Category Archives: Events

  • Every Child Promise unveils Pre-K access and school readiness pilots

    Before a standing-room only audience at First Baptist Church Tuesday morning, Every Child Promise Co-chair Todd Parnell used his lecturn like a pulpit to deliver a heartfelt and convincing oration on why Springfield should support early childhood education.

    It’s not just a social issue or a crime issue when kids start kindergarten without being ready for the rigors of the next 12 years of education. It’s about workforce development and economic development. The Every Child Promise is a quality of life promise and a humanitarian promise, said Parnell, who with his wife and Co-Chair Betty Parnell, has spent months leading more than 150 volunteers on five subcommittees to develop the strategic plan announced Tuesday.

    The Every Child Promise states: “Our community promises to empower families, so that every child age birth to six has the opportunity to enter our schools ready to learn.”

    “This promise is homegrown,” Parnell said. “This promise is consistent with treasured community values.

    “Every parent and every child who wants access will be able to afford it. We’ll do it our way, the Springfield way.”

    “Our way” is laid out in a series of strategic priorities, including four being implemented immediately. The three-year price tag for the first four priorities is $1.2 million, plus administrative expenses. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is one of the seed funders to support the administrative process, along with CFO President Brian Fogle serving on the steering committee and Executive Vice President Julie Leeth co-chairing the Early Child Care Committee.

    The four pilot project priorities include:

    • Expanding the home-visiting program similar to the Parents as Teachers program with five additional parent educators for three years to serve 450-550 children per year.
    • Implementing the Every Child Promise Scholarship Program to provide 50-60 kids with access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for three years.
    • Creating a public/private Pre-K Educational partnership between Springfield Public Schools and a private provider.
    • Creating a public/private Nutritional Food Partnership with Convoy of Hope to improve nutrition for food-insecure children.

    The Every Child Promise steering committee is past the halfway point in raising the private funds needed to implement these initial priorities.

    Every Child Advocate Dana Carroll encouraged the community to stay tuned for upcoming information on volunteer opportunities. She also said the committee is seeking community buy-in through a crowdfunding project to raise $12,000 to provide 10 scholarships for kids to access high-quality Pre-K programs. Contributions of any size can be made on the CFO’s crowdfunding platform at

  • Funders Forum gains insights from tour of Shady Dell and Isabel’s House

    The information is heartbreaking, enlightening and eye-opening when members of the CFO Funders Forum tour Springfield nonprofits to see how public and private dollars are used to address both the causes and effects of vexing social problems.Tuesday was no exception when the Funders Forum toured Shady Dell Early Childhood Center, Isabel’s House Crisis Nursery and then heard an overview of the 2013 Community Focus Report and the new strategic direction for The Kitchen’s services.

    Even after working at Isabel’s House day in and day out, Executive Director Andrea Vent can’t help but tear up when she talks about some of the kids who live there for anywhere from a day to a month while their parents try to resolve the family crisis situations that lead them to seek this temporary respite care for their children. Families who become homeless, or face health crises and mothers and fathers who fear they might hurt their children if they don’t use this safety valve to release the massive pressures they are under.

    Isabel’s House provides this refuge for as many as 20 kids up to age 12 from around the Springfield region. They give them baths and meals and fresh clothes and a blanket they can take with them when they leave. They take the school-age kids to school each morning to maintain a sense of routine and read stories to them each night, often multiple stories because many of the kids have trouble falling asleep away from their parents.

  • Agency Partner session focuses on how millennials engage with charities

    Several members of the millennial generation offered suggestions during a CFO agency partner seminar today on the best ways to engage and inspire them to donate their time, talents and dollars to nonprofit causes in the Ozarks. The panel discussion was part of a broader look at national and local survey results on how millennial […]

  • Agency Partner Opportunities in November and December

    Just a few reminders for our Agency Partners about events and deadlines coming over the next few weeks, courtesy of Director of Nonprofit Services Bridget Dierks.

    Advocacy for your Nonprofit Event November 13th

    We still have seats available for our next quarterly educational program.

    Though many nonprofit organizations have very little time or resources to pursue advocacy efforts, Nonprofit Missouri encourages us to better understand the legislative process in Missouri so that we may be the most effective in our efforts to advocate for our organizations. This educational program will cover a number of helpful topics throughout the morning.

    • Board Member and Volunteer Roles in the Advocacy Process

    • Understanding the Missouri Legislative Process

    • The Art of Advocacy, Learning from an Expert

    We will then enjoy lunch with a panel of Missouri legislators, who will share their own perspectives on effective advocacy. This is a great day, and CFO is covering the cost of the event so that our agency partners may attend for free.

    Event: Advocating for Your Nonprofit
    Date: Wednesday, Nov. 13
    Time: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (lunch included)
    Location: Community Foundation of the Ozarks (425 E Trafficway, Springfield)
    Cost: Free to CFO Agency Partners

    Please contact Bridget if you have any questions about this exciting event. Please RSVP to ensure we have a correct lunch count.

  • Next-Gen Giving Study Introduced for The Network

    On Wednesday morning, Oct. 23, CFO Executive Vice-President Dr. Julie Leeth presented the findings of the Millennial Impact Report, an online survey of more than 6,500 people ages 20-35 about their giving habits and preferences, as well as their methods of gathering information and communicating with agencies. The goal? To shine a light on the […]

  • Young Philanthropists Urged to “Dream It, Believe It, Do It” at Annual YEP Conference

    The Community Foundation of the Ozarks annual Youth Empowerment Project fall conference was held yesterday at Drury University. More than 150 students from 20 different districts across the CFO service area attended the conference, which was keynoted by new Missouri State University basketball coach Kellie Harper. A former University of Tennessee standout and three-time NCAA […]

  • Humanitarian of the Year Nominations Due Monday

    Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Humanitarian Award to honor a southwest Missouri resident for service that contributes to the betterment of his or her community. This year will mark the 24th annual Humanitarian Award, which was founded by longtime Community Foundation of the Ozarks supporter Jewell Thompson Schweitzer. The deadline for nominations is […]

  • Early Childhood Efforts Focus on Getting Kids Ready to Learn

    The CFO’s quarterly Funders Forum group continued its focus on early childhood issues with presentations this week from Missy Riley, director of Springfield Public Schools’ early childhood program, and Dana Carroll, with the Every Child Promise initiative. As community leaders and school readiness advocates lay the groundwork in Springfield to make sure every child is […]

  • 2013 Community Focus Report Released at Children’s Summit

    The 2013 Community Focus Report for Springfield-Greene County is now available to the public, following its release at a Children’s Summit hosted by the Junior League of Springfield today.

    This is the sixth edition of the report, which began in 2004 and eventually went to a biennial schedule. It assesses the red flags and blue ribbons within 11 areas of the community, as well as synthesizing the themes among the 11 chapters and demographic information about the area. Many local organizations from government to philanthropy use the report as a tool to help determine funding and strategic priorities.

    The report is available online at A limited number of hard copies are available by calling the CFO at (417) 864-6199. The report is sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the Junior League, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield-Greene County Library District, and the United Way of the Ozarks.

    A panel of speakers at the Children’s Summit, held at Drury University’s O’Reilly Family Events Center, tried to bring to life many of the report’s findings and themes as they relate to children, particularly early childhood development.

    Moderated by CFO President Brian Fogle, the panel focused on high-priority issues such as the impact of living in poverty and our area’s unacceptably high rate of child abuse and neglect.