructure, and programs of local Jewish organizations.
Applications open on Monday, May 9, 2022 and close on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Click here to enter the Spectrum Portal
You will be directed to the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ online grant management system, Spectrum Granted Edge. If you have any questions or problems with the application process, please contact Marla Guggenheimer at MGuggenheimer@JFedSTL.org or 314-442-3764.
Goals of Anything Grants
- Contribute to local agencies that help create a thriving Jewish community in St. Louis.
- Leave a lasting legacy by spreading tangible acts of goodwill throughout the St. Louis Jewish community.
- Encourage other members of the local Jewish community to support important initiatives, projects and organizations.
Eligible Grant Applications could be for anything, including:
- Hiring a nonprofit consultant
- Purchasing technology
- Staff/Board professional development
- Building beautification/improvement
- May also be programmatic, but since this may be a one-time grant, we encourage grants for specific one-time needs
Criteria for Anything Grants
- Grants will be given to Jewish non-profit agencies, organizations or synagogues in the St. Louis community. No individuals or for-profit businesses.
- All applicants must have a 501(c)3 tax status.
- Grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000 (so your project budget cannot exceed $10,000).
- The request should be for 50% of your projected program budget – you must articulate how the other 50% will be raised. Grantees will be required to provide evidence of the matching funds that were raised. These must be new dollars – not from an operating budget or previously raised/committed funds.
- Your request should not be part of a larger campaign. We want to fund projects that can be accomplished with our contribution as half of the project budget.
- We encourage submission of proposals for specific one-time needs. If it is for an ongoing project, a sustainability plan must be articulated.
- Projects must be completed and follow-ups submitted by Tuesday, May 2, 2023 at midnight.
- Grantees will be required to complete a progress report upon completion of the project in order to receive payment.
- If the grant is for a capital/tangible project, including building renovation or improvements, or purchase of equipment or other tangible items:
- A formal/official cost estimate is required to justify the requested funds.
- Grantees will be required to demonstrate completion via photos, receipts, invoices paid, etc.
A lay advisory committee is charged with reviewing all applications and making recommendations to the Staenberg Family Foundation Board of Directors, who make the final funding decisions.
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Marla Guggenheimer at MGuggenheimer@JFedSTL.org or 314-442-3764.
The recipients of the 2021 Staenberg Family Foundation Anything Grants are:
- Agudas Israel of St. Louis
- Bais Abraham Congregation
- Barbara Mendelson Tomchei Shabbos Fund
- Central Reform Congregation
- Chabad of the Central West End
- Chesed Shel Emeth Society
- Chevra Kadisha
- Congregation B’nai Amoona
- Crown Center for Senior Living
- Jewish Family Services of St. Louis
- The Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis/Congregation Shaare Emeth
- Kol Rinah
- National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis
- Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School
- Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Community
- Traditional Congregation of Creve Coeur
- Young Israel of St. Louis
The recipients of the 2020 Staenberg Family Foundation Anything Grants are:
- Agudas Israel of St. Louis
- Bais Abraham Congregation
- Barbara Mendelson Tomchei Shabbos Fund
- B’nai Amoona Congregation
- BBYO St. Louis
- Chabad of Greater St. Louis
- Chabad of St. Charles County
- Covenant Place
- Crown Center for Senior Living
- Cultural Leadership
- Hillel at Maryville University
- Jewish Family Services
- Jewish Federation of St. Louis Community Engagement Department
- Kol Rinah
- Nusach Hari B’nai Tzion
- Temple Emanuel
- Temple Israel
- Torah Prep School
The recipients of the 2019 Staenberg Family Foundation Anything Grants are:
- Hillel at Washington University – Building Beautification through Torah
- MaTovu – Building Enhancements
- Jewish Family & Children’s Service – Flooring Replacement
- Kol Rinah – Technology Upgrade
- National Council of Jewish Women STL – Security Updates
- Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School – Technology Renewal
- St. Louis Jewish Light – Technology Needs
- Traditional Congregation – Security and Safety Support
- St. Louis Kollel – Kollel Beautification Project
- Barbara Mendelsohn Tomchei Shabbos Fund, Vaad Hoeir – Freezer and Storage Upgrade
- St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association – Congregational Leadership Training for LGBTQ Inclusiveness
- Covenant Place Foundation – Technology to Connect Older Adults with Services, Resources, & Each Other
- Yeshivat Kadimah High School – Drama Program
- Maryville University Hillel – Maryville University Hillel and Scholarship Strategic Awareness Campaign
- Young Israel of St. Louis – Synagogue Bathroom Remodel
- Jewish Community Relations Council – Support to Educate the Jewish Community on Criminal Justice Reform
- United Hebrew Congregation – Expansion of Infant/Toddler Rooms
- St. Louis Council BBYO – Jewish Enhancement Initiative
- B’nai Amoona – A Jewish Room for All to Enter
- Friends of Israel Scouts-Shevet Keshet – Person-to-Person Israel Exchange & Winter Camp
- St. Louis Friends of Israel – Website
- Chesed Shel Emeth Society – Memorial Garden Benches
In 2016, the Staenberg Family Foundation celebrated 10 years as a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the organization which works to preserve and enhance Jewish life in St. Louis, in Israel and around the world. In that time, the Staenberg family has contributed millions of dollars to the Jewish community through the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.
