314-399-8812 info@investstl.org

Thank you to everyone in the West End and Visitation Park neighborhoods who took time to apply, talk to us about the initiative, spread the word, and ultimately welcomed us and this initiative to the neighborhood.

Watch the video to learn more

Rooted: Cultivating Black Wealth in Place is a new initiative focused on helping West End and Visitation Park residents build wealth so that they can afford to stay and grow in their neighborhood.

We recognize that without access to larger funds, it is hard for people to make investments, whether it is investing in their home or the stock market. “It takes money to make money,” is a slogan for a reason. We believe that when families have money for investing, they can use this support to build wealth. 

Our work is focused on the West End and Visitation Park neighborhoods because the neighborhoods are in transition and there is growing concern about affordability for current residents. We want to ensure that those who want to remain in the neighborhood can afford to.

How the Rooted initiative works:

Through random selection we selected 50 households to participate in the Rooted initiative.  Each participating household is matched with a Financial Planner (at no cost) and receives an investment of $20,000 to put toward activities historically proven to build wealth including:

  • Purchasing a property in the West End or Visitation Park
  • Renovating property in the West End or Visitation Park
  • Starting a small business or scaling an existing business in the West End or Visitation Park
  • Opening an investment account

Participants receive an additional $2,000 to pay down debt, address any immediate needs the household may have, or create an emergency savings.

The Financial Planners help participants outline short, intermediate, and long-term goals, identify how to use the $20,000 to help reach their household goals (from the 4 options listed above), and create a spending and savings plan. We also provide access to other expertise throughout the initiative to help participants with starting a business, investing, or purchasing a property.


The Rooted initiative was specifically designed to provide opportunity for long-term, Black, low-middle income residents of the West End and Visitation Park neighborhoods. 

We had 175 households who fully completed their applications and took the necessary steps to enter the Random Selection Drawing. Of the applicants:

11.3% were aged 25-39

39.2% were aged 40-59

47.7% were aged 60+


43.8% were single person households

30.1% were two-person households

25.9% were three or more-person households


The median household income was $35,391


25% had lived in the neighborhood for 6-10 years

14.2% had lived in the neighborhood for 11-15 years

17% had lived in the neighborhood for 16-20 years

43.8% had lived in the neighborhood for 21+ years

Rooted: Cultivating Black Wealth in Place was made possible by a small but mighty team of organizations who helped Invest STL plan and scope the initiative. We have the utmost gratitude for our colleagues at Mass Economics, the Center for Civic Research and Innovation, Urban Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for their role in helping to guide our planning and offer their expertise. 

We are grateful for the financial institutions and financial planners who stepped up to help us figure out how best to support participants throughout this initiative including Wells Fargo, Wendy Hartman and the team at Buckingham Wealth Partners, and Peter Lazaroff at Plancorp. In addition, we have financial planners volunteering from the following firms: Signify Wealth, CKH Financial, Thornton Advisor Group, Commerce Bank, US Bank, Moneta, Pines Wealth Management, Ratliff Group, Brand Asset Management Group, Toberman Wealth, and Carson Group. Legal and contract support  has been provided by Polsinelli.

We are also working with the following partners to help support Rooted participants along their wealth-building journey: Prosperity Connection provides credit-building support, Small Business Empowerment Center provides mentorship for those pursuing entrepreneurship, Park Central Development Corp. provides property repair oversight, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri provides estate planning services, and True Title provides property title inquiry support.

None of this would be possible without major financial support from Wells Fargo and the Boniface Foundation. Additional funding support has been generously provided by Commerce Bank, National Development Council, NISA Foundation, and Regions Bank. We are grateful to our partners for understanding the opportunity and investing in learning.    

people | power | place | systems

Initiating a 20 Year Journey

Every St. Louis neighborhood is a chosen place to live, raise children, and grow old.





5600 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112


PO Box 300010
St. Louis, MO 63130