Randy Russell Named 2012 Humanitarian

(From the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce)

In recognition of a career championing children, the arts, and community needs served through philanthropic grantmaking, the 2012 Humanitarian honor will be awarded to longtime educator and artist Randy Russell.

Russell, who worked at Springfield Public Schools for 28 years before beginning a second career at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, will receive the 2012 Humanitarian Award at a Dec. 6 luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel.

The Humanitarian Award was founded in 1990 by Springfield donor Jewell Thompson Schweitzer to honor individuals in our region who place service to others as the primary motivating force in their lives. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce organizes a committee to review nominations and select the annual recipient.

The Junior League of Springfield nominated Russell for his commitment to education as both an art teacher and staff member at SPS, where his accomplishments included turning the district’s Partners in Education program into a national model for businesses adopting schools. He continues to volunteer weekly at Watkins Elementary School, and serves on a number of civic committees working to improve the lives of children in the Ozarks.

A working artist himself, Russell has volunteered countless hours for Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Regional Arts Council, First Night, and Urban Districts Alliance. He also was instrumental in creating Springfield’s initial Cultural Plan, a strategic plan focused on sustaining and promoting local arts. He received the annual Ozzie Award for service to the arts in 1992.

Russell joined the CFO in 2003 and now serves as senior program officer managing the CFO’s competitive grantmaking programs. He also administers the field-of-interest grants, where donors support specific types of needs such as assistance for families of children affected by cancer, orthodontic treatments for children, and end-of-life wishes for seniors. While the CFO manages the fund established by Mrs. Schweitzer to support the Humanitarian award, the CFO staff does not participate in the selection process for the award.

Tickets for the luncheon at noon on Thursday, Dec. 6 are available. The cost is $20 per person. For information, please contact Travis Liles at (417) 864-6199 or e-mail tliles@cfozarks.org.

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