Foundation History


The Joseph H and Florence A Roblee Foundation was founded in 1971 by Louise Roblee McCarthy. She named the foundation in her parents' honor. She started the foundation in order to continue the philanthropic work of her lifetime, work that was progressive, especially for her day.

She served on many social agency boards. Some highlights are noted herein. She was on the The Mayor's Committee on Interracial Relations, the city of St. Louis' first committee on race relations. She cared deeply about racial equity.  Women’s issues and women’s rights were also particularly important to her. She was the National Director of the YWCA and one of the Vice Presidents of the International World YWCA. She also served of the World’s YWCA’s Executive Committee.  

She practiced breaking down racial, ethnic, and gender barriers in her daily life through her words and actions. For example, she hosted racially integrated parties, which, at the time was highly unusual. She also stepped down from a prominent club in St. Louis when they would not admit a black member.

Her Christian faith was important to her. She was Vice President of the National Council of Churches. She considered her faith to be a motivating factor of her philanthropic work, but more in the spirit of promoting religious inclusiveness and social services. She did not believe in proselytization.  

She believed in democracy and in the value of: exchanging ideas, listening to, and respecting one another. She was an active supporter of educational endeavors: from her service with The League of Women Voters, to her support of individual schools ranging from Vassar College, her alma matter (class of 1912) to the Community School in St. Louis, MO (a school founded in 1914 to create a more progressive school than existed at that time in St. Louis), to the  work of the Worldwide YWCA.  



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