From the Director

And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country….

The words spoken by John F. Kennedy in 1961 during his inaugural address were the inspiration that moved Elise Schweich (Leesy) to found Springboard to Learning in 1965. Leesy viewed the message as a personal call to action and she responded. Over the course of the last year many were moved to action. It was the privilege of our Board of Directors, volunteers and staff to carry on the work Leesy began—answering the call, as she did—and making an everyday difference in the lives of the children we serve.

Highlights include:

The IdeaBuilder program was Springboard to Learning’s most frequently-placed program. This STEAM-based program challenged students to identify a real-world problem and then build a 3-D prototype solution using rudimentary objects like cardboard, paper clips and pipe cleaners. Springboard to Learning received the Focus St. Louis “What’s Right with the Region Award” in the category of Improving Racial Equity and Social Justice in response to the IdeaBuilder program work with African American females, who make up less than one percent of the STEM workforce. With support from the Boeing Corporation, Emerson, Arts and Education Council and the Regional Arts Council, Springboard delivered IdeaBuilder programming to more than 1,200 students, mostly in under-resourced schools.

-Springboard to Learning embarked on programming targeting pre-k and kindergarten students this past year, becoming the first-ever and only Missouri affiliate of Wolf Trap Early Learning through the Arts. Springboard to Learning teaching artists—professional performing artists specially trained in the Wolf Trap model—are now partnering with early childhood educators in the classroom to provide developmentally appropriate, arts-integrated learning strategies within the framework of the early childhood curriculum. With the support of PNC Grow Up Great and the University of Missouri St. Louis Springboard to Learning provided programming to 154 students at five schools.

-Connecting Community through the Arts, a program done in partnership with The Repertory Theatre and Webster Arts, engaged the whole community—resident adults, middle school-aged youth, local artists, arts and cultural organizations— in enabling students to collect and write the oral histories and reflections from the Meacham Park community. This program not only documented, but also celebrated, the vibrant, living history of the Meacham Park area of Kirkwood, Missouri.

Transcribed interviews were turned into a book, performing and visual art and a documentary. Springboard to Learning and the program were highlighted when the documentary aired on the Nine Network during the month of May.

Some 50 years later, the Kennedy call to action is still applicable and great, life-changing work still requires answering the call. Thank you to everyone who did so in the past year, our donors, sponsors, volunteers, community partners, board and staff.


Belief  ~  Mission  ~  Vision

Belief Statement
Springboard to Learning believes that meaningful, memorable learning experiences transform a child’s worldview.

Mission Statement
Springboard to Learning develops children’s abilities to think critically, create, collaborate and communicate.

Vision Statement
Springboard to Learning envisions a future where all children are passionate, engaged learners who experience success.


Board of Directors

Laura Rossmann

Paris T. Forest 

Daniel Rossmann 

Tamara Clinton
Joel Glassman
Carol Hall-Whittier
Robert M. Klutho
Mary Kay Lofgren
Catherine Marek
Anne-Christine McCormack
Catherine Merkel
Melinda Mierek
Juli J. Plassmeyer
Jill C. Rausch
Gerald M. Richardson
Philip Roush
Susan Sauer
Earl K. Shreckengast
Mary Steinau
Stephanie Valleroy
Betsy Wack
Mary W. Weinstock
Lorie B. Westhoff
Cheryl Whalen

President Emerita
Helen S. Shopmaker

Director Emerita
Shirley B. Sher

Dr. Miriam Jorge


Springboard Staff

Executive Director: Cathy Hartmann

Director Donor Stewardship: Rawnie Berry

Senior Program Director: Steve Sandbothe

Program Facilitation Director: Brenda Butler

Program Facilitator: Jonathan Webb

Springboard to Learning Coordinator: John Grapperhaus

Accountant: Cynthia LeFort

Bookkeeper: Chris Allen

Administrative Assistant: Wendy Flusser




Springboard to Learning is proud to announce it is the newest affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. This internationally respected program of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, provides innovative arts-integrated teaching strategies embedded in a 16-session residency to early childhood educators, caregivers, and young children through the disciplines of drama, music, and dance.


