Our Theory of Change

Our Vision

We envision a world in which resources and power are equitably shared and a future where everyone can live with integrity and flourish.

2022 will mark the beginning of our third year investing entrepreneurial and financial literacy education resources into underserved and under-resourced communities. Over the past two years, we undertook a community-wide reflection and planning process. We engaged with former, current and prospective students of our programs and local business owners who have served as our community partners over the years.

Together, we set our course for 2022-2025 by developing a revitalized change approach for our work and a plan to implement the Instill the Value of Entrepreneurial and Financial Literacy Education vision for a transformed St. Louis.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the rising unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and crime rates have not changed our vision. These uncertain times have fine-tuned our all-important mission to responsibly invest in resourcing underserved populations, increasing income, improving health, and ultimately empowering individuals to raise themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

We are pleased to share with you the main points of our plan. I hope you’ll see this as an invitation to join us in this work and movement and make Grind + Growth your activist home for creating a more just and equitable St. Louis.

Valerie V. Liddell, Founder & CEO

Our Mission

To responsibly invest resources in underserved and under-resourced communities to increase income, improve health, and ultimately empower individuals to raise themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

There are three ways you can support Grind + Growth today!

  1. Give now by visiting our Donation page
  2. Support our GoFundMe campaign
  3. Support our Fundraising Campaign by purchasing a hoodie, sweatshirt, or t-shirt today

Our Values

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Entrepreneurial and Financial Literacy education is one of the most impactful ways to improve one’s economic mobility and move communities and the country forward. Still, the increasing cost of teaching creates a barrier for low-income families. This is a form of structural inequality that keeps the poor from improving their lives. In all our work, we prioritize communities that have been most affected by systems of oppression.

When underserved communities are empowered, we win

We invest financial literacy and entrepreneurial educational resources in underserved and under-resourced communities of color to dismantle systems of oppression and build a better future.

Everyone should have access to a quality education

All people should have agency over their lives. We work towards a world where everyone has access to education to improve their economic mobility and energy.

We strive to responsibly resource underserved communities

We are accountable to the individuals we serve, who have sufficient support to pursue goals without barriers. We strive to be transparent, build trust, and shift power as we mobilize resources for this work.

Our Strategic Goals

Strengthen the St. Louis Ecosystem for Minority Entrepreneurs

  • Provide grantmaking opportunities to support minority-owned businesses.
  • Continue to offer capacity-building programs that support minority businesses to become more effective and stable.
  • Invest more resources in communities that are under-resourced by broader philanthropy.
  • Engage more funders and St. Louisians to support businesses led by people of color building power in St. Louis City.

Dismantle Structual, Institutional and Systemic Racism

  • Conduct listening sessions with the community, local organizations, and individuals we serve.
  • Collect and share information on relevant past, ongoing, or planned activities of Grind + Growth to inform efforts that enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion within Grind + Growth and across the underserved St. Louis City communities.
  • We will publish a request for information to seek input on practical and effective ways to improve racial and economic equality in underserved communities.
  • We will work with the community and local leaders to develop a strategic plan to address racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in underserved St. Louis City communities.

Dismantle the Structures, Policies, and Behaviors that sustain unequal outcomes for children

  • Invest more enrichment resources to support low-income, underfunded schools such as financial literacy and entrepreneurial education programs.
  • Eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline for students by offering a high-quality literacy program for children reading below grade level.
  • Model equity for the children participating in our programs through flexibility and compassion.
  • Work with students and respect their needs. Connect with them to understand their situations and find solutions. 

Operationalize Our Values in the Management and Use of Our Resources

  • Strengthen and make transparent our financial planning processes.
  • Continue to deepen the alignment of our investments and financial practices with our values.
  • Develop new ways for Grind + Growth financial assets to be helpful for the communities we serve. 
  • Serve as a resource for the entrepreneurial ecosystem for financial and operations strategies that are accessible and implementable.

In order to promote equity in the classroom, it’s important to understand your students and how they learn best.

Valerie v. Liddell

Are you interested in supporting the movement? Then join us!

How can you connect with our work to dismantle structural inequities in schools, communities, and organizations and build a city where we can all live and thrive?

  • Join us at one of our upcoming virtual events — you’ll see familiar faces as well as new ones
  • Follow us on social media (we’re on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram)
  • Become a donor so that your money goes into empowering underserved and under-resourced St. Louis City communities.

Want more details?

This is a summary of the longer planning document that we use internally. You can download the complete version of our 2022-25 strategic plan here as a PDF.