2015 Coover Regional grants presented at Commerce Trust

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Company, today awarded grants totaling $200,000  to 17 organizations focused on serving rural areas across central and southern Missouri.

The 2015 Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program presentation, which took place at The Commerce Trust Company’s Springfield office, included comments from each agency about how they’ll use the grant funding to address needs in their communities.

This year’s grant recipients were selected from among proposals that totaled $1.4 million in requested funding. The 2015 grant awards are being awarded to agencies working on poverty, senior issues, health, community  development, and arts issues.

“This is such a blessing for rural communities,” said Lisa Aden with the Ripley County Caring Community Partnership. “There are almost no words to put to it.”

These grants are made possible through the generosity of the late Julia Dorothy Coover, who worked for Commerce Bank for 30 years. She established the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in 1992 to honor her husband’s memory. With this year’s awards, the Coover Charitable Foundation surpasses $4 million in grantmaking across the Ozarks since its founding.

“This is always one of our favorite days of the year,” Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds said. “It is so rewarding to support the work being done by nonprofits in our rural areas. We are very proud that Mrs. Coover was a long-term Commerce employee and that she had such a generous heart and the passion to help citizens in southwest Missouri.

The grant panel was chaired by Jill Reynolds, vice president at Commerce Trust and former CFO Board Chair. The panel members were: current Board Chair Richard Cavender and regional board members Rob Foster, Marshfield; Brian Hammons, Stockton; Mitch Holmes, Branson; Randy Howard, Aurora; Jared Lightle, Carthage; Karen Miller, Ozark; Roger D. (Dusty) Shaw, Thomasville; Sandra Thomason, Clinton; and Robin Walker, Monett.

  • Barceda Families: $19,300 for a child-abuse prevention program for teen parents in six southwest Missouri counties.
  • Broseley Senior Citizens, Inc.: $8,500 to provide healthy, nutritious meals to seniors living in and around this Butler County community.
  • Care to Learn: $20,000 for health, hunger and hygiene needs for children served by its chapters in Cape Girardeau, Fordland, Greenfield and Sparta.
  • City of Billings: $5,000 for new equipment, landscaping and plants to create a useable parks facility.
  • City of Reeds Spring: $20,000 for improvements to its historic building to create a shared community space.
  • Community Health Clinic of Joplin: $11,700 to provide at least 500 people with assessments, personal planning and health resources.
  • Dade County Health Department/Southwest Area Coalition: $15,000 to provide access to laboratory and prescription drug services for Dade County residents.
  • Diaper Bank of the Ozarks: $10,000 to establish disposable and cloth diaper banks in rural Ozarks communities.
  • El Dorado Springs Senior Center: $10,000 for supplies and air-conditioning unit improvements.
  • Gasconade R-I Schools: $10,000 for the “Live Hermann” project to encourage young people to live in Hermann.
  • Hickory County CARES: $8,500 to provide hygiene products for food pantry patrons.
  • Jesus Was Homeless: $10,000 to hold “Meet the Doc” events to bring together medical, vision and dental resources for homeless and low-income residents in the Branson area.
  • Ripley County Caring Community Partnership: $7,000 for the FUSION Mentoring Program for at-risk students between eight and 13 in Doniphan.
  • Senior Citizens of Ozark County: $15,000 for a new roof for the Senior Center.
  • Southwest Center for Independent Living: $10,000 for social skills classes, events and advocacy support for youths with disabilities in Stone and Taney counties.
  • Steelville Arts Council: $10,000 to support the 2015 Clay Festival to promote local artists and regional tourism.
  • The Independent Living Center: $10,000 to develop on-the-job training for youths with disabilities in the Joplin area.