September, 2017

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BRO Update – October 2017

Dear BRO Friends and Family,

We’re planning for our annual Christmas Toy Distribution and are preparing to provide gifts for 5,500 children in the Saint Louis area. In the process of this work we have been informed by the Presbytery of Giddings Lovejoy that the building has been sold to the Missouri Botanical Garden and that we need to vacate the space by the end of January 2018.

The sale is a good move for the Presbytery but sad for us. It has, however, resulted in our looking over our financial situation and volunteer base and the realities that we have been facing. We find ourselves with a seriously depleting volunteer base. Current volunteers have been facing individual and family health issues and changing family circumstances. Prior to notice of the sale we had talked in theory about what our future might look like. We also find that funding sources have changed their focus, have taken on new agencies, or are also facing financial crises

Our current assets would allow us to continue for two, maybe three years, but we don’t believe that our current volunteer base would be able to support the effort that it would take. We would need to move, ideally to a free space. We know that any move would probably result in rent and utilities being added to an already tight budget. We don’t believe that we could handle the move with the resources available to us.

So, yes, we are preparing to close after providing mission to the St. Louis Area for 95 years. Our mission has changed through the years based on the needs of the community and other resources provided by social service and government agencies. Over the past several decades our focus has been on Christmas Gifts for kids and layettes for moms and their new babies. We’ve increased our Christmas giving from providing toys for 1800 to 5500 children. That’s a lot of Barbies, balls, Legos, books, puzzles, and games, not to mention, hats, gloves, scarves, blankets and more! Not bad for a bunch of little old (and young) ladies ( and a few men) operating on a wing, a prayer and minimal funding.

We have decided to stop taking used toys, games, puzzles, books, etc. after November 1. We can take new items until Thanksgiving. (Our toy distribution is the week or two following Thanksgiving.) We still need volunteers for that event as we anticipate serving 5500 or more children.

Our remaining assets will be disbursed to various agencies/organizations that provide goods or services to children/youth in the St. Louis area. Our board has some ideas about how to do that, but we would like your input. So send us suggestions. Funds would need to be disbursed to groups that are organized as a 501 (c) (3) organization with the IRS. Groups would need to provide their FEIN number for our reports. Please send us those suggestions by December 1.

Our Board of Directors will be preparing a dissolution plan for a vote of the membership which you will receive in early 2018. While we have to be out of the building by the end of January we intend to thoughtfully disburse our assets in a manner that will honor the hearts of our donors, volunteers and children/youth in our community.

Sincerely,

Donna Cook
President
Board of Religious Organizations

Bro-St.Louis
4262 Cleveland Ave. St. Louis, MO 6311