To help people achieve better lives. In fulfilling our mission, we teach people to fish, rather than just feeding them fish.
We were founded in 1902 as a settlement house by a shoe manufacturing executive who wanted to help the poor, many of whom were immigrants. The settlement house movement was popular at this time, spreading across the United States. Unrelated middle-class women and men lived cooperatively as “settlers” who hoped to share knowledge and culture with their low-paid, poorly educated neighbors. They provided services such as daycare, education and healthcare in an effort to alleviate poverty. More than 100 years after our founding, we continue to provide critical social services to the poorest of the poor in St. Louis.