Children’s Home Society of Missouri

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

Children’s Home Society of Missouri

I know many of you have charities that call on occasion and offer to pick up used clothing/small household goods. For years, my family has donated to Children’s Home Society of Missouri. I would have to write CHS on the bags/boxes that we put on the porch for pickup, and I always imagined that this was some type of a home for disadvantaged children.

Well, I’ve learned CHS is so much more than that, and recently I was selected to be a member of their board. During my orientation, I was blown away at the breadth of services they offer families and children with disabilities. No one in the St. Louis area is doing more exciting and innovative work in this field. I had a new appreciation for where my clothing was going, and how it was benefitting the organization.

CHS was founded in 1891 providing children with a permanent, safe and loving home. The founders Herman Bollman and Reverend C.W. Williams were pioneers in the emerging field of child welfare and envisioned a society that would provide homes for neglected and abused children. Since its founding, the organization has grown and has recently moved to a new location to house their expanding clientele and services.

In addition to offering residential and respite care for children with developmental disabilities, CHS offers education/counseling services for adoptive parents and children, foster parents and children as well as pregnancy counseling and parenting skills education for teen moms who have a child diagnosed with a developmental disability.

They do AWESOME work. And they need our support. So back to the clothing thing! Please get on the list for charity clothing pickups. Make sure to designate CHS as your Charity Preference. Or you can call 314.416.1300 and let the telephone operator know that you want to schedule a pickup for Children’s Home Society. You will receive notification when they are in your neighborhood.

CHS has their annual dinner auction coming up and the theme is Big Hopes, Big Dreams…Big Easy Dinner Auction. It’s on Saturday, August 23, and it will be my first time attending. The event provides critical resources that help support the over 1,000 children and families who received services at CHS. If you want to join me, here’s more information. Hope to see you there.

St. Louis PrideFest

Anne-Marie Vaughan
Business Manager/Controller

St. Louis PrideFest

If you’ve never attended St. Louis’ annual PrideFest, you may not be familiar with the organization that makes this celebration happen. Pride St. Louis is celebrating its own milestone anniversary in 2014—June 28-29 will mark the 35th anniversary of PrideFest in St. Louis.

Pride St. Louis, Inc. grew from the St. Louis Lesbian & Gay Pride Celebration Committee, which was formed in 1979-1980. Since the first celebration in April of 1980, Pride St. Louis has been working to foster an environment of inclusiveness and acceptance in the St. Louis area. It’s a 501(c)(3) organization, and is run entirely by volunteers.

The mission of Pride St. Louis, Inc. is, “To foster an understanding of and equality for the LGBT community in the general population by raising awareness through educational programs and events ultimately leading up to the annual PrideFest in St. Louis.” This festival is held during the last weekend in June to cap off LGBT Pride Month. It’s a beautiful, colorful celebration of diversity that welcomes everyone in the community. Additionally, Pride St. Louis also manages a scholarship program for LGBT students.

Many areas of St. Louis City have hosted PrideFest over the last 30 years, but in 2013 the festival made a historic move to downtown St. Louis. Mayor Francis Slay welcomed the festival by saying that “Downtown was built by St. Louisans who liked a great parade. Over the years, we have celebrated heroes, champions, victories, and holidays on downtown’s wide streets and plazas. With the public buildings, including the magnificent new Peabody Opera House and Central Library, as backdrops, the pictures are going to be dramatic. I am very pleased to welcome Pride St. Louis and our parade to the city’s best parade route.”

This brings me to what I love most about St. Louis’ PrideFest… the parade! I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the parade for the last seven years, and I don’t plan to stop now. I consider St. Louis’ Pride Parade to be the most festive parade all year, and I wouldn’t miss it. Weather is not a factor—you can’t rain on this parade!

None of the Pride festivities would be possible without the dedicated volunteers who help make these events happen. Pride St. Louis also hosts several events during the year to raise funds in support of the festival and scholarship program, and these events require volunteers as well. Each year, over 300 volunteers are needed. It’s easy to sign up, and there’s still time to get involved with the 2014 PrideFest! Simply visit the Pride St. Louis website and fill out the volunteer interest form. Questions about volunteering may be directed to Wolf Smith, the Director of Volunteers, at [email protected].

I’m celebrating G/L STL 25 by volunteering at PrideFest on 2.5 days in June, and I hope to see you there!

ALIVE St. Louis

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

ALIVE St. Louis

Apart from the occasional spanking for talking in church or that one time I set fire to the Kleenexes in my Mom’s bathroom wastebasket, I have been a stranger to domestic violence. Yet, it is a reality for many adults and children in our community, across all ethnicities and socio-economic strata.

To provide respite from domestic violence and abuse, there is a local organization called ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments). They offer counseling, emergency sanctuary and other critical services to adults and children who have been impacted by domestic abuse. ALIVE’s vision is to end domestic abuse, restoring safety and peace one family at a time.

ALIVE was founded in 1983 by two Washington University graduate students who recognized the lack of services for domestic violence victims. Their awareness of the critical need for safe shelter for women and children victimized by domestic violence inspired them to fill this existing need. ALIVE began in two rooms of a church with two volunteer co-directors and six safe home providers. Four weekly support groups were held. ALIVE was incorporated in 1983 and has flourished into a full service domestic violence agency. Today’s Nights of Safety program continues to provide temporary emergency shelter when all domestic violence shelters beds are full. ALIVE’s additional services include: 24 hour crisis hot line, emergency transportation, individual and group counseling for adults, a children’s treatment program addressing children who witness violence, court advocacy and community education.

