Classes will run as scheduled Friday April 20, 2018.

COCA Meets & Exceeds $5 Million Berges Family Foundation Challenge

COCA-Center of Creative Arts announced that 83 community donors stepped up with just over $5.2 million raised to both meet and exceed a $5 million Challenge Gift pledged by the Berges Family Foundation. A $1.5 gift from The Monsanto Company was the lead gift to the Challenge bringing the total raised for COCA’s Create Our Future Campaign to just under $36 million towards a $40 million goal.

“This organization has been doing vital work for our community for 30 years – using arts to impact our schools and to create pathways of success for thousands of young people,” said Jim Berges. “We wanted to make a bold statement in support of COCA and to help the organization grow. It is a solid investment in the future of an organization that is critical to St. Louis.”

The Monsanto Company’s capital gift comes in addition to the award of a $25,000 grant from the Fund to support COCA’s nationally recognized Pre-Professional Division.

“COCA is dedicated to expanding access, and it has a tremendous track record of delivering results,” said Al Mitchell, president of The Monsanto Company. “In this case, it was an easy decision. Put simply, COCA has provided opportunities that have profoundly impacted the lives of more kids through arts and education, especially those who otherwise would not have had access. That’s why Monsanto made this investment.”

Announced by COCA early in 2017, the $40 million Create Our Future Campaign will raise $27 million for the capital renovation and expansion of COCA’s historic building in University City and $13 million to fund the organization’s endowment and reserves. The Berges Family Foundation promised this past summer to match dollar for dollar gifts made to COCA’s Campaign by September 30, 2017.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Berges family, The Monsanto Company, and the entire community for this profound statement of confidence in our project and in COCA’s future, and we are thrilled we were able to rise to the challenge, thanks to an amazing group of supporters and volunteers,” said COCA Executive Director Kelly Pollock.

Other lead gifts to COCA’s Campaign include $5 million from Alison and John Ferring, a $3 million lead corporate gift from Centene Charitable Foundation, $2 million from Cheryl Holman, David Joyner and Bill Lawton, and Carol and Michael Staenberg, and $1 million from Jennifer and Tom Hillman, Jane and Dave Peacock, and Edward Jones.


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