The oldest free and charitable clinic in the U.S. continues to provide important health care

social welfare

The Social Welfare Board of Buchanan County provides medical and dental care to residents of Buchanan County with income restrictions. The clinic also houses a Westside clinic that provides women’s health and family planning services utilizing a sliding fee scale with no residential restrictions. The clinic is funded  through multiple sources: City of St. Joseph and Buchanan County, local, state and  federal grants, donations and financial assistance from the Friends of the Free Clinic.  A six member Board of Directors, appointed by the City and County governs the Social Welfare Board.  A 21 member board governs the Friends of the Free Clinic.

Giving Hope Family Run/Walk & Fall Festival

Everyone is welcome! This family friendly 1 mile run/walk is a fundraiser for the Social Welfare Clinic of St. Joseph, MO. The Social Welfare Board is the oldest free and charitable clinic in the U.S. that provides healthcare services to residents with income restrictions.


You have the power to help one life breathe easier.

You can choose to make a small monthly gift that will help bring back optimism for the underinsured working poor in the greater St. Joe area, by providing basic healthcare.

The Problem

  • 8,869 Buchanan County residents 18-64 years of age live in poverty ( ie. annual earnings less than $12,140)
  • 10,544 Buchanan County residents (16.3%) do not have health insurance
  • In Missouri only 58.6% of adults can access affordable dental care
    • Resource:  Missouri Census Data (2017); ACS profiles

Our Approach…

  • The Social Welfare Board provides low cost primary healthcare and dental care to Buchanan County residents with limited incomes.
  • Women’s Health and Family planning services are provided on a sliding fee scale basis regardless of residency and income.
  • Medical patients are asked to donate $5.00 per medical visit.
  • The clinic connects established patients to free or low cost medications and specialty care.
  • The dental clinic charges $15.00 per tooth.

Our Impact….

2017-2018 patient visit data: medical 5,864; dental 3,600; Westside (women’s health/family planning 3,221.

Annually at least $5,000,000 worth of medications are dispensed free of charge from the clinic’s dispensary and patient assistance programs.



Donations of any size are appreciated and will help sustain the healthcare services that the Social Welfare Board provides the uninsured residents of Buchanan County.

Click on the ‘Donate’ button and enter ‘Friends of the Free Clinic’ in the Purpose field.



AmazonSmile1Friends of the Free Clinic has partnered with the Amazon Smile Foundation – for every purchase you make on Amazon Smile, 5% will be donated to the Friends of the Free Clinic!  Click here for: More information