Current Initiatives

Ozarks Empowerment Project

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks recognizes that non-profit agencies, school partners and our network of regional affiliates are the impetus for much of the good and important work that happens in our region. Yet, we know both our non-profit and affiliate partners struggle with resource development, training and capacity for growth.

In response, the CFO is launching the Ozarks Empowerment Project, a series of initiatives to build stronger agencies and stronger communities across the Ozarks.

Please click here to learn more.

Planned Giving Initiative

Planned Giving: A Conversation with Bill Putnam (2011)

Please enjoy a short video by CFO Fiscal Year 2010 Chairman Tom Prater on CFO’s Planned Giving Initiative.

Tom Prater’s Message from CFO from CF Ozarks on Vimeo.

For more information on the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ planned giving initiative, see our Planned Giving page.

Rural Schools Partnership

Schools play a critical role in the well-being of small communities and towns that serve as rural hubs, providing a focal point of activity, a sense of civic pride, and a reason for families to stay in place. Schools are an integral thread in the community fabric; they provide a sense of purpose. Recognizing the overarching importance of schools to rural development, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ board of directors has launched the Rural Schools Partnership, a comprehensive program to strengthen small school districts. The Rural Schools Partnership resulted from a year-long planning process involving CFO’s regional committee, public school leaders, affiliated foundation leadership, donors, and area business people. The Rural Schools Partnership strengthens rural schools through the development of alternative resources, promoting collaboration and partnerships, and supporting place-based education strategies. Read more about the project on the Rural Schools Partnership site.

Arts Programming Sustainability Initiative (APSI)

Arts_LogoThe APSI program is an effort led by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to help sustain the arts in our community. This program has several facets, including the Stand up for the Arts planned giving campaign and the Arts in Action festival.  Arts in Action: The 10 Weeks Festival was conceived by area art organizations and universities to bring Springfield’s cultural offerings under one brand to raise money for arts in education and basic needs for children in Springfield Public Schools.  Read more.

Mission-Related Investment Program and Cultural Investment Fund

The CFO Board of Directors in 2009 approved committing up to 2 percent of assets to community investment through low-interest loans when conventional financing sources are not available. This program represents the CFO’s commitment to the “double-bottom line” of investing in enterprises that produce both financial and social returns for Ozarks communities, instead of investing assets solely in financial markets.

For more information on the Mission-Related Investment Program, e-mail CFO President Brian Fogle, or call (417) 864-6199.

A component of this program is the Cultural Investment Fund, which will offer loans of $1,000 to $20,000 to non-profit groups to help cover the down-payment costs associated with booking major performers, shows or exhibits. The Cultural Investment Fund guidelines explain the program in more detail; interested non-profit groups can apply online.

Previous Initiatives

Harry Cooper Supply Company Campaign for the Ozarks

The second phase of the Harry Cooper Supply Company Campaign for the Ozarks was completed in 2011. A total of 26 southern Missouri rural schools received nearly $1 million from generous donors and the Harry Cooper Supply Company challenge grant funds  to build long-term sustainability for these districts. The districts include: Alton, Aurora, Ava, Bolivar, Bradleyville, Cassville, Dallas County, Dora, Eminence, Fair Grove, Fairview, Gainesville, Hermann, Hollister, Houston, Lockwood, Logan-Rogersville, Monett, Nixa, Reeds Spring, Seymour, Valle, Warsaw, Weaubleau, West Plains and Willard.

This second phase of the Harry Cooper Supply Company Campaign for the Ozarks focused on rural schools on the principle that successful rural schools and communities are intertwined in creating economic development to benefit all of their residents.

Phase I, which began in 2008, focused on building and strengthening the community-based philanthropy efforts of the CFO’s regional affiliate community foundations. The Cooper Campaign made available matching funds made possible by the generosity of the Harry Cooper Supply Company. Read more in the archived stories about the Cooper Campaign.

Stewardship Ozarks Initiative

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks focused on the sustainability of conservation and environmental non-profit groups in an initiative that ran from 2007 to 2010. The Stewardship Ozarks Initiative was an effort to strengthen regional organizations that are committed to conservation efforts in the Missouri Ozarks.  Read more.

ECHO Project

Funded through a $1 million CFO grant, the five-year ECHO (Enhancing Children’s Healthy Opportunities) Project brought together Burrell Behavioral Health, CFO, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, MSU, and the Springfield Public Schools in a collaborative effort to promote childhood resiliency. The project, which concluded in 2011, served two Springfield elementary schools, Campbell and Robberson, each with a significant population of at-risk students. Read more.

Grantmakers’ Challenge for Children

In January 2011, the CFO marked the conclusion of the five-year Grantmakers Challenge for Children, which began in response to the 2004, 2005 and 2007 Community Focus reports for Springfield and Greene County. The Challenge focused about $22 million toward the reports’ red-flag issues for children in our community. The 2004 report stated, “Overcoming these pressing challenges will ultimately shape the future of Springfield and Greene County.” Read more.