A Community Foundation Perspective

By Gary Funk
President, Community Foundation of the Ozarks

The word husbandry comes to us like an ancient whisper. Notions of thrift, resourcefulness, stewardship, and simplicity may seem anachronistic, but in these days of unprecedented economic turbulence, they should have renewed relevance. Our region is blessed with individuals who steadfastly husband resources for the greater good. There is Mansfield’s Jean Coday, champion for the Laura Ingalls Wilder farm, keeping alive Ozarks’ history and important agrarian values. There is Springfield’s Judy Dasovich, selflessly fighting for the resources to keep The Kitchen Clinic going, serving people who fall through the cracks of a flawed healthcare system. There is Protem’s Tom Aley, dedicating his life and work to preserving Tumbling Creek Cave, while educating people on land use and water quality. And there is Forsyth’s Margie Berry, a tireless advocate for her local Boy’s and Girls’ Club, helping scores of children who have many needs.

At the Community Foundation of the Ozarks we are not sages; we possess no economic crystal ball. Still, we take seriously our role as a long-term steward of charitable funds. We are proud of our strong investment track record, and it is shepherded by a skilled investment advisory board. The Foundation’s approach to fund management is thoughtful, diversified, and appropriate. We will weather these tough times; we have before.

Recent headlines tend to define us in narrow economic terms. The community foundation movement, however, transcends the mere value of money, and is antidote to greed, materialism, and haste. Barn raisings are less about the utility of the barn and more about the value of people coming together. Building the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is such an endeavor.

There are many pundits who propose solutions for America’s economic struggles, and their suggestions vary as much as our nation’s geography. I am not qualified to add to this debate, but I do know that community building is an endeavor that requires more than the dollar bill. Compassion, sacrifice, and generosity comprise the authentic social fabric of our towns and rural places. These are inherently American traits, and it is our job to keep them at the forefront of community conversation. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is committed to this task.

Thank you for your continued support of our organization.

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