CFO celebrates 45th anniversary with grants, videos, milestones

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is celebrating its 45th anniversary this month by awarding special one-time grants and marking several key milestones achieved this year.

The 2018 milestones celebrated at the annual donor dinner on June 20 include:

  • Reaching $350 million in total grants and distributions since the CFO’s inception in 1973;
  • Exceeding $5 million in grants made through the Coover Charitable Grantmaking Program, a partnership with the Commerce Trust Co.
  • Marking the 25th anniversary of the CFO’s affiliate network, now grown to 49 cities, counties or regions since the Nixa Community Foundation became the first affiliate in 1973.

Special $4,500 anniversary grants were awarded to the Springfield and Regional winners of the CFO’s 45-Second Video Challenge. The winning entries were The Springfield-Greene County Library Foundation and Carl Junction R-1 Schools.

The grant recipients – representing agencies serving Springfield and the CFO’s rural service region, respectively – were chosen by CFO committee following a round of public voting that narrowed each category to three finalists. Overall, nearly 8,000 votes were cast for the 21 entrants, with more than 37,000 contest page views. In addition, the CFO held a drawing at the annual dinner for 10 grants of $450 each that recipients will designate to a nonprofit organization of their choice.

The 45th anniversary video, produced by Brandon Goodwin of Springfield-based Blend Studio, chronicles the CFO’s founding by business and civic leaders in 1973 and its growth into what it is today: A regional public charitable foundation with assets of nearly $300 million serving donors, nonprofits and schools in Springfield and 49 affiliates cities, counties and regions across southern Missouri.

All three videos – the two 45-Second Video Grant Challenge winners and the CFO’s anniversary video – can be viewed online at

“In 1973, a group of passionate visionaries asked local banks to help start a nonprofit community foundation. Fifteen banks gave $100 each as a vote of confidence in this new concept. That initial $1,500 investment has resulted in $350 million given back to the Ozarks in grants and distributions over the past 45 years,” says CFO President Brian Fogle. “Behind each dollar is a hungry child fed, a cancer patient’s financial stress relieved, arts enhancing the quality of life, and many other stories of lives enhanced from the generosity of others. I simply can’t imagine a better return on investment than that.”

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks was established on June 18, 1973 with 15 Springfield banks providing an initial investment of $100 each. The CFO’s founding board members were: Hearld R. Ambler; James S. Buckner, Jr.; John M. Carnahan, Jr.; Charles A. Fuller, Jr.; Roger L. Garrison; Fred L. Hall; Horace S. Haseltine; Gary L. Lipscomb; Vincent Tyndall; C. Wallace Walter; and R. Barnes Whitlock.

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