About Thread STL


We envision strong community partnerships building an equitable, just, and thriving St. Louis region.


Thread STL is a peer learning community that builds and sustains the skills and passion of partnership leaders.


The following principles form the core of what we value and how we behave as an organization. We commit to uphold these values within Thread and ask our members to do the same within their own work. Click the buttons on the right to read more.


Thread STL was created by and for community change makers. As a peer learning community, members share a commitment to community partnership as an expectation for sustainable, impactful community change, as well as a commitment to learning and development.

Thread primarily seeks to serve those whose role is to lead or manage a community partnership—in a full-time, part-time, or unpaid capacity—and those who provide crucial resources to support community partnerships, including funders, advocates, and advisors.

How does Thread define “community partnership”?

Thread STL defines “community partnership” as a group of stakeholders working to achieve shared goals within a community. Examples include an association working at the neighborhood level to reduce crime, a team working regionally to improve graduation rates, or a partnership working to address lead abatement in one municipality. Participants often come from multiple sectors typically including faith, arts and culture, business, community development, social service organizations, health, media, government, law enforcement, and education. These groups are sometimes also called alliances, or councils, as well as, partnerships and coalitions.

No decision about us without us.

We are authentic when we put community at the center, working with, not for or on behalf of, our constituencies. This is rooted in mutual trust and relationships.


  • Within Thread, our community is primarily our members. We actively listen to our members and seek their input to determine our agenda and make key decisions. We create and model structures and processes that build member commitment and leadership.
  • We expect Thread members to put their community at the center of their own efforts, authentically listening to constituents.


“Equity is the only acceptable goal.” ­– Paul Farmer

We acknowledge that the divisions in our region are rooted in social and economic injustice and structural racism.


  • Within Thread, we commit to promoting equity and justice within our structure, processes, and programs, seeking guidance from experts when it is needed and supporting our members through their own efforts to uphold this principle.
  • We expect Thread members to be deliberate about pursuing their understanding of, acknowledging, and actively addressing inequity within their own work.

Everyone has something to offer.

We know that our members have many strengths and assets from which to build and are a source of learning and inspiration.


  • Within Thread, we seek to build on the strengths and assets of our members and create ways for them to share their best practices and celebrate their successes.
  • We expect Thread members to acknowledge and build upon the strengths and assets of their partners and constituencies, recognizing that everyone has something valuable to contribute.

Learning never stops.

We further our impact when we use data and evidence to engage in continuous reflection, learning, and growth.


  • Within Thread, we seek to foster a culture of learning by providing methods and tools that are grounded in experience and evidence for our members to use to integrate continuous learning.
  • We expect Thread members to commit to use data and evidence to aid their own development and honor opportunities for growth, learning, and collaboration.

The Team


Kristin Bengtson
Manager of Community Strategy

Riisa Easley
Assistant Teaching Professor
UMSL – School of Social Work

Lindsey Noblot
Project Director
SouthSide Early Childhood Center

Meg Boyko
Executive Director
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership

Evan Krauss
East Side Aligned

Steve Parish
St. Louis Community Activist


Lisa Clancy
Associate Director – Partnership Performance
Community Innovation and Action Center


Casey Knotts
MSW/MPH Practicum Student
Community Innovation and Action Center @ UMSL