Affiliate Appreciation Conference 2019

Affiliate Appreciation Conference 2019 Logo

REGISTER NOW: The Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ 2019 Affiliate Appreciation Conference will be held Friday, Nov. 8 at the Christopher S. Bond Learning Center at the Darr Agricultural Center in Springfield. The event is free for affiliate foundation board members and will feature keynote addresses by Benjamin Winchester and Andrew McCrea, focused discussions with other affiliate representatives, breakout panels on philanthropy and development in rural communities, and the presentation of the Affiliate of the Year Awards. Click here to register online.

If you have questions regarding the conference, please contact Ashley Silva at

Click here for the tentative agenda.

About Our Speakers

Ben Winchester portraitWe are proud to welcome Benjamin Winchester, a rural sociologist for the University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality. Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 20 years. He lives in St. Cloud, Minn., with his wife and two children. He conducts applied research on economic, social and demographic topics surrounding a theme of “rewriting the rural narrative” that are vital to rural America.

The first research topic documents “newcomers” — the influx of 30–49 year old people — to identify the social and economic opportunities of this migration. The second involves the analysis of rural community leadership, specifically examining the community-wide requirements to “keep the town running” through the public and nonprofit sector. The third is the impact of baby-boomer retirements on the rural housing supply. These positive trends show that rural communities have a resilience of which we should be proud.

Winchester received his B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Minnesota-Morris (1995) and M.S. in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2001). He helped establish the Center for Small Towns, an outreach and engagement program at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and specializes in community development, demographic analysis, data visualization and moving communities away from “anecdata.”

Andrew McCrea portraitBased upon his popular books, Andrew McCrea provides insightful guidance that inspires leadership at every level, delivering keynotes and training programs with energy, enthusiasm and expertise. His blend of humor and real-life strategies for living life with purpose inspire groups to action. Andrew believes in building strong communities. He is the past chairman of the Heartland Foundation, a group that promotes the “healthy communities” concept of raising the quality of life in rural and urban areas.

Since 1996, he has traveled the nation, producing the “American Countryside” features that are heard each day on radio stations coast-to-coast. He can be heard on radio (Sirius/XM radio and approximately 100 other stations) and TV (programming is on RFD-TV– on all Dish and Direct TV households plus many cable systems, and about 150 local TV stations), and on such national networks as Westwood One and CBS. Andrew is also the author of four books, including the Ippy Award Winner, “American Countryside: Where Does Lost Luggage Go?” All of his publications are insightful books about life and leadership based on the interesting stories featured on the radio program.

Andrew continues to manage and work on his family’s 3,500-acre ranch in northwest Missouri, McCrea Family Farms.

Happy Hour Reception

Save the date for a pre-conference happy hour reception at University Plaza Hotel, 333 S. John Q Hammons Parkway, on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 7. More information to come soon!

Hotel Reservations

The CFO has a block of rooms at University Plaza Hotel available for a discounted rate. Click here to make a reservation, or call the hotel directly at (417) 522-1113 and reference Community Foundation of the Ozarks to reserve a room in the block at a discounted rate.