About Us

We connect the dots to meet students' needs.

The Special Education Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to assist students with disabilities in St. Louis County in achieving success in ways not supported by tax dollars.

The Foundation aims to empower students with disabilities by giving them the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. These include:

  • teacher mini-grants for innovative programs to help students learn
  • adaptive equipment that enhances independence and quality of life
  • scholarships to help successful students continue their education
  • summer camps to maintain educational momentum through breaks
  • support for critical needs to pave the way for meaningful engagement in education
  • a high school leadership program that develops skills for effective members of the community
  • arts in the classroom to enhance self-esteem, increase social interaction and improve language skills

Established in 1984 as the first public school foundation in the state of Missouri, the Foundation provides support and assistance to students who receive services from the Special School District of Saint Louis County (SSD). SSD serves children and youth with disabilities, ages 3 to 21, throughout St. Louis County. More than 16 percent of students in St. Louis County receive special education services. Disabilities range from mild to severe, although the majority of students have learning disabilities. SSD is responsible for special education services in 22 partner districts throughout the county.

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in Student Financial Assistance


Students helped last year

35 years

Helping students since 1984

The Foundation is completely independent of SSD. It relies solely on private donations for financial support. The Foundation receives no support from the United Way, government sources and revenues or SSD. A volunteer board of directors guides the organization.

The Foundation is able to do its work thanks to the generous support of our donors. Many of the students we help are in families struggling with financial stress. During the past year, the Foundation provided more than $240,000 in student financial assistance and programs. Our many supporters and volunteers make possible our efforts to enhance the education of students with disabilities. See our list of foundation honorees.

Child Writing