Many world-class athletes bask in fame and fortune, only to fade into obscurity when the spotlight turns to shadow. Fortunately, for the city of East St. Louis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee was cut from a different cloth. Regarded by many as the greatest female athlete of all-time, this Olympic track and field champion chose a path from worldwide stardom to return home with an even greater purpose.

Through tireless work and a commitment to ensuring every youth is given the opportunity to achieve greatness, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation has grown to become a safe haven and learning-rich environment for area youth. Where the challenges and limitations of one of America’s most notoriously deadly and impoverished cities will never define where a child can go, or who they can become.