As part of our community work in 2016, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis celebrated the Staenberg Family Foundation and Michael and Carol Staenberg’s accomplishments through philanthropy in the past 10 years. Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the Staenberg Family Foundation hope that you will feel inspired, as the Staenbergs have, to embrace the important Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).
“It comes to a point when you have to help other people. It’s not all about yourself.” –Michael Staenberg, Ladue News, January 2015
We are telling the greatest success stories from the Staenberg’s 10 years of giving, one of our supporting Foundations. Be sure to read these compelling stories that tell how the Staenberg’s giving has personally touched each organization or made St. Louis and the world a better place.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, contact Mindee Fredman at MFredman@JFedSTL.org.
Jazz St. Louis
“We believe in education, in all forms.” -Carol & Michael Staenberg, August 2016
A decade ago, Carol and Michael Staenberg made a gift to Jazz St. Louis to fund a training program for a small group of student musicians. The goal of the program was to fill a void in the community by creating a space where the most gifted student musicians in the St. Louis region could grow their talents. Because of the Staenberg’s continued support and their understanding of the importance of music education, we were able to grow this small program and create JazzU, a nationally-acclaimed program aimed at providing high-level music training and developing life-skills in young musicians. Thanks to Michael and Carol, we have been able to offer JazzU at no cost to participating students.
Carol and Michael’s commitment to Jazz St. Louis goes beyond the JazzU program. In 2014, they joined us in recognizing the important role St. Louis has in the history of jazz by making a leadership gift to our capital campaign to build the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. This unique, multi-functional space boasts a state-of-the-art listening room that has earned praise both locally and nationally as one of the top five listening rooms in the country. It has also become a centerpiece in the revitalization of the Grand Center Arts District, drawing attention to St. Louis as a presenter of high-quality arts programming.
In addition to these targeted gifts, the Staenberg’s consistently provide funding for our annual gala, and subscribe to our Jazz at the Bistro performance series. This ongoing financial support ensures that Jazz St. Louis can continue to present the highest-quality performances to the community, and engage upwards of 7,000 students each year through transformative music experiences that expose youth to jazz, and cultivate the next generation of great jazz musicians and patrons of the arts.
The Jazz St. Louis Board of Directors and Staff are forever grateful to the Staenberg Family Foundation for their unwavering generosity, their continued commitment to music education, and their philanthropic leadership that is establishing St. Louis as a cultural hub in the Midwest.
United Way of Greater St. Louis
Michael and Carol Staenberg, along with the Staenberg Family Foundation, have been longtime, generous supporters of United Way of Greater St. Louis, contributing nearly $1 million to United Way’s Annual Community Campaign over the past decade. They are helping people through United Way and its member agencies establish financial stability, improve health, foster learning, provide basic food and shelter and strengthen communities throughout our 16-county region in Missouri and Illinois. Their support of $1 million allows for services and programs such as the delivery of a nutritious meal for homebound seniors; job skills and training courses to help unemployed people gain full-time employment; domestic violence shelter for mothers and their children; shoes and clothing for a school year for children in need; flu shots for at-risk infants; winter clothing for homeless people; transportation to medical appointments for low-income families and much more.
