CFO Donors Celebrate Milestones at Annual Dinner

CFO donors celebrated a record-setting year during the annual Donor Dinner on June 3, where three outgoing board members and the outgoing board chairman were recognized for their contributions.

    Board Chairman Dr. Tom Prater outlined the successes of the past year:

  • Grants and distributions are at $17.5 million, exceeding last year’s record of $15.9 million with a month to go in the current fiscal year;
  • A record number of new funds established with 218 through June 3;
  • Scholarship awards totaled about $600,000 to 425 students for an all-time high;
  • Total gifts will again exceed $20 million after the recessionary dip, thanks to the generosity of donors committed to sustaining southern Missouri’s communities.

    Dr. Prater also reviewed several of the past year’s new initiatives, including the Rural Schools Partnership, which was launched in August 2009 and has grown to more than 90 schools and established the first class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps this spring. He reviewed two rounds of grants made through the Commerce Trust’s Louis L. Coover and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation: The first round of place-based education grants made in partnership with the Stewardship Ozarks Initiative awarded $175,000 to 11 school districts; the Coover Regional Grantmaking Program, which is a partnership between Commerce Trust and the Community Foundation, awarded $109,475 to eight agencies outside of the Springfield-Greene County area working on solutions to fight rural poverty.

   Dr. Prater said the annual Springfield Metropolitan Grantmaking Program took a new direction last year to respond to high-priority community needs. The CFO and five other funders – The Musgrave Foundation, The Roy W. Slusher Foundation, the Turner Family Fund, ADF, Inc., and the Thomas J. Carlson fund – offered $325,000 in matching grants that exceeded the goal by raising $739,000 in total awarded to 10 local non-profits that focused on basic services such as food and shelter, children living in poverty, and access to healthcare.

    He said the Ozarks Million Dollar Hunger Challenge, made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation State Program in partnership with the Ozarks Food Harvest, will wrap up this month. Participating affiliates receive 1:1 matching funds to provide food in the OFH’s 29-county service area.

   Dr. Prater also reviewed the Arts Programming Sustainability Initiative, which had a second successful year including exceeding the $10,000 goal for the “10 Weeks Festival”, a Legacy Society program focused on the arts, and a Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts grant award for arts education programming in Springfield Public Schools.

    CFO President Gary Funk recognized outgoing board members Leon Combs of Bradleyville; Doug Thornsberry of Springfield, and Robert Wheeler of Clinton. He also thanked Dr. Prater for his significant investment of time and energy as Chairman. Dr. Prater will be staying on the board for another year. More information about each of their accomplishments on the board will be included in the upcoming spring newsletter.

    Incoming Board member Bill Lee from Joplin, who attended the dinner, was welcomed to the Board as well.

  Dr. Prater introduced attorney David Pointer of Gainesville as the new Board Chairman. Pointer, who is the first board member from a regional affiliate to serve as Chairman, said he looks forward to continuing the emphasis on rural schools during the coming year. He also noted that development of the CFO’s strategic plan is a priority along with focusing on planned giving in our communities.

    A number of the new fund donors and new members of the Legacy Society who attended the dinner also were recognized.

    The evening wrapped up with a tribute to outgoing President Gary Funk, who will spend the next year as a Senior Fellow focusing on the Rural Schools Partnership and assisting with the transition. Longtime friends and colleagues Bill Putnam, Rob Baird and Arthur Mallory, peppering their comments with some light ribbing, talked about his impact on the CFO and Ozarks communities.

   Incoming President Brian Fogle presented Funk with a $21,000 “big check” and announced the creation of the “Gary Funk Running Jenny Fund for Rural Schools” in honor of his 11 years of service to the Community Foundation.

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