Sheri Hogan has never been shy to ask for help when there's a need, and during the past several weeks, she's called on many friends to help win $15,000 in Monsanto's Grow St. Louis Contest.
Monsanto is giving away $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 to the three top vote-getters in an online contest looking for the best projects to help grow the St. Louis area.
People can vote for an organization 100 times a day with one email address. And voting 100 times only takes 7 minutes, Hogan says.
"I just sent an email to everyone in the email address book, 'I need you guys to vote 100 times every day,'" said Hogan, a board member for the St. Peters-based theater group.
Many area groups are trying to rally their supporters in hopes of winning the prize. Act II Community Theater was, as of Thursday afternoon, in first place in the competition with 503,621 votes, beating Stray Rescue of St. Louis and TouchPoint Autism Services.
A winner will be announced on Monsanto's website on Oct. 24.
The group has been around for 18 years and now performs four times a year at in a space that used to be city council chambers. If the group wins, they will use the money to defray the cost of renting the space and improving the lighting, said Hogan.
Hogan said Act II Community Theater contributes to the entire St. Louis region. "We bring people from all over St. Louis into St. Peters and St. Peters into St. Louis," she said. "It's a wonderful marriage."
Community Living, Inc. (CLI) which is based in St. Charles, is also vying for votes for the 2012 Walk, Run N' Roll for for people with developmental disabilities event which raises awareness and funding for people throughout St. Charles and St Louis communities.
CLI was in ninth place as of Thursday afternoon with 126,494 votes and was aiming for third place by Oct. 15.
Barb Griffith, president and CEO of CLI, promised to spend the night in a tent outside the CLI offices in St. Peters with other staff members if the organization makes third place.
"Anyone who wants to see me camped out in our parking lot is encouraged to cast their votes now and help push the Walk, Run 'n' Roll into the top three," she said in a press release.
Organizations Benefitting St. Charles County Residents Vying for Votes
Project: We will use the funds, if awarded, to offer St. Louis the most relevant shows for each season, with these additional funds we would be able to stage through better costuming, set construction and design a professional look.
Project: VIM's major expense is the purchase of needed medicines for those who cannot afford to buy them. Additionally, VIM also distributes many free drug samples and helps people complete the often difficult paper work needed to apply to pharmaceutical company indigent programs. It is very simple: We offer free medical care delivered by conscientious and caring VOLUNTEER professionals. We make sure that no one goes without needed medicines. Monsanto’s wonderful program would assist VIM in fulfilling its mission of helping those most in need in St. Charles and Lincoln Counties.
Project: Helping youth get off the streets, find safety, heal from years of abuse and neglect, and face forward toward a positive future is a time consuming process that is critically important to each youth who is helped and to the health of the St. Louis community at large. With support from this competition, Youth In Need will be able to provide more services just as the winter season arrives.
Project: The award Emmaus receives would go towards renovations and modifications of current and future community homes. Community-based services help people across all types of disabilities maintain their independence and determine for themselves what mix of personal assistance supports and services work best for them. The goal of Emmaus Homes is to ensure our residents ability to function as independently as possible including ‘a choice’ in where they live. Currently, Emmaus operates 45 homes throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.
Project: The Crisis Nursery Center provides the children that come to their facilities with clean clothes, food and snack during the duration of their stay, as well as materials and supplies to entertain and engage the children. They provide clean bedding and a comfortable atmosphere. They have a phenomenal staff that receive on-going training to make sure they are fully educated and prepared to help the children of St. Louis "grow".
Project: The award money will go directly into producing the annual Saint Charles Shakespeare in the Park. Expenses for the performance grow every year including artistic staff positions and other necessary crew members. Riverside would also like to use the award money to create new performances, furthering their mission of providing quality theatrical performances for the public.
Parents as Teachers National Center
Project: Like many other programs, state funding for Parents as Teachers was cut last year. But in all cases, the local programs have continued to provide vital screening services. Some local programs extend screening services to families that are not enrolled in the program. The most reliable way to conduct hearing screenings with infants and toddlers is with an otoacoustic emissions instrument. Grow St. Louis award funds would allow the Parents as Teachers national office to purchase three otoacoustic emissions instruments to loan to local programs at no cost.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis
Project: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will utilize the award money to support the Good Works program and the home repairs services provided. The funds will benefit homeowners in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s service area: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and its surrounding eleven counties. Your support will greatly impact the Good Works Program and the clients they serve- who will be able to remain in their own home.
St. Louis Area Foodbank
Project: Award money would be used to fight hunger in the bi-state area, enabling the St. Louis Area Foodbank to continue assisting the 57,000 individuals currently served each week. With each dollar donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, we can provide four meals to hungry people in our community. The St. Louis Area Foodbank takes stewardship seriously, operating with one of the lowest overhead costs of any nonprofit.
Girls on the Run Scholarships
Project: Our philosophy is to never turn a girl away that wants to participate in our program and cannot afford it. We distributed $238,000 scholarships during the 2010-2011 school-year. This year we anticipate distributing over $360,000 in scholarships during the 2011-2012 school-year. We have several requests from Monsanto will allow us to offer our program to girls at these schools that otherwise would lack adequate funding to host the program.
Project: The Wentzville Special Sports Program offers students the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrates courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, peers and community. If we win the award money, it would be used for uniforms, special equipment, and transportation for our athletes.
Wentzville Firefighters Community Reach
Project: This organization helps grow the Greater St Louis Area by donating $1000's of dollars to cancer patients who are in need of monetary funds for everything from groceries to home mortgage payments to medical bills.