The Staenbergs are also involved in many of United Way’s member agencies, such as the Jewish Community Center, College Bound, Support Dogs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Marygrove.
Their support is helping provide critical health and human services for one in three local people facing a variety of needs and issues and without it, we may not be able to have as wide of a reach in our community.
Michael and Carol Staenberg are important members of the St. Louis region and their generosity and involvement in the St. Louis philanthropic community has been vital to help strengthen and build a thriving region now and for the future. United Way of Greater St. Louis is grateful for their continued support in furthering the mission to help local people live their best possible lives.
Jewish Community Center
How does an organization properly acknowledge and thank people who are so instrumental leading an agency to an unprecedented period of growth and vibrancy? The Staenberg Family Foundation, and Michael Staenberg in particular, did just that. He didn’t do it alone, but Michael led the charge starting with an evaluation of our business operations as well as the design of new and renovated facilities, followed by funding that would set the stage for rebirth of our Jewish Community Center.
Through our five lines of service delivery – early childhood education, day and resident camping, Jewish cultural and social programs, group social services (including programs for those with special needs, our Kitchen J that caters meals daily at Covenant Place and our Adult Day Center) and fitness & wellness, the J serves the needs of more than 80,000 people annually and records nearly one million touch points each year.
The Staenberg Family Foundation doesn’t just provide funding, the family invests fully – with time, expertise and money – to effect change in our community. No organization has impacted life in our St. Louis region quite like the Staenberg Family Foundation has and we are forever grateful.
So the next time you’re at the J or Camp Sabra for any reason, look around you at the beauty of our facilities and know that the Staenbergs were instrumental in creating our wonderful spaces. But that wasn’t enough for them. They also helped us upgrade our business operations, our marketing efforts and our program quality.
Michael, Carol and their entire family demonstrate every day their commitment to our community. Todah Rabah to the Staenberg Family Foundation and congratulations on 10 years of great work that is changing the landscape of our St. Louis Jewish community.
Forest Park Forever
For more than 15 years, Michael and Carol Staenberg have played a leadership role in supporting the magnificent restoration of Forest Park as well as the daily care necessary for the Park to remain one of our region’s greatest civic treasures and one of the most beautiful parks in the country and the world.
We know how much Forest Park has meant to the Staenberg family. When their daughters were young, the Park was a place of frequent play and cultural exploration. Years later, one daughter celebrated her wedding at the Jewel Box and the Emerson Grand Basin. Today, whether enjoying the Park’s recreational paths or showing off the Park to friends and family, the Staenbergs continue to enjoy so much of what the Park offers.
Because of the generosity and vision of the Staenbergs, the beauty of Forest Park is something our entire community can enjoy. Their leadership gifts to Forest Park Forever’s Restoring the Glory campaign and our current Forever campaign greatly accelerated our efforts to revitalize the Park, continue important capital improvements and secure the Park’s financial standing for the coming decades.
As members of our Leffingwell Society, Forest Park Forever’s leadership giving group, Michael and Carol are also playing a central role in providing the annual dollars needed for our team to complete the ‘behind the scenes’ work of keeping the Park beautiful and welcoming: planting bulbs, maintaining the path system, planting and pruning trees and so much more.
As leaders in the philanthropic community, Michael and Carol continue to not only serve as an example to others, but also actively encourage others to give to the Park. This advocacy means so much.
“Forest Park is so important,” the couple has told us. “It is truly a place where all walks of life can gather. Forest Park reflects everything St. Louis stands for.”
All of us at Forest Park Forever are grateful to the Staenberg Family Foundation for their investment in this beautiful civic treasure.
Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS)
Passion and action describe Carol and Michael Staenberg’s involvement with Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS). Michael says “Your actions will tell people how good you are,” and Carol says, “It’s critical that we teach our children the importance of giving back.” JF&CS has experienced all of this and more through intense personal commitments from Carol and Michael and the Staenberg Family Foundation. Both Carol and Michael lead by example and have charted a path for others to follow. They have personally made a significant impact on our agency and the people we serve. Their passion for helping to alleviate hunger insecurity in our community has been a source of great inspiration for the JF&CS staff, volunteers and the entire St. Louis community.
