Affiliate Appreciation Conference 2019

Affiliate Appreciation Conference 2019 Logo

SAVE THE DATE: The Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ 2019 Affiliate Appreciation Conference will be held Friday, Nov. 8 at the Christopher S. Bond Learning Center at the Darr Agricultural Center in Springfield.

If you have questions regarding the conference, please contact Ashley Silva at

About Our Speaker

Ben Winchester portraitWe are proud to welcome Benjamin Winchester, a rural sociologist for the University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Community Vitality. Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 20 years. He lives in St. Cloud, Minn., with his wife and two children. He conducts applied research on economic, social and demographic topics surrounding a theme of “rewriting the rural narrative” that are vital to rural America.

The first research topic documents “newcomers” — the influx of 30–49 year old people — to identify the social and economic opportunities of this migration. The second involves the analysis of rural community leadership, specifically examining the community-wide requirements to “keep the town running” through the public and nonprofit sector. The third is the impact of baby-boomer retirements on the rural housing supply. These positive trends show that rural communities have a resilience of which we should be proud.

Winchester received his B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Minnesota-Morris (1995) and M.S. in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2001). He helped establish the Center for Small Towns, an outreach and engagement program at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and specializes in community development, demographic analysis, data visualization and moving communities away from “anecdata.”

Hotel Reservations

The CFO has a block of rooms at University Plaza Hotel available for a discounted rate. Click here to make a reservation, or call the hotel directly at (417) 522-1113 and reference Community of the Ozarks to reserve a room in the block at a discounted rate.