FERGUSON, MO. - The Reinvest North County Fund was created as an immediate response to the unrest in Ferguson in 2014. The St. Louis Regional Business Council organized a first round of crisis funding to give to school districts, including Ferguson-Florissant, Jennings, Riverview Gardens, and the Normandy Schools Collaborative.
Several other organizations have since pitched in, with nine more rounds of funding totaling around $1 million. Students collected checks Wednesday at Centene Corporation as part of the final allocation through the Reinvest North County Fund.
The money has supported a number of resources needed for their academic success, including uniforms for college prep programs.
"For one, looking professional which you know you look good feel good, feel good look good," Jennings senior Trevor Gillespie said.
"They really, really helped us out a lot preparing us for like, you know, different things," said Dasia Alexander, who is also a senior at Jennings. "Getting us ready for the real world, you know, telling us all different things we can do, all the different people we can run into."
The money has also helped around 50 small businesses stay afloat after many were damaged due to the unrest.
"We really appreciated them and it was also our very first sign of hope that our businesses would be okay," said Lisa Davis, who owns Best Insurance alongside Joshura Davis.
Those behind the fund say even more work needs to be done and now, people in the community can donate to individual entities such as the Urban League, United Way, Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, and others.