UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Joplin’s Story Shared at Annual Luncheon

Update 8/27: We now have video of Dr. CJ Huff’s presentation at the Aug. 9 Agency Partners Luncheon. For time and logistical reasons we have not uploaded the entire speech, but we have pulled out three sections we feel conveys the power and intent of his message.

The first, embedded below, talks about the immediate aftermath of the storm, what he saw in the storm-wrecked city, and his first steps during the chaos that followed (quality may be a little better by clicking through to Vimeo).

At CFO’s Vimeo page you can watch the second (Planning) and third (Lessons) segments of his speech, both a bit longer at about nine minutes each.

On Thursday, Aug. 9, the Community Foundation held its annual Agency Partners luncheon. The event is designed as a once-a-year get-together to recognize new partners, new funds opened by existing partners, and to share what nonprofits can expect from the CFO during the coming year, from programming to grants opportunities and more.

But this year’s event, held at the sparkling new White River Conference Center, adjacent to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, featured a heaping dose of inspiration as well.

Joplin Public Schools Superintendent C.J. Huff keynoted the event, and for more 30 minutes held the crowd in thrall with the story of his district’s emergence from the disaster of the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado that leveled much of the city. He shared where he was during the storm, how he and district leaders responded in the hours and days that followed, and the sense of community–and eventually euphoria–that followed as they raced toward their goal of opening school (real school, not “card tables somewhere,” as Huff explained) on time, a mere 86 days after the storm.

The CFO thanks Dr. Huff for his time, his work and his candor in speaking with our nonprofit Agency Partners. It was a luncheon none of us will soon forget.

In addition, the day’s festivities included the awarding of $10,000 in Agency Partner Endowment-Building grants. This year 11 agencies from across southern Missouri shared the pool for a variety of projects designed to build capacity and awareness for the work they do.

The recipients of Endowment-Building grants were:

The Arc of the Ozarks: $500 to support the production of an eight-minute video to showcase the organization’s work and increase awareness of the long term goals of the organization. This video will be used for community awareness at fairs, special events, and workshops.

Least of These Food Pantry (Christian County): $1,000 to develop long term donor relationships through a planned giving program as well as sponsorship programs for local businesses.  Least of These will use dollars to support promotional materials for this sustainability campaign as well as the creation of videos to be used at events.

Watershed Committee of the Ozarks: $1,000 to support the WCO’s work in building their endowment fund at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks by contacting donors to the recently completed Watershed Center project and asking for a one year extension of their gift commitments.

Polk County House of Hope: $!,000 for the Hope for Tomorrow endowment fund through the development of online marketing and awareness efforts.

Springfield Urban Agricultural Coalition: $500, to help market their DIRT project more effectively and build long term donors through the program.  This will include a fundraiser event, educational signage in the gardens, and printed materials for fundraisers and donor development opportunities.

Houston Education Foundation: $1,000 to expand community and alumni knowledge of the Foundation and their work for the Houston School District and build long term donors.  The grant will support brochures and other marketing materials.

Lost and Found Grief Center: $1,500 to support efforts to build endowment and long term assets through their Circle of Friends program as well as a planned giving mailing effort.  This grant will help fund a number of donor cards, post cards, and handouts.

The Library Foundation of Springfield-Greene County Library: $1,000 to build a stronger relationship with elderly patrons with these grantmaking dollars.  They will expand upon the Walking Books Program, which provides book delivery to elderly patrons.  Marketing to support this Outreach Endowment Fund will include brochures, pocket folders, and other marketing materials.

Cabool Development Foundation: $1,000 to to create greater public awareness of their organization’s work in the community through website development and marketing of community activities and donor opportunities.  This effort will keep business and community leaders better aware of the work the Foundation does for the region.

Cents of Pride: $1,000 to support marketing development projects to bring better awareness to their organization.  This will include website development, newsletter creation, and brochures about the organization.

Carthage Area United Way: $500 to support their “Leave a Legacy” campaign efforts to build their endowment fund. This program will focus on building relationships with donors and working toward bequest gifts.