Cover Story

Veiled Prophet Organization

There is an old saying,“It’s in giving that we receive,” and proof can be found wherever the Veiled Prophet Organization takes a hand in neighborhood betterment projects. Its Community Service Initiative (CSI) began in 2002 and has continually increased the number of charitable efforts it supports, reaching 38 projects and 1,000 volunteers in 2018. Activities have included building recreational areas for kids, visiting young patients in the hospital, beautifying veterans’ homes and more. And the best part is that involving many hands in the work provides benefits for all, says Troy Duncan, the organization’s community service chair.

The 59 young women who took part in the 2018 Veiled Prophet Ball and program are heavily involved in volunteering with CSI projects, and their parents and siblings are encouraged to roll up their sleeves as well. Duncan says it’s always gratifying to see their enthusiasm, especially among young people who are just becoming aware of the importance of service. “The program used to involve mainly the VP maids and their fathers, but we have expanded it to include other family members and friends,” Duncan notes. “Even kids as young as fourth-graders enjoy taking part. It’s great to see so many young people who believe in service and are driven by a desire to help.” VP maids also volunteer with the organization’s other community outreach efforts, including Fair St. Louis, the VP Parade and an annual fashion show, he notes.

In 2018, CSI projects included building and landscaping outdoor recreation areas for young clients of the Great Circle behavioral health nonprofit and students at The Biome School. The Great Circle project is at the organization’s Webster Groves headquarters and includes parallel bars, a pod climber, balance beam and chin-up station around the campus track. And The Biome School project includes playground equipment, green space and an outdoor classroom. The idea is to help kids engage in physical activity that benefits their minds as much as their bodies, Duncan says. Other recent projects include construction of an outdoor gathering space for developmentally disabled residents at Rainbow Village and an affordable Christmas gift shopping event at the nonprofit Mission: St. Louis.

Duncan says the Veiled Prophet Organization also is grateful for its ongoing partnership with The Royal Vagabonds, a philanthropic network of professional African-American men, some of whom are VP members. “We currently are identifying our next project with them,” he notes. “We see our most effective growth when members bring us potential charitable partners and projects that interest them personally. The idea is to maintain conversations on ways we can do more for the community. We hold on to the relationships we have and add new ones every year.”

According to Duncan, the Veiled Prophet Organization truly enjoys being a conduit that links people with charitable efforts and gives them a stake in the success of area neighborhoods. “We provide resources and manpower these groups may not have otherwise,” he notes. “It’s about making the region a better place for everyone, and it has become a year-round effort. This is an inspiring time to be part of the VP.”

The Veiled Prophet Organization’s Community Service Initiative engages members, maids and their families in projects that benefit local charities and communities. Their efforts are celebrated each year at the Veiled Prophet Ball. Pictured on the cover: VP queen Cecelia Ann Fox and her father, Jeffrey L. Fox. For  more information, visit veiledprophet.org.

Cover design by Allie Bronsky
Cover photo by Thomas Warwick

Pictured above: VP community service projects make St. Louis a better place to live.

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