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Urban League Announces New Projects and Services for Ferguson and Dellwood Residents

On August 7, 2019, The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis announced new community and economic development projects to revitalize the Ferguson & Dellwood area. In the wake of the 5 year-anniversary of the Ferguson crisis, Urban League CEO Michael P. McMillan and his management team sought to provide long-term solutions to the ongoing problems which seem to plague the residents in North St. Louis County. From the very beginning, the Urban League has been one of first non-profits to galvanize the corporate community to secure the support to help rebuild Ferguson and provide resources to the community.

“As a student of history, I was truly concerned for the continued well-being of the residents of Ferguson/Dellwood and the economic vitality of that community. Traditionally, neighborhoods that have been ravaged by riots often experience long-term distress and blight,” said McMillan. “With that being the case, I felt that it was our immediate responsibility to do what we could to help rebuild Ferguson/Dellwood.” Soon after flames engulfed the QuikTrip gas station on West Florissant, McMillan went to work contacting QT officials to secure the property donation to build what eventually became the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center in 2017. “People need a beacon of hope in their communities to show them that it is possible to become successful.” In addition to the center, the Urban League hosted many job fairs and created the Save Our Sons program to help African American and other men in the area find jobs.

While the progress has been measurable, McMillan feels that much more needs to be done. Today, the Urban League has announced new partnerships which will further expand the vision of the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center.  

Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive announced a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant to the First Financial Federal Credit Union to partner with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. to provide auto loans, credit counseling, checking and savings accounts to members of the Save Our Sons program and local residents at the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center (FCEC).   In addition, First Financial Federal Credit Union will also employ Kiara Jefferson, a full-time Financial Empowerment Coordinator and Ferguson resident, to work on-site at FCEC to provide budget and credit counseling, as well as access to necessary transportation, mortgage and credit building loans and free and low cost deposit and checking products.

Warner L. Baxter, Chairman, President and CEO of Ameren, announced that Ameren will donate an additional $250,000 to the Urban League Save Our Sons program (SOS). Save Our Sons is a workforce development program which was created during the Ferguson Crisis to help African American and other men find jobs. “The Urban League is especially thankful for its long-standing community partnership with Ameren for several decades. From the very beginning, Ameren was involved in working with the Urban League to help resolve the Ferguson crisis. As a result, more than 750 men obtained jobs through the Save Our Sons program, said Michael P. McMillan, President & CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.  

State Senators Jamilah Nasheed, Karla May and Brian Williams also announced that the State of Missouri Legislature passed an appropriation of $500,000 to the Save Our Sons program.  

McMillan announced plans for the Urban League Plaza, shopping center strip mall on West Florissant which will feature a full-service bank, restaurant/banquet facility and minority business incubator. The project will host First Bank as its anchor tenant along with Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant, At-Home Care and other minority-owned businesses and services.  The Urban League Plaza strip mall will be housed on a former Advanced Auto Parts and Juanita’s Clothing Boutique which were previously destroyed. “We are excited to provide further economic development to this Ferguson-Dellwood corridor which was affected by arson during the crisis. It is our hope to see the Ferguson/Dellwood area completely restored and provide increased services to its residents,” said McMillan.

For more information or to assist with any of these projects, call (314) 615-3662 or visit ulstl.com.

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