All services are provided by professional staff and highly trained volunteers. Anyone who would like to help can volunteer in the following areas:

• Staff the crisis line

• Care for children while parents receive counseling

• Perform clerical duties in one of ALIVE’s offices

• Assist with various special projects

• Serve on the Board of Directors or a special committee

• Join in outreach efforts through the Speaker’s Bureau

Donations can take the form of:

• Nonperishable food for the women and children

• Paper plates, bowls, plastic forks spoons and knives, paper towels, napkins

• Funds to support ALIVE’s emergency transportation are always needed

• Used cell phones (to be recycled, refurbished and sent to 3rd world countries.)

(ALIVE also receives a reimbursement per each donated phone)

To learn how you can become a volunteer and be on call to answer the crisis calls, contact Maggie Menefee – [email protected]  or call: 314-993-7080 x 108

All volunteers must complete 40 hours of training. Domestic abuse occurs every day; the hot line is answered 24/7 – 365 days each year. There are no holidays for domestic violence needs.

I, myself, have committed to performing 25 tasks for ALIVE, mostly related to their upcoming Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction to be held at the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park on June 26. For a fee of $150, golfers will receive lunch, 18 holes of golf, buffet dinner and open bar, plus the opportunity to participate in a silent and regular auction. To register and learn more about this charity event, visit

Got big data? Now what?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Got big data? Now what?

Big data is a term we hear from several clients. And to that, of course, I say, yes! – an established understanding of the need to collect data on potential leads. But collecting the data isn’t necessarily the challenge. How can we apply insight to the visitor data in order to tailor content and create conversions? Here are just a few tips to get you organized.

Keep Researching

Ideally you will have already established your ideal buyer persona. But if you have not, start piecing together the pain points of these individuals, their routines, online behaviors – even down to the timing they may engage online. From this comes a better idea of who is tapping into your resources and just how you can cater to them.


As prospective leads come in, consistently segment based on engagement, as well as the parameters above. Is there is a pattern in the kind of content that piques their interest? Are they reading blogs and white papers on branding? Inbound marketing? Are they liking Facebook posts pertaining to similar content? Start creating segments based on the information gathered.

Persona Tailored Content

As your leads are segmented, you’re able to tailor the content you’re delivering in order to maximize your lead conversion. Whether you’re sending a simple plain-text email including a relevant white paper, posting a blog chock full of long-tailed keywords or posting to Twitter at a time when engagement is up – you’re increasing the chances of delivering relevant content to leads for the most optimal outcome.

Animal House Fund Cat Shelter

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Animal House Fund Cat Shelter

A friend had been after me to visit his cat shelter for months. I finally took time on a Saturday in 2013 after my golf game to go to the shelter. I invited a friend to join me for the visit. She is the doting provider to two cats, and I am the proud parent of two dogs. I think both of us were unprepared for the impact that the Animal House Fund Cat Shelter would have on us. I, in particular, wanted to get a bed and move in.


Located at 2151 59th Street on the Hill, the Animal House is a haven for felines young, old, little or big and in every color imaginable. The shelter is the most enticing environment I have ever been in. Maybe because there are no dogs, only cats, it is incredibly peaceful. Don’t get me wrong I love dogs, but I also love cats, I just don’t live with any.

The majority of the cats live in open, airy 10’ x 10’ rooms designed to challenge their need for exploration and interaction with each other. It also allows them to pile up lovingly to sleep or to groom one another.

The shelter was born as a consequence of the Mayor of St. Louis closing the city-run animal control facility, which had become overcrowded and antiquated. Animal House is a no-kill shelter, so some of the 4-legged residents have been at the shelter since it came into existence in 2010. At any one time, there could be 250 cats living there.

I stopped by the shelter one day recently to visit the seven litters of kitties — each more adorable than the other. Wonderfully, all but one of the litters had their mothers, which makes their life so much better.  The orphans were being bottle fed by staff every two hours! I actually got to help out. It is much harder than you can imagine.

The shelter has an outstanding track record when it comes to caring for abandoned kittens, like those orphaned babies rescued from the claws of a hawk, who were nursed back to health and later adopted. And some kittens that were rescued on the coldest day in January 2014 by a Good Samaritan are today happy, healthy and thriving.

As with all 501(c)3 groups, the Animal House is always desperate for funding, volunteers, staff and resources. There is not enough money to hire additional staff to assist with volunteer coordination or fund development. There aren’t enough volunteers or staff to produce fundraising events, do public relations or produce newsletters.

And while it’s a daily struggle for the Animal House to make ends meet, I can absolutely say that the one thing that they never struggle to do is provide loving care and attention for every animal in their care every day of the year.

I love to visit there. I love to take friends there. I just love to sit in one of the cages and see who will come up to love me.

It is a wonderful place that I wanted everyone to know about.  Feel free to call me to get your own personal tour, maybe volunteer or send them some money. They accept donations of cat beds and toys, bleach and cleaning supplies.