Honor dad by giving to causes important to him



One of the bigger shopping challenges has always been buying gifts for Dad. Since the pandemic changed work attire forever, it also eliminated the lame but reliable fallback of a tie.  

So what can you do to show Dad you care on Father’s Day?  Donate to nonprofit community causes he values.

Does he value fitness?

Lift for Life GYM was started by a Jewish Ladue high grad in 1988. With its focus on building strong bodies and strong minds, this north side after school program offers fitness training, homework help, mentoring, life skills and much more.  Visit liftforlifegym.org

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

St. Louis Senior Olympics is one of many wonderful programs offered by the Jewish Community Center, which involved more than 1,000 local athletes age 50 and over in roughly 90 competitive events this year. Visit tinyurl.com/yuhb24cd

Does he care about gardening?

• Seeds St. Louis (formerly Gateway Greening) provides communities with tools, education and empowerment to grow their own food. The organization supports a network of 250 community gardens, school gardens and urban orchards throughout the St. Louis region. Visit seedstl.org

Does he care about science?

• St. Louis Science Center has a terrific Youth Exploring Science (YES) program. By empowering teens from underserved communities throughout their high school years, the YES program helps teens develop the knowledge, aspirations and critical skills to succeed in careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM). Visit tinyurl.com/ys99bwv5

• Wesley House Association, a longtime neighborhood pillar offering social service programs for all ages, has a new robotics team project that provides underserved youth exposure to STEM-based programs and enrichment, allowing them to explore their “untapped” talents while introducing them to robotics education. Visit wesleyhousestl.org 

Does he care about music and the arts?

• The Sheldon Foundation’s music education for underserved kids is the wow here. Eight hugely engaging curricula initiated 20 years ago and updated annually by leading community musicians, actors and directors introduce kids to history and occupations in the arts. Another program is the foundation’s  SOLID camp: the Science of Learning Instrument Design. Visit thesheldon.org 

• Artists First provides teaching artists for prople with disabilities, empowering artists of all abilities through creative self-expression. Within its charming studio in Maplewood, Artists First has created a community and enhanced self-esteem and purpose for its participants. It also offers art classes for veterans and the cognitively impaired.  artistsfirststl.org/ 

Does he care about families?

• Father and Family Support Center works to break the cycle of poverty, child neglect, child abuse and welfare dependence by educating and preparing fathers with parenting skills to foster healthy relationships and communities.  fatherssupportcenter.org

Does he care about health?

• Gateway to Oral Health enables African American dentists to provide dental care to more than 9,000 students at north St. Louis schools. Its mobile unit goes where the kids are so parents don’t have to leave work for a dental appointment.  gtohfoundation.org

St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer has been raising funds since 1969. The money is directed to specific cancer-related organizations that focus on research, prevention and care activities in the St. Louis community. mensgroupagainstcancer.org 

Does he value diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Cultural Leadership helps diverse youth explore the strengths and oppressions of our communities through the lenses of Black and Jewish experiences and develops them into social justice change-makers who advocate for equitable and just practices.  culturalleadership.org

• Disabled Athletes Sports Association provides opportunities to people with physical disabilities to participate in adaptive sports, recreational programs and fitness activities designed to improve self-esteem, strength, independence and well-being.  dasasports.org

• 100 Black Men of Metro St. Louis is an impressive group of business leaders providing mentoring and support for young Black youth in order to positively direct their lives. 100blackmenstl.com

This is only a baker’s dozen of the 17,000 nonprofits in St. Louis. So again, it’s time to reflect: Do any of these reflect your father’s interests? If not, what does?  What moves him, what makes him angry, what would he like to “fix” in our community? That’s where you should donate in his name.

Author Nina Needleman is a retired financial planner. She spent the first three-decades of her career in the financial services industry. Now she uses her business skills to help nonprofit organizations and more importantly — as a volunteer to teach people about personal finance and philanthropy.