CFO, Coover/Commerce Trust award $250,000 to rural nonprofits

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with The Commerce Trust Company, presented grants totaling $250,000 on Feb. 23 to 18 organizations focused on serving rural areas across central and southern Missouri.

The 2016 Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program featured representatives of the agencies receiving grants, who made comments about the needs they are addressing in their communities.

This year’s grant recipients were selected from among 95 proposals that totaled $1.43 million in requested funding. The 2016 grant awards are being awarded to agencies working on poverty, health, education, community development, and arts issues.

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. Since then, the Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded about $4.2 million in grants across the Ozarks.

“The nonprofit groups that received this year’s grants are doing outstanding work to benefit our regional communities,” Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds said. “Mrs. Coover would be so proud to see the impact she and her husband have made for so many years now through their generous legacy.”

The 2016 Coover Regional grant recipients are:

  • Art Feeds Joplin: $10,000 for educational programming and therapeutic art lessons for West Central (Joplin) Elementary School for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Bolivar United Methodist Church: $13,675 to expand the Back to School Extravaganza to include all eligible Polk County students, which will likely exceed 1,000 in 2016.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of West-Central Missouri: $10,000 to support a learning-enrichment summer program for students ages 6 to 18 in the West Central Missouri area.
  • Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks: $16,000 to provide screening mammograms to qualified individuals at a reduced rate in rural southwest Missouri.
  • Coalition for Ozark Living Traditions: $20,000 for renovation of the Alton roller rink for a multi-use community space to host cultural, health, wellness and place-making programs in Oregon County.
  • Council of Churches of the Ozarks – Ambassadors for Children: $15,000 to support children in foster care in Christian and Taney Counties.
  • Dallas County Health Department: $10,035 to support the Bright Smiles and Public Health Education program for children in Dallas County schools.
  • Food for Morgan County: $15,000 to support purchase of a van for the “Wheels for Meals” program to provide nutritious food to households living with food insecurity and a lack of transportation.
  • Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Lebanon: $18,000 to support the purchase and distribution of 300 hygiene kits for students and for the Reach Out and Read program for children ages 6 months to 5 years.
  • Lighthouse Children’s Theatre: $20,000 to support the purchase of quality sound and lighting systems in the theatre, which provides community theatre opportunities for children ages 3-18 in El Dorado Springs.
  • Medical Missions for Christ Clinic: $18,500 to support low-income patients in the Camdenton area with the purchase of improved medical, sterilization, and software equipment.
  • Neosho R-5 School District: $10,000 to support the school district’s transitional educational program, which provides special education students with a variety of experiences to prepare them for adult life.
  • Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation: $8,000 to provide VOICE (Vocational Opportunities Inspiring Children in Elementary) kits for Barry, Dade, Dallas, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney, and Webster county schools.
  • Pulaski County Sheltered Workshop: $10,000 to support the Market Farm and Gardens Program to help address a lack of local, healthy and affordable food choices for Sheltered Workshop employees, while also teaching them aspects of farming for market.
  • Sarcoxie Park Board: $15,000 to fund quality playground equipment for Sarcoxie Park.
  • The Samaritan Center: $16,000 to purchase equipment to improve the food pantry warehouse that supports Henry County residents.
  • West Plains Community Garden: $15,380 to support renovations to the Community Garden space, including ADA-compliant walkways and parking areas.
  • Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center: $9,410 to support creation of a natural play area to encourage conservation and environmental education.

Jill Reynolds chaired the volunteer committee of CFO board members representing regional communities, which included: Richard Cavender, Rolla; Rob Foster, Marshfield; Brian Hammons, Stockton; Mitch Holmes, Branson; Jim Holt, Reeds Spring; Randy Howard, Aurora; Karen Miller, Ozark; Chris Neale, Hermann; Roger D. “Dusty” Shaw, Jr., Thomasville; and Robin Walker, Monett.