By Jacob Barker
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Rung” (as in the rung of a ladder) originally began as a resale boutique in Rock Hill that sold affordable professional women’s attire, donating its proceeds to charity. Soon it will be reborn as a massive campus with organizations focused on fulfilling the needs of women on multiple levels (financially, emotionally and professionally.)
A new nonprofit started by a granddaughter of Enterprise Holdings founder Jack Taylor, is planning to put $20 million into a new campus in St. Louis’ Fox Park neighborhood.
Rung, which aims to financially empower women and build a stronger middle class, purchased nearly a whole city block late last year, over 3.5 acres of land in the middle of the neighborhood.
Executive Director Leslie Gill said Rung (as in the rung of a ladder) hopes to begin construction this spring and complete the new offices at 2717 Sidney Street by the first quarter of 2020.
Originally founded about a decade ago by Ali Kindle Hogan, Rung began as a resale boutique in Rock Hill that sold affordable professional women’s attire, donating its proceeds to the St. Louis Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis and giving what it didn’t sell to homeless shelters.
Alison Kindle Hogan, a granddaughter of Enterprise holdings founder Jack Taylor, founded Rung to help empower women financially.
The boutique closed in mid-2017, and Hogan has been working on Rung’s new manifestation since, hiring Gill and program director Christina Holmes and purchasing the Fox Park real estate.
In addition to Hogan, who hails from the Taylor family and is one of the members of the potential Major League Soccer local ownership group, longtime Taylor family adviser and former Forest Park Forever director Jim Mann is also on the board for the new nonprofit.
Rung “has a very generous founder who sees this as her legacy,” Gill said.
The new campus includes plans for vegetable and herb gardens as well as an orchard alongside offices and space for other nonprofits.
Gill said partners such as behavioral health services provider Provident, domestic violence nonprofit Safe Connections and financial education provider Prosperity Connection will have space for satellite offices there.
Family Care Health Centers plans a clinic there, she added.
The new Rung campus will “provide a tremendous new asset for the neighborhood,” said Tom Pickel of DeSales Community Development, a nonprofit that invests in housing and services in the neighborhood.
DeSales had purchased the land several years ago when it became available, but it had no particular plans for the site, Pickel said.
“We could only wish for an outcome like what you’re seeing,” he told the St. Louis Preservation Board.