Q & A with CEO Jessica Brandon

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Q & A with CEO Jessica Brandon

Guardian Angel President and CEO, Jessica Brandon,  discussed the new Social Services Center and Path to Possible Capital Campaign, which is funding the project, in a recent interview. During the conversation, she revealed facility features and ways it will allow Guardian Angel to enhance its purposeful work in South St. Louis City.


What are you most excited about in regard to the new facility?

I’m excited about the overall enhanced ability to not only serve more people, but to serve them in a deeper, more transformational way. It’s great that the building will be specifically designed for Guardian Angel’s use, which allows us to be more efficient in our work. Also, the money that we’re currently spending on rent to lease our existing space can now be repurposed for something more meaningful.


How will the building benefit the South St. Louis City area?

The resale store (Angel Boutique), the Client Choice food pantry, and the other social services we offer are moving to the new location. Keeping these programs together is very  important.  Unlike the current building, the new location is one-story and will be accessible for people with disabilities. Additionally, the food pantry layout will accommodate multiple shoppers at a time, and there will be a separate office space for private service consultations.  

We will increase our work capacity as well. For example, our self-sufficiency workshops will now serve up to 2,400 individuals annually, individual self-sufficiency meetings will increase to 3,800, and our food pantry will see up to 5,200 visits. 


What are some things you want to see as a result of the Center?

I want to create more transformational interactions with those we serve. Through our experience, we know that better individual and community outcomes happen from more in-depth work that influences customized solutions to unique problems. 


Who are some of the organizations and individuals involved in the facility and campaign development?

We’re working with the same construction firm that worked on the Early Childhood Education Center, HBD Construction. The building plan was designed by Chiodini Architects.

As for funding, we had a $1 million donation from an anonymous foundation. Additionally,  The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation (Tulsa, OK) contributed $450,000 as a challenge grant, which must be met by January 2019. Our Board of Directors and many of our wonderful supporters have already stepped up to the challenge! 


Can you give us a timeline on the project?

This is an 18-month campaign that began in October 2017. After October 31st, this year, construction on the project can begin. We’re estimating a six to nine-month timeline for construction to be completed. Construction should be finished by summer 2019. 


What types of expanded or new volunteer opportunities will be available at the Center?

Prior to our opening,  I anticipate that we’ll need volunteers for various building beautification and green space projects.  However, the volunteer needs and roles we currently have will be the same needed in the new facility – we might just need a few more volunteers to accommodate the added capacity. 


Are there any upcoming campaign-related events that people should know about?

Once construction gets closer to completion, supporters will have an opportunity to tour the facility and contribute to the campaign. We’re calling these “hard hat parties.”


In two years, what’s the headline you want people to read about Guardian Angel’s social services? 

“Thousands of People (in need) Find Their Path to Possible Thanks to Transformational Relationships Developed at Guardian Angel’s Social Services Center”


For more information about the new Center, the Path to Possible Capital Campaign or Guardian Angel’s social service programs, please contact Samantha Stegman, Development Associate, at (314) 231 – 3188 ext. 102 or stegmans@gasastl.org.


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