From Fair Saint Louis and the annual Fourth of July parade to its debutante ball every December, VP Saint Louis is a local institution. But it and its members aren’t satisfied to just sticking with more than 100 years of tradition. The fraternal organization is not only dedicated to celebrating what makes St. Louis great, but also doing its part to make the community a better place for everyone. It has taken an exciting step forward with the establishment of the VP Community Impact Foundation. The nonprofit seeks to reach the underserved through community service, entrepreneurial connection and mentorship.

The VP Community Impact Foundation builds upon and expands an infrastructure that VP Saint Louis already had in place, such as its Community Service Initiative (CSI)—the branch of the organization responsible for organizing volunteer opportunities for members and their families. That spirit of community service remains one of the foundation’s pillars, according to executive director Wendell Covington Jr. “CSI provided wonderful community service opportunities through projects done in partnership with great organizations like Girls Inc. and St. Patrick Center,” he says. “We will continue those initiatives, but there was a desire to make a deeper and broader impact. Our focus has now widened to include broader systemic change as well as community service.”

One of the ways the foundation has expanded its work is through providing board training. The program teaches VP Saint Louis members the skills they need to understand the expectations and aspirations of other philanthropic organizations, so they can make the greatest positive impact possible serving on a board of directors. “Our goal is to teach members how to use their business acumen and knowledge to make a difference in the nonprofit sector,” Covington explains. “We cover the basics of board governance, from financial management and fundraising to marketing and branding. Once training is complete, we help match our members with nonprofits that would most benefit from their time and talent.”

The VP Community Impact Foundation also helps its members utilize their expertise to serve St. Louis through mentorship opportunities, which connect them with small business owners and entrepreneurs. “The goal is to take people who have an idea and match them with a VP Saint Louis member to help them cultivate the building blocks for a successful business,” Covington says. “We’re allowing people to create the economic engine necessary to achieve self sufficiency.” The mentorship services includes the Biz Smart Start program, a business incubator created in partnership with Beyond Housing that had its first cohort in 2023.

For Covington, the VP Community Impact Foundation is an exciting opportunity to make a deeper impact. He is especially committed to making connections with other organizations doing important work locally. “We have to promote partnerships and bring together entities that historically have not worked together if we are going to create change,” he notes. “St. Louis is a great city with some of the most philanthropic residents in the country. By working together and sharing resources, we can create vehicles for change that will improve outcomes for everyone. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

VP Saint Louis and the VP Community Impact Foundation are dedicated to improving the lives of St. Louisans through community service projects, entrepreneurial connection and mentorship. For more information, visit

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of VP Saint Louis

Pictured at the top: VP Community Impact Foundation executive director Wendell Covington Jr.
Photo courtesy of VP Saint Louis