We’re looking forward to three more regional meetings coming up this week and next, after spending time with our first two groups of affiliate leaders last week in Branson and West Plains.
The affiliate foundation presidents and board members are encouraged to share their challenges and successes during the these interactive sessions focusing on the value a community foundation can provide to a community.
At the West Plains meeting, several representatives of the Willow Springs Community Foundation are still flush with justifiable pride over the grand opening of the Ferguson Building, a multi-year renovation of an historic building owned by the foundation that now houses community space, a theater and a new learning center. The WSCF is largely focused on community redevelopment and also purchases dilapidated houses to raze and re-build new homes for moderate-income families.
“What I’m most proud of is making our town look better by taking down old properties that are broken down or blighted and building really nice properties,” Board Secretary Carol Ann Richardson said.
Danny Letsinger, a member of the Douglas County Community Foundation board, said the group has focused on granting to volunteer fire departments in the county for life-saving equipment, such a defibrillators, for their vehicles. For the next step, Letsinger said, the departments are being encouraged to affiliate and form a medical assistance team.
“We feel really good about that,” he said. “We want the community to know it’s okay to ask us for help.”
Brenda Ledgerwood, president of the Alton Community Foundation, said her board has recently been re-energized and is now challenged to focus its priorities.
“There are too many things we want to do,” she said.
Joe Kammerer, a Community Foundation of West Plains board member, expressed concern that community foundations need to stay relevant so young people recognize the value of supporting their hometowns.
“Philanthropy in younger generations has not been as instilled in them,” he said.
CFO President Brian Fogle said that is a common concern shared by donors who say “I don’t want to transfer the value of my estate until I’ve transferred my values” to their sons and daughters.
This week’s meetings continue in Sarcoxie on Tuesday and Stockton on Thursday before wrapping in Rolla on Tuesday, Oct. 2.