Teaching Artist Feature

Alicia “Sunshine” Gbaho

Springboard to Learning is excited to highlight teaching artist super star, Alicia “Sunshine” Gbaho. Since 1996, Alicia has taught residencies for students from kindergarten to middle school through her work with Springboard to Learning. Her residencies, “All That Dance” and “Hip-Hop Dance” are among the top-reviewed dance residencies offered by Springboard. Her performance, “Africa to America,” which details the influence of African culture on America over the past century, was the top-requested Springboard to Learning performance in 2017-18.

Alicia began her dance studies in high school at the Katherine Dunham Center in East St. Louis, Illinois. She furthered her dance studies at Illinois State University with specialties in Modern, Jazz, Swing, West African and Hip Hop. The list of Alicia’s credits are extensive and include NOIR Dance Ensemble, ISU Dance Theater, Lupe Fiasco, The Slaughter Project, Afriky Lolo and JPEK Creative Works. Alicia also created the Beyond Measure Dance Theater dance company. Through her dance company and in her programming Alicia communicates to all students the importance of dance in their lives, that everyone has the ability to dance, and that it is fun!

In addition to her programming, Alicia has been an invaluable member of the Springboard to Learning team in other ways, including serving as a 2017 coach in the organization’s first-ever Lip Sync Battle- St. Louis, the gala benefiting Springboard to Learning.

Steve Sandbothe, Senior Program Director at Springboard to Learning says, “The way Alicia Gbaho connects with kids is truly amazing. She has an instant rapport with all ages. Once she starts her work, it’s really fun to watch the kids come alive through dance. The rapport she builds with students has them looking forward to each session with ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Classroom teachers look forward to a high-energy program that engages each student. She is truly one of a kind and we love that she’s a part of our team.”

Below are some recent comments from teachers and program evaluators about the type of talent Alicia brings to the classroom.
• “She did a wonderful job tying in our school’s character traits of joy and respect to their program.”
• “We enjoyed learning about culture and history through dance and music. Our students were engaged and excited for this performance.”
• “The audience participation was an added bonus to the program. It was neat to see students practice their new dance moves throughout the day.”
• “I watched one of our more severe special education students jump right in and dance along with the performers; it was a great moment to watch!”
• “The students were extremely engaged throughout the program. The performers were professional and engaging throughout. I loved how the performers brought the students into the program by having them dance as well.”

Alicia is currently bringing her love of dance into multiple SLPS summer school dance residencies.


Signature Program:

Visualizing Mathematics 

Many students struggle to connect with mathematics. Visualizing Mathematics teaches core math curriculum through the lens of visual art, giving students the confidence to learn and absorb more math content. Working individually and in groups, students explore color theory , discovering new ways to look at math. The program culminates in a work of public art that’s installed in their school. Having students invest in their school in this way gives them ownership of the space and a deeper connection to each other. This program supports math curriculum through its focus on ratios, perimeter calculations, fractions, measurements, and shape identification supporting standards,concepts, and procedures linked to state testing.
According to the fifth-grade math teacher at Mason Elementary, “The students gained new knowledge of colors and the color wheel. The math component complemented the math skills that the class had previously learned. The students were very excited to explore fractions and art. They are proud of the installation piece that hangs in the room and this residency was a positive experience for all.” The math teacher at Mann Elementary said she appreciated how the program was customizable for each student and that each one could work at his or her own pace. Third graders at McNair Elementary got a fun and memorable jump on fractions before it was assessed on the state standardized test. In keeping with Springboard to Learning’s mission, these residencies incorporated supplemental curricular rigor, while leaving students with meaningful, memorable learning experiences.


