Mariposa Men’s

         Wellness Institute



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On February 8, 2001, the Mariposa Men’s Wellness Institute became a registered Missouri nonprofit organization; as of February 1, 2003, we were approved as a federal 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit organization.

Our primary mission is “promote men’s emotional wellness.” We are a group of men, many of whom are veterans of the ‘men’s movement’, which was initially begun in the early 1980’s in various parts of the nation. At that time, several men in the St. Louis community formed a ‘men’s center’ and the group RAVEN (which still exists and has intervention programs for male batterers) where discussions about the male experience and male bonding could take place. That loosely organized group largely disintegrated in the late ’80’s, though many of the men have continued since then to meet in ‘men’s groups’.

Our Executive Director, Donald B. Jeffries, MPA, MSW, hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been a member of the New Mexico men’s wellness movement since 1987 (the movement there began in 1983). The New Mexico men’s movement has continued to be quite active, hosting an annual Men’s Wellness Conference in Abiqui, New Mexico each October and promoting the formation of men’s groups throughout the state.

(For other articles and general information about Donald Jeffries, not directly related to MMWI, see


To understand our mission, it is critical to know our philosophy. We are ‘liberal’, in the sense that we seek to actively challenge the existing dominant paradigm that defines ‘manhood’ in American culture. As noted in “Our Mission”, we find that paradigm to be suffocatingly narrow and unhealthy, and seek to discuss and market ways in which men can become more fully human. To use the terms defined by Kenneth Clatterbaugh in his excellent book Contemporary Perspectives on Masculinity: Men, Women, and Politics in Modern Society, we are men who generally espouse positions that are profeminist, mythopoetic, socialist, gay, and/or African American and to a certain extent which are aspects of the men’s right’s movement. While we seek to be inclusive of religious, racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation perspectives, it is critical that our readers understand that we do not support the conservative socio-biological position nor the evangelical Christian men’s movements (such as Promise Keepers), as we feel those perspectives see to reinforce and reimpose the very traditional patriarchal paradigms which we are seeking to challenge and change.

The men’s movement was initially an outgrowth of the feminist movement (which itself as encouraged by the civil rights movement). The feminist movement encouraged women to actively and critically challenge the dominant definitions of ‘femalehood’ and to search for patterns of behavior which were more healthy for women, in their relations to themselves, their friends, partners and lovers, and the larger cultural milieu. In that same manner, the men’s movement (or men’s movements, as noted above) generally seeks to encourage men to gain a greater sensitivity about how their maleness is displayed in the culture and in their families, and how to become more fully human, with an emphasis upon a more comfortable display of sensitive and nurturing emotions. Our presentations and programs in the community will stress these values and seek to assist men (and women) to view manhood in a wholly different and, we feel, more healthy light.


As noted above, there had been a men’s center in St. Louis in the 1980’s which folded due to a ‘loss of steam’. IN 1998, our Executive Director, Donald B. Jeffries, arrived in St. Louis to attend Washington University to complete his MSW (which occurred in May 1999). Mr. Jeffries had been involved in various aspects of the New Mexico men’s movement since 1987: as a presenter at 3 of the annual conferences, as a member of a men’s group for 7 years, and as President of the Board of Directors of Men’s Network Press (which publishes a quarterly newsletter on men’s emotional wellness entitled Man Alive!) for 3 years. While at George Warren Brown School of Social Work, he concentrated his studies on Program Development for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors.

From the time of graduation in 1999 to August of 2000, Mr. Jeffries talked to many people in the St. Louis community about how to manifest a proposed nonprofit organization whose focus would be upon men’s emotional wellness with an emphasis on male sexual abuse survivors. In August 2000 he met with and began a professional collaboration with Mark Schwartz, Sc.D., Clinical Co-Director of the Masters and Johnson Sexual Trauma Program, to look into ways to promulgate this organization. In October 2000, we had our first organizational Steering Committee meeting, and have proceeded from there.


We are seeking individuals who support our mission, who are willing to serve on our Board of Directors, and who are willing to promote our mission in the community, including assistance in raising funding for support of those programs. We also encourage our readers to contact us should they have suggestions on the format of the website or have articles that they would like to submit for posting (if appropriate to our mission and with the knowledge that our web administrator will edit them). Together, we can begin to assist men in our community to come to a deeper understanding of their feelings, of the healthy manifestation of their maleness, of their humanity, and of how their behavior affects themselves, their friends and families, and the larger society.

Mariposa Men’s Wellness Institute was founded in 2001

to help men become emotionally healthy.


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