CFO, Commerce Trust award $250,000 in Coover Grants to rural nonprofits

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Company, presented grants totaling $250,000 on Tuesday, April 11. The grants were awarded to 19 organizations focused on serving rural areas across central and southern Missouri.

This year’s grant recipients were selected from among 122 proposals that totaled $1.775 million in requested funding. The 2017 grant awards went to agencies working on poverty, health, education, community development, and arts issues. Representatives of the agencies receiving the grants made comments about the needs they are addressing in their communities.

These grants are made possible through the generosity of the late Julia Dorothy Coover, who worked for Commerce Bank for 30 years. She established the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in 1992 to honor her husband’s memory. Since then, the Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded about $4.9 million in grants across the Ozarks.

“We are so pleased to recognize and assist these organizations that are doing outstanding work to benefit our regional communities,” Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds said. “Mrs. Coover would be so proud to see the impact she and her husband have made for so many years now through their generous legacy.”

The 2017 Coover Regional grant recipients are:

  • Aurora High School Youth Empowerment Project: $8,000 from Coover Regional and $8,000 from the Rural Schools Partnership Coover Placed-Based Grant Program (total of $16,000) to create an interactive place for research, storytelling, preservation, history, and art at the Houn’ Dawg Alumni and Outreach Center.
  • Barton County Good Samaritan: $20,000 to rewire the Lamar-based food pantry and thrift store to improve the safety and functionality of the building.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri: $10,830 to implement the Power Hour: Making Minutes Count program in the Joplin facility. This program helps children ages 6-18 with homework while at the club.
  • Children’s Smile Center: $20,000 to purchase a digital panoramic x-ray machine to serve children and pregnant women from low-income families in Christian, Stone, Taney, Dade, Barry, and Lawrence counties.
  • Christian Action Ministries: $10,000 to purchase nutritious foods for Taney County families.
  • City of Belle, Missouri: $12,796.99 to purchase benches, trash receptacles, bike racks, and a community information message center as part of the “Downtown Beautification Project” in the city’s historic business district.
  • Community Senior Citizens, Inc.: $16,233.04 to purchase a new walk-in freezer and walk-in cooler at the Qulin Nutrition Center in Butler County.
  • Doniphan Vitality: $17,575 for repairs and upgrades for a community-organized arts and culture program providing free events and educational opportunities in Ripley County.
  • Golden Harvest Days: $11,520 for improvements to baseball fields, fencing, playground areas, and the cook shack in Golden City, and to support children’s activities at annual community events.
  • Good Samaritan Care Clinic: $8,353.20 to support medical and dispensary services at the Mountain View-based clinic, which provides medical and dental care to uninsured and low-income citizens in south central Missouri.
  • Kaleidoscope Discovery Center: $18,627.12 for robotics experiences and STEM programming for 1,000 rural community children ages 6-14 in the Rolla region.
  • Newborns in Need: $12,730 to supply diapers, bottles, socks, shampoo, books, and other items not already made by Newborns in Need volunteers for individuals and agencies outside of Greene County.
  • Taney County Health Department: $5,000 for Safe to Sleep Kits and Safe to Sleep education for residents of Taney County.
  • Taneyhills Community Library: $15,509.65 to upgrade public-access computers, seating, and privacy for library users in Branson.
  • The Master’s Craftsmen: $19,800 to improve the employability of young men between the ages of 18 and 24 by teaching technical skills in carpentry and developing and encouraging personal character traits needed to succeed in the workplace.
  • United Cancer Assistance: $5,000 to provide 1,500 transports of cancer patients to and from treatment in the Poplar Bluff and southeast Missouri region.
  • WINGS Refuge: $10,550 for repairs to the Unique Boutique Thrift Store in Osceola, which supports the ARC of Hope Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter in El Dorado Springs.
  • Willow Springs School District: $7,475 for a mobile computer lab for elementary students.
  • Women’s Crisis Center of Taney County, Inc.: $20,000 for the Safety to Self Sufficiency program, designed to help domestic abuse survivors transition from shelter into safe, affordable housing.

The grants are selected by a volunteer board committee representing regional communities, chaired by Reynolds. Other members included: Richard Cavender, Rolla; Rob Foster, Marshfield; Brian Hammons, Stockton; Mitch Holmes, Branson; Jim Holt, Reeds Spring; Randy Howard, Aurora; Karen Miller, Ozark; Chris Neale, Hermann; and Robin Walker, Monett.