Where We Served in 2016-2017

Alton School District (IL)
Andrews Academy – Lake St. Louis
Beyond Housing
Bowling Green School District
Brentwood School District
Cahokia Unit School District (IL)
Chesterfield Day School
City Academy
Clayton Early Childhood Center
Clayton School District
English Tutoring Project
Ferguson-Florissant School District
Francis Howell School District
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
Grace Chapel Lutheran School
Hancock Place School District
Hawthorn Leadership Academy
Hazelwood School District
Higher Education Consortium of St. Louis
KIPP Inspire Academy
Kirksville School District
Kirkwood School District
La Salle Middle School
Ladue School District
Lindbergh School District
Louisiana School District

Madison County School District (IL)
Messiah Lutheran School
Normandy Schools Collaborative
North Campus
Parkway School District
Pattonville School District
Pike County School District
Ritenour School District
Riverview Gardens School District
Rockwood School District
Rossman School
Special School District
St. John Community Improvement Corporation
St. Louis Archdiocesan Schools
St. Louis College Preparatory Academy
St. Louis County Library
St. Louis Language Immersion Schools
St. Louis Public Schools
St. Mary’s Catholic School (Alton, IL)
University Child Development Center
Villa Di Maria Montessori
Webster Arts
Webster Groves School District
Wilson School
YWCA Metro St. Louis



Springboard by the Numbers

Programs Delivered 

Program Sessions 

Contact Hours

Children Served 

Economically Disadvantaged 


Community Venues 

Annual Report Financials


Program Income
Arts Agencies
Individual Contributions
Special Events 
In-Kind Contributions 
Investment Income 





Program Expenses 
Fundraising Expenses 
 Management and General 




Sunburst Society 2016-2017

Sunbeam Level


Mary Ann Lee*

Shirley and Donald Sher*

Helen S. Shopmaker*

Sunshine Level


Paula Keinath

Cynthia Maritz*

Mary and Richard Weinstock

Sunray Level


Philip and Kay Roush*

Earl Shreckengast and Julia Muller*

Heather and Christopher Thompson*

Sunlight Level


Jacqueline Chun
Mary Kay and Chris Lofgren*
Anne-Christine and Kevin McCormack*
Patrick and Emily McGinnis
Rahm Narayan and Misty Watson-Narayan
Mary and Robert Piper
Juli and Bernard Plassmeyer
Laura and John Rossmann
Jim and Joan Schiele*
Robert and Monique Schweich
Tracey Temanson and Jim Donnelly*
Katrin and Daniel Tobben
Susan and Ralph Treiman
Elizabeth and Thomas Wack

*Denotes founding member








The Luminaries for Learning Giving Club is a key group of committed donors who have come together to ensure that our Signature programs are delivered to each child that needs them. Our Luminaries support our programs with critically needed on-going funds. Donors agree to give on a monthly basis, selecting to participate in one of our five giving levels. This helps Springboard to Learning continually provide the meaningful memorable learning experiences which are so greatly needed in impoverished communities, where access to STEM, music, or art is less likely to occur. On average it costs $3072 to provide 24 children with 8 weeks of programming.






    Fireball            Transformer           Igniter                Inspirer               Spark

      $256                  $128                  $64                      $32                     $5-25 


Thank You to Our 2016-2017 Donors

Anne McCormack – Laura and John Rossmann- Patrick and Emily McGinnis  – Cathy and Donald Marek – Carol and Ernest Hall-Whittier – Mary Steinau –   Juli and Bernard Plassmeyer –  Melinda and Matthew Meirek – Gerry Richardson and Jean Chouquette


Sponsoring Businesses, Corporations, and Foundations 

Arts & Education Council
Berges Family Foundation
Blues for Kids Foundation
Cady Family Foundation
Cardinals Care
Casino Queen
Cleaves and Mae Rhea Foundation
Dr. Ira and Judy Gall Philanthropic Fund

Des Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative
Edward Jones
Benjamin F. Edwards
Enterprise Holdings Foundation
George K. & Marjorie McCarthy Robins Fund
Harry Edison Foundation
The JF Kennedy Center-VSA Contact
McCormack Baron Salazar
Missouri Arts Council
Old Newsboys Fund for Children
Regional Arts Commission
Schnucks e-Scrips
St. Louis Unitarian Foundation For Children
The Boeing Company
Dana Brown Charitable Trust
Theatre Communications Group
UBS Employee Giving Programs
University of Missouri – St. Louis

