More than 60 CFO affiliate presidents and board members attending today’s annual conference in Springfield were encouraged to think expansively about the leadership and resource development roles they can offer as anchors in their communities.
They shared stories of successful collaborations fostered through listening to their communities and convening the right people to accomplish shared goals. Greater Seymour Community Foundation founder and board member Ron Geidd recalled how the affiliate led a Seymour 2026 long-range planning process that uncovered a serious concern among residents that the frequently used train tracks through the center of town cut off access to the fire department when trains rolled through. That led to construction of a second fire station on the other side of the tracks to allay those fears.
A larger affiliate, the Joplin-based Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, used a recent grant cycle for tornado recovery to encourage a number of groups to collaborate on one application to fund much-needed affordable housing, and that coalition received CFSWMO’s largest grant ever of $1.5 million.
CFO President Brian Fogle said it’s not easy work, nor does it promise quick results. But offering community foundations as “safe spaces” to convene multiple stakeholders on community issues will lead to more effective grantmaking, and produce stronger results to build new assets.