When the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry outgrew its space, Carol assumed a leadership role in locating and purchasing a new home for the food pantry. She continues to be intimately involved as a volunteer in the food pantry by stocking the shelves, interviewing clients and distributing food to hungry families. Currently, she is leading the food pantry advisory committee which assesses the ongoing needs of the pantry. Michael has been instrumental in mentoring JF&CS and looking at the bigger picture. He encouraged us to formulate a business plan to ensure the financial stability of the agency for future generations making sure that vulnerable populations would be cared for well into the future. The food pantry was in dire need of an expansion of the HVAC system to ensure that the warehouse work space maintained a comfortable year round climate for our dedicated volunteers who are the heart and soul of the food pantry. Michael graciously offered his expert staff to review the bids and make sure JF&CS received the best and most comprehensive bid for the project. He understood the significance of our volunteers being comfortable while they work so hard sorting and stocking food and helping our clients shop for food for their families. They can be especially proud of their work in assisting families who are struggling to once again become self-sufficient and productive members of the community. Carol and Michael’s acts of kindness extend far beyond the Jewish community. Giving back in this impassioned manner just doesn’t get any better.
JF&CS is forever grateful to the Staenberg Family Foundation for its vision and generosity. We held our first ever gala, and the Staenberg Family Foundation was one of four Champion Sponsors which helped us raise significant funds for many programs which address ongoing needs. The demand for service continues to rise, and the Staenbergs are there with an outstretched helping hand. They don’t want anything in return except the knowledge that their gifts have in some way improved the lives of people who are struggling just to make ends meet. Carol and Michael embody the spirit of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam in everything they do for JF&CS and our community. The impact of their personal involvement can only be measured in the smiles on the faces of the children and families we serve. The world is a better place just for them being in it. They are living the challenge, and we are honored to be the recipients of their generosity.
Center of Creative Arts (COCA)
Michael and Carol Staenberg’s generosity is felt across the St. Louis arts community and beyond, and at COCA, they have had a long and lasting impact. Their continued and sustained financial support has been instrumental in COCA’s growth and development and has allowed for countless children and families to experience the arts in a meaningful way. Their legacy is best encompassed in the Staenberg Studio at COCA, an anchor space in COCA’s historic building.
In addition to financial resources, the Staenbergs have dedicated their time and talents to helping advance COCA’s mission. Early in COCA’s history, Carol Staenberg established herself as a leader and integral volunteer. She has served as a COCA Board member for many years, and was recently the Board Secretary. She has been a Co-Chair of COCA’s annual fundraising gala, Chair of its Visual Arts Program Committee, and Chair of its Advisory Committee.
As President of The Staenberg Group and through his other business ventures, Michael Staenberg has demonstrated what it means to be a true corporate partner. Throughout the years, he has consistently served as a lead supporter and steward of COCA’s building. Michael has provided his expertise, network and personal resources to ensure the most efficient and effective approach to COCA’s facility maintenance, renovations and expansion. His time and guidance have provided an invaluable savings to COCA. Additionally, he has assisted with institutional advertising and marketing, and served as a true COCA ambassador, encouraging the participation of business associates throughout the community.
Michael and Carol Staenberg are integral members of the “COCA Family” and we are eternally grateful for their continuing support to bring COCA’s mission to the community.
Sheldon Arts Foundation
Michael Staenberg has been a Board Member of the Sheldon Arts Foundation since the 1999-2000 season and Michael and Carol have been generous donors, contributing over $250,000 to make possible important education programs for youth, to sponsor concerts by world class artists in the Sheldon Concert Hall, and to make vitally needed improvements to Sheldon facilities.
Through their support of The Sheldon Gala and Friends of The Sheldon benefit events, Sheldon education programs serve over 25,000 young people in the St. Louis region, introducing students to many genres of music and art, providing workshops and master classes for young musicians and artists, providing performance opportunities in the Sheldon Concert Hall and exhibit opportunities in the Sheldon Art Galleries, and working with talented students through mentoring programs.
