Women of Achievement 2013 Bio: Marian Nunn
Marian Nunn is from St. Louis and has lived her entire life in St. Louis. She has worked full time in very demanding jobs since her graduation from St. Louis University in 1983. She has got to be the most energetic and committed volunteer in St. Louis. She served on a number of boards and has greatly contributed to the St. Louis region. Her services include: St. Louis Cultural Festivals‐Current Chair of the Board; Life Skills‐Current Board Member and past recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award; Youth Learning Center of St. Louis, one of the founding Board Members, past Board President and current Board Member Emeritus; The Wilson School‐Past Board President and current Board Member Emeritus; United Way board Member; St. Louis Community College Foundation‐past Board Member; The Solar Foundation (scholarship fund for first generation attendees of college)‐past Board Member; UMSL Honors College Leadership Council‐past Board Member.
Her willingness to volunteer and serve the community is evident. There are four specific examples that particularly exemplify her extraordinary contributions.
The Youth Center (YLC). Founded in 2000, YLC provides a unique opportunity for at‐risk children to access state‐of‐the‐art technology, to learn the 21st century technology skills they will need for success in school and in life, to upgrade their overall academic achievement, to develop positive life skills and to pursue potential interest in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). YLC fosters a love of learning, social responsibility and leadership in young people, generally 8 to 15, that attend the center’s after school programs. YLC is located in a low‐income neighborhood in the City of St. Louis. Marian was one of the founders of the YLC and the original Board President. She was responsible for the oversight, development and construction of the 14,500 square feet facility, along with oversight of the original programming and staffing. Approximately 200 children are served each year. Since 2000, approximately 2400 at‐risk children have been served. Recent Surveys indicate that after just one year at YLC, student scores increased 60.8% in math from baseline of 46.9%and to 74% in communication
arts from a baseline of 63.9%. Students also reported positive development indicators. Over 80% of surveyed students reporting that participating in YLC keeps them away from negative influences such as violence and fighting. 84% of students report they are better at working on teams. 90% indicated they are better at setting goals and solving problems and they feel better about the future as a result of participating in YLC programs. YLC is addressing a significant issue in the region‐improving the education and development of at‐risk young people. Marian is one of the big reasons the YLC is in existence today and is successful. She spent countless hours over several years developing the Center and ensuring that programming is effective. YLC is so impressive that last year, amongst numerous applicants, the Deaconess Foundation selected YLC to receive a $1 million grant. This will ensure that at‐risk children will continue to be served for years to come.
Life Skills. Marian was instrumental in re‐defining the employment program for Life Skills, an
organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities. Marian restructured the program to help convince employers that hiring a Life Skills client was an opportunity to gain a loyal, trustworthy employee that made positive contributions to the company and it culture. This repositioning of the program helped place additional Life Skill Clients and further assist in clients obtaining independence and self-confidence. Her redefinition of the program remains in place today and daily assists Life Skills in placing clients, creating permanent change in the lives of clients. The Employment Division of Life Skills supports over 600 people as they build job skills, and find and maintain competitive employment within their communities, She remains current board member.
St. Louis Cultural Festivals. The St. Louis Art Fair consistently ranks one of the Top Three Art Fairs in the country. Marian serves as Board Chair and has been a board member for 8 years. Approximately 120 artist display work at the Fair and 120,000 people visit the Fair. It is the largest event in Missouri. It is estimated that this year’s Fair generated $12 million in total economic impact (this includes food, lodging, art, entertainment). Marian visits with every artist, thanking them for attending and admiring their work. This helps to ensure that the valued artists continue to return to St. Louis. Her focused leadership and time continues to ensure that this is the top Fair in this country.
The Wilson School. The Wilson School is a treasured St. Louis Independent School. Approximately 200 students attend Wilson. It is known for its nurturing environment, strong studies and its strong commitment to diversity. In order to remain competitive and consistent with its mission Wilson needed to expand it facility. Without the expansion, the school’s existence was threatened. Marian led the $4 Million expansion through design, approval and construction; a process that took endless hours over several years time. Wilson and its commitment to diversity and education remain strong today as a direct result of her leadership.
Marian regularly speaks to young people about their careers, employment, and the importance of education to their future. She has spoken to over 200 students. She currently is an adjunct professor at St. Louis University, where she continues to spread this message and help develop strong leaders for St. Louis. She has taught over 100 graduating senior over the years.
Marian has a strong, outgoing, and effervescent personality. She uses these strong skills to directly effect and motivate the young people she is working with or other important members. She has a unique ability to capitalize on her strong professional and personal skills to affect permanent, positive change.
As you can see, Marian has a record of achievement and leadership in several areas of volunteer service, all while working full‐time! She has made several outstanding contributions that have helped solve need and have improved the quality of life within St. Louis. Many individuals and families have been permanently affected by her commitment to the community and her work. I believe that Marian Nunn should be recognized as a Woman of Achievement.