Individual Contributors  

Anderson, Mary Ellen
Annand, Robert R.
Barth, John and Joan
Bartlett, Alvery and Susan
Bernstein, Marcia B.
Berges, James and Cathy
Bernes, Mark and Taylor
Boulton, Scott
Borowsky, Benjamin and Radine
Brickey, Melissa and Kirtley
Broddon, Alan and Suzanne
Butler, Jerry and Brenda
Chun, Jackie
Clarkson, Beverly
Clinton, Christopher and Tamara
Cody, Phillip
Carver, Keith
Cohen, Laura
DiCampo, Perry and Jane
Drey, Kay
Eaker, Norm and Laura
Edwards, Benjamin and Catherine
Eagleton, Barbara Smith
Epstein, Sara
Fairbanks, Laura
Fischer, Suzanne
Flusser, Wendy
Garino, David and Agnes
Gall, Ira and Judy
Ganz, Jane
Girsch, Randy
Gidlow, Jerome and Cathy
Glaser, Andy and Nancee
Glassman, Joel and Cochrane, Kathy
Harris, Barbara
Hartman, Dave and Sue
Hattori, Robin A.
Heideman, Robert
Holley, Dave and Lisa
Huang, Simon
Huber, James and Mary
Jacobs, Anton and Jean Roth
Keinath, Paula
Kern, Robert and Marcia
Klein, Richard and Michelle
Klutho, Robert and Angela
Kniep, Ed
Kranzberg, Ken and Nancy
Krone, Ronald and Ann
Kuhlman, Robert and Antoinette
Langsam, Lawrence
Lee, Mary Ann
Lemkemeier, Nikki and David
Liebermann, William
Lofgren, Chris and Mary Kay
Mann, Jim
Marek, Donald and Cathy
Margolis, David and Laura
Maritz, Cynthia A.
Maritz, Phyllis M.
Martin, Tina Rose
McCormack, Kevin and Anne-Christine
McGinnis, Patrick and Emily
McHugh, Patricia
McNichols, Tyrone and Lisa
Meyer, Paula & Ron
Mierek, Matthew and Melinda
Mueller, Laura and Craig
Narayan, Rahm and Misty Watson-Narayan
Oser, Danielle and Matthew
Philpott, Gordon and Susie
Piper, Robert and Mary
Plassmeyer, Bernard and Juli
Platke, Stan
Pratter, Barbara and Jerry
Presley, Rachel and Michael Smith
Pritchard, Nancy and Luke
Rabushka, Aileen and Melvin
Ranford, Alan B.
Richardson, Gerry and Jean Chouquette
Riekes, Linda
Robert, Bruce and Jane
Rossmann, John and Laura
Roush, Kay and Phil
Russell, Maureen
Schapiro, Ellen and Gerald Axelbaum
Schiele, Joan and Jim
Schukai, Mary Ellen
Schultz, Walter and Lois
Schweich, Robert and Monique
Sher, Donald and Shirley
Sher, Ed and Fay
Sherman, Carl and Helene
Shopmaker, Helen S.
Shreckengast, Earl and Julia Muller
Shulusky, Richard and Carin
Singer, Daniel
Smith, Kenneth & Marjorie
Smith, Latisha
Solon, Bart and Meg
Spencer, Jamieson and Anna Ahrens
Spitzer, Gloria and Sanford
Stein, Sally and Bernard
Steinau, Mary M.
Temanson, Tracey and James Donnelly
Tibbs, Tiffany and Kevin
Tobben, Katrin and Daniel
Treiman, Susan and Ralph
Tuchler, Adele and Dennis
Wack, Elizabeth and Thomas
Wald, Priscilla and Stanley
Wasserman, John
Weber, Grace
Weinstock, Mary and Richard
Wells, David
Whalen, Cheryl L
Whittier, Ernest and Hall-Whittier, Carol
Wischmeyer, William and Regina
Wright, Glen “Papa” and Jacquelyn
Yaeger, Lynn and Doug

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