Their support of Sheldon concerts has made possible appearances by artists including Wynton Marsalis, B.B. King, Pat Metheny, Crosby & Nash, Etta James, Arlo Guthrie, Leo Kottke, Renée Fleming, John Pizzarelli, Joan Baez, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, Dave Brubeck and David Byrne. Michael and Carol’s Capital Campaign contributions have made possible new granite steps to the Sheldon Concert Hall, HVAC upgrades, repairs and replacement of major equipment, and many other facility improvements.
The entire Sheldon family of Board Members and staff are grateful to Michael and Carol Staenberg for their participation and generous support of the Sheldon Arts Foundation. With their help, The Sheldon serves over 125,000 adults and children through great music, visual arts and education programs each year.
The Holocaust Museum & Learning Center
Commitment and preserving history … these two words are what comes to mind when thinking of the Staenberg Family Foundation. The Holocaust Museum & Learning Center is a recipient of the Foundation’s commitment to our Jewish community and also preserving a part of history by supporting our mission to teach the lessons of the Shoah. For 14 years, the Foundation has funded our Education Trunk Program, enabling teachers to enhance their Holocaust curriculum with literature sets, films, maps and lesson plans. Teachers use the trunks to better prepare their students for a visit to the Museum; others, who are unable to visit, use these resources as the core of their Holocaust education unit. Because the program is entirely underwritten by the Staenberg Family Foundation, we are able to provide this valuable service free of charge. We estimate, since we started this program, an additional 20,000 students have received quality Holocaust education in school districts in Missouri such as Greenville, Washington, Palmyra, Bonne Terre and Nashville, IL.
The Staenberg Family Foundation’s generosity does not stop with this one program or with contributions. Carol and Michael Staenberg personally take a very active role in our work. Carol Staenberg served as a co-chair of our very successful 20th Anniversary Dinner recently held at the end of 2015. In addition, Michael and Carol both solicited members of the community to become sponsors for our dinner, helping us raise close to $300,000. This effort is so crucial for sustaining and expanding our programs in 2016 and beyond.
The Staenberg’s support is not limited to institutional support. In 2013, they generously provided funding for the presentation of Beyond Me: A Song Cycle In the Key of Survival, a multi-media program focusing on the life of survivor Rachel Goldman Miller. A capacity audience was inspired by her moving story of resilience and courage.
And if this all wasn’t enough to remind us how important their philanthropic work is in our community, recently our Museum was in dire need of a new lift to provide access to our disabled visitors. We applied for a grant through the Regional Business Council’s It’s Our Region Fund. After receiving the grant, we discovered the Staenbergs were behind this grant process in St. Louis. No mention was made to us about this or their association while the process was going on.
Jewish texts are replete with passages confirming the importance of the giving of charity and righteous acts. According to the Talmud, “Tzedakah (charity) is equal to all the other commandments combined.” The generosity exemplified by Michael and Carol Staenberg and the Staenberg Family Foundation is truly inspiring. We are so grateful to have benefited from their passionate interest and support, enabling us to pursue our mission of creating a better world.
10 Gifts Challenge
Michael and Carol Staenberg are challenging YOU to the “10 Gifts Challenge.” Over the course of the year, challenge 10 people to do something inspired by the Staenbergs.
Step 1. Accept the Challenge
- Mentor someone in the community who needs your help.
- Volunteer your time at the food pantry, with seniors or at an upcoming event.
- Make a donation to an organization that impacts a cause you care about.
- Celebrate your successes to stay motivated in the future.
- Inspire a friend to take on the 10 Gifts Challenge, too!
Step 2. Share your success
- Post a photo of whatever you accomplished with the #10GiftsChallege on Facebook and Twitter.
- Challenge your friends and family to also complete the 10 Gifts Challenge. Tag them in your post!
Step 3. Continue your good work
- Now that you’ve completed the challenge, it doesn’t have to end!
- Read the Staenberg Stories for inspiration from St. Louis community
- Get involved in the Jewish Federation of St. Louis by vising BuildJewishSTL.org.
- Continue to spread the word to family and friends.
The Staenbergs have inspired you. Now it is your turn to inspire someone new.
“Your actions will tell people how good you are.”
Michael Staenberg, Black Tie Missouri, September 2005