Launching a Domino Effect of Support for the Outdoor Learning Center

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At The Biome, it is often our dedicated volunteers who act as catalysts, initiating connections that have the potential to create a long-lasting ripple effect.

Tom Cooke, a member of the Biome Foundation and long-time supporter of the Youth Learning Center, is one of these catalysts. Recently, he brought a special collaboration to the Biome School. In addition to being an accomplished, award-winning executive with a background in public affairs, marketing, and crisis communications, Tom also is active with several other civic and not-for-profit groups and organizations.

He recently identified a special opportunity for a collaboration between the Biome School and the Veiled Prophet Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the 139-year-old organization best known for producing family-friendly events like Fair St Louis and the annual VP Parade. The foundation has provided funding and tens of thousands of hours of volunteer hours for dozens of local community service initiatives.

While the Veiled Prophet Foundation does not fund entire projects, it does provide the initial financial support that’s necessary to launch each project it selects. It also identifies other funding sources to contribute to the overall cost of the project and arranges in-kind services through the diverse network of VP members. Lastly, the VP taps into its members and their families to volunteer their talents in the construction and final installation of each project. The result is a ripple effect that brings together more people and resources and increases public awareness.

This describes exactly what is happening with the Biome School since Tom initiated the collaboration between the school and the Veiled Prophet Foundation to create our new outdoor learning center, which will be unveiled later this fall.

Not only will the new outdoor learning center be an outstanding resource for our students, the collaboration also generated exposure and awareness of the school to a wider audience of community leaders and influencers who share our goal of empowering students by providing them with the tools they need to reach their fullest potential.

Just as a commitment from Tom as an individual turned into an exceptional opportunity to benefit our entire student body for years to come, volunteering at any level for the Biome can have a similar “butterfly effect.” Your individual involvement will have a bigger impact than you can imagine.

We invite you to consider how you can ignite your own butterfly effect – where a single action can initiate a widespread ripple effect:

  • If you are interested in having a hands-on involvement, join us for the Outdoor Learning Center’s final build day on Saturday, November 18th. Sign up to volunteer today by completing our online form.
  • If you would like to engage directly with our learners, sign up to become a volunteer in the classroom using our online form.
  • If you would like to share your expertise, inquire about board service by contacting Mark Kent at