The Springfield Funders Forum, a group of private philanthropists convened by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, today donated $50,000 to Springfield Public Schools to continue the Healthy Half Pints program that provides an afternoon milk break to kids at several elementary schools.
The donation was made possible by a $25,000 challenge grant from the Musgrave Foundation that was matched dollar for dollar by several private and family foundations and individual donors.
The Springfield Funders Forum launched Healthy Half Pints as a pilot project last spring at four elementary schools. It provides an afternoon milk break to kindergarten and first graders, some of whom eat lunch as early as 10:30 a.m. The schools had at least 50 percent of their students eligible for free or reduced- price lunch, but did not have an afternoon snack program.
The project was successful in keeping kids attentive and ready to learn. The afternoon milk break also provided additional nutrition for kids who may return to food-insecure homes after school.
“Ensuring that students make it through the day without the distraction of hunger maximizes opportunities for teaching and learning,” SPS Superintendent Dr. Norm Ridder said.
Today’s donation will support Healthy Half Pints for two years and it expanded to kindergartners and first graders at six schools this semester: Delaware, Sunshine, Mark Twain, Pittman, Sherwood and Horace Mann.
“BKD prides itself on being a good corporate citizen,” Managing Partner John Wanamaker said when the BKD Foundation donated $6,000 to support the challenge grant. “We receive a lot of requests for support and try to help when we can. In this case, it’s hard to say no to a healthy afternoon snack for children in need. And, because you had a funding match, it made it an even better fit to leverage the dollars to go farther and serve more children.”
CFO Board Chair Jill Reynolds, vice president at Commerce Trust, said the project represents the power of collaboration among local philanthropists.
“With schools facing tight resources, this is a creative solution