Coover Grants Award $125,500 to 13 Schools

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Commerce Trust Company awarded $100,500 in Coover grants for school-based projects including local ecology studies, visiting artists, history preservation, energy efficiency, and an on-campus store to teach job skills to special-needs students.

The grants from the CFO’s Rural Schools Partnership were awarded at the recent Rural Schools Rendezvous at the Thomasville Community Center. They are funded through a long-standing partnership with the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Regional Grantmaking Program of Commerce Trust Company.

The Coover Place-Based Education grantmaking program is made possible by the generosity of the late Mrs. Coover, a longtime Commerce Bank employee, who established the Foundation in honor of her husband. Since its inception in 1992, the Coover Charitable Grantmaking program has awarded about $3.3 million to communities and schools across central and southern Missouri.

“If Mrs. Coover could only see the impact her generosity is having on our region, she would be amazed,” said Jill Reynolds, vice president at Commerce Trust Company and incoming president of the CFO Board of Directors.

The grants were awarded to the following schools during the RSP’s annual Rural Schools Rendezvous in Thomasville, Mo., on April 26.

  • Placeworks Art Initiative: $20,000 to allow teaching artists to visit regional schools to create art projects that complement other curriculum areas.
  • GLADE Mentor Development Program: $15,000 to use its existing field research class at Logan-Rogersville to create a framework to mentor environmental educators at other schools for student conservation projects.
  • Nixa-Summit Intermediate: $7,100 for the Gardening’s Rich Opportunities (GRO) program where students in gardening, science and recycling clubs will transform a patch of land into a productive garden.
  • Lockwood:  $15,000 to create an outdoor classroom at the South Park to study the ecology and preservation of local prairieland.
  • Eminence: $15,000 for digital storytelling program to archive local history and recount historical events in the Shannon County area.
  • Dallas County R-1: $15,000 to create the “Bison Bistro,” an on-campus store that will offer job-training skills for special-needs students.
  • Aurora Youth Empowerment Project: $3,400 for students to research well-known local history characters to create live storytelling projects and develop a fall fundraiser for the youth philanthropy group’s grantmaking fund.
  • Purdy: $11,000 for Purdy Recycling Club to install a 3.5KW solar power panel on the recycling center’s roof to zero out monthly utility costs.

In addition, five schools – Bakersfield, Thayer, Ava, Dora and Hartville – were awarded $5,000 Coover grants to participate in the Place-Based Institute hosted by the RSP and the Rural School and Community Trust in late May at the Rural Education Center on the MSU-West Plains campus.