Growing forward


We have been organizing and preparing for Growing Forward, a  campaign to fund the construction of the new Education Center on the  GHV Campus. This technology-rich STEM learning facility will allow us  to offer an innovative, hands-on curriculum for our Urban Education  Alliance schools, giving students the foundation for pursuing advanced  careers in bio-science and urban agriculture.

This centerpiece of the GHV Campus will feature both indoor and  outdoor growing spaces, along with video capabilities to connect with  schools and students throughout the St. Louis region.

Such an ambitious vision requires bold and credible leadership.  We are excited to announce that Dr. Freddie Wills and Mr. John Nickel  will be serving as our Campaign Co-Chairs! In addition, we are most  grateful to John and Joan Vatterott who are serving as our Honorary  Chairs.

We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress, as we  continue our campaign preparations and as we launch Growing  Forward, the campaign for The Green House Venture in 2022.


The completion of Phase 1 of the GHV Campus–the Embankment Greenway and Terrace Garden – marked a major milestone in our program.

Please join us in supporting Phase 2 of our plan to advance our vision for elementary education in bio-science and urban agriculture.

$4 Million will construct the new Education Center

$2 Million will provide seed funding to ramp up operations. This special fund will also ensure maintenance for the new facility.

Together, we have an incredible opportunity to realize the full vision of  THE GREEN HOUSE VENTURE for St. Louis and other elementary schools across the nation.

Your tax-deductible gift to support our capital campaign is greatly  appreciated — the methods of giving are numerous.

  • Gifts of Cash
  • Securities
  • Planned Gifts
  • IRA Rollover
  • 3-5 Year Pledge
  • In-Kind

Naming Opportunities

Meaningful Naming Opportunities and Donor Recognition are offered  through this campaign. Please talk with a campaign committee member to  discuss available opportunities.

Special Tributes

Giving to GHV’s Growing Forward campaign offers opportunities for creating tribute gifts. Gifts and pledges may be made In Memoriam, or In  Honor of individuals, families, or organizations.

Recurring Gifts

In addition to making a one-time gift, you also have the option of setting up  monthly or annual contributions. By charging your credit or debit card each  month or year, you will be breaking your gift into manageable contributions  while making a tremendous impact on the campaign.

Matching Gifts

Contact your corporation to see if they match the charitable contributions  made by their employees.

How to Give

Campaign Leadership

Champaign Chairs

  • John & Joan Vatterott

    Honorary Chairs

    John & Joan Vatterott

    Honorary Chairs
    John and Joan have dedicated tremendous time and  resources to education and we are proud that they are helping to lead  the Growing Forward campaign. Their spirit of philanthropy inspires all  who will participate in this effort that's most appropriate for you.
    "There are lots of ways of giving, and you do it in a way that!s more notable. If you give or do any kind of volunteerism, you always get  more than you give.”
  • Mr. John Nickel


    Mr. John Nickel

    John Nickel is a co-owner of Switch, a brand engagement and events agency. A lifelong St. Louisan, John is passionate about the work of nonprofits in the community. He has been involved with The Green House Venture since the beginning and is excited about the vision of the new center. He says:
    "The Green House Venture is destined to become an important community asset. Educating students and parents on healthy and sustainable food and habits, and creating a renewable food source in  parts of the Saint Louis community where it is most needed.”
  • Dr. Freddie Wills


    Dr. Freddie Wills

    Freddie E. Wills, Jr., Ph.D. is a higher education professional knowledgeable about theories and practices that meet at the intersection of secondary and post-secondary education. Dr. Wills serves as the Vice President for STEM Initiatives and Research Partnerships and he leads the Missouri Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MOLSAMP) as its Principal Investigator. In his role, Dr. Wills works to develop and implement institutional partnerships that advance HSSU’s STEM agenda and supports student success. In addition, serving as a Principal Investigator of MOLSAMP, Dr. Wills provides leadership for the operation of two other National Science Foundation grants awarded to the HSSU. Dr. Wills is a visionary leader, who is passionate about student development, organizational culture and structure, and excellence in academics. Dr. Wills, holds a Bachelors of Art degree in Communications (Southwest Baptist University), a Masters of Arts degree in Media Communications (Webster University), and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University.
    "Realizing and empowering the potential of youth in continuous efforts to improve the communities they live in and to impact global challenges of sustainability through exploring solutions in their own neighborhoods is core to the mission of the Green House Venture Project. The work that our youth produce today will shape thriving communities for the St. Louis region and beyond."

Campaign Consultants:

The Green House Venture has engaged the firm Holmes, Radford  & Reynolds, Inc. to guide Growing Forward, the campaign that will  realize the vision of a new education center.

Dan Reynolds, HRR!s President, has been with the firm for over 20 years, directing highly successful capital campaigns throughout  St. Louis. HRR!s past clients include several elementary schools, STEM initiatives, as well as food/nutrition organizations like  Operation Food Search, one of GHV’s partners.

Dan is very excited about this project, as he believes that it  appeals to a variety of relevant and compelling purposes.

“There is urgency to provide immediate educational solutions, particularly those that address science education, in St. Louis. This effort also sees the long game as it is working with young children to respond to the future talent needs of our burgeoning  bio-science sector. Most impressive is the cooperative spirit of the  project–so many organizations strive for collaboration in St.  Louis, but the GHV has achieved real, credible, and sustained  traction with so many diverse partners already. The  Embankment Garden is one of the more creative projects that I’ve seen in a while. It has converted previously considered unusable space into something productive, while engaging  multiple experts to do it. It is a great and truly unique vision!”

The New Education Center:

The new Education Center will follow universal design methods, as  well as best sustainable building practices to ensure accessibility and  longevity while promoting green technology. The Center will have  9,000 square feet of space for gardens, classrooms, and urban  agricultural areas for students to gain hands-on experience in our  STEM curriculum.

Inside, students will have access to their own aquaponic growing  gallery featuring fish-breeding tanks and soilless beds. In the main  production greenhouse, they will encounter floating rafts, wicking  troughs, and growing towers, all using fish waste to nourish the plants,  which in turn clean the water for the fish. A demonstration kitchen,  multi-purpose classroom, event space and lab will provide spaces for  more advanced learning and exploration.

Outside, students will work with seasonal crops growing in several  distinctive garden areas including a climbing-fruit courtyard, a roof-top  garden, raised beds, and terraces along Interstate Highway 44.  Students will maintain gardens for bee and butterfly pollinators,  learning the importance of native plant species and biodiversity to  ensure a healthy environment.

This state-of-the-art facility will enable students from around the St.  Louis region to engage in various ways of growing and producing food  year-round in the heart of the city.