The 2011 Community Focus Report for Springfield-Greene County, released today, provides a comprehensive review of successes and challenges defined as “blue ribbons” and “red flags” in areas such as health and human services, education, business and quality-of-life issues. The 2011 Report is the sixth since the publication started in 2004. It is available online at www.springfieldcommunityfocus.org.
The funders for this effort is comprised of: the Community Foundation of the Ozarks; the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce; the Springfield-Greene County Library District; the Junior League of Springfield; and United Way of the Ozarks. This coalition formed after a community leadership visit to Lexington, Ky., where the community used a similar benchmarking report to build consensus on community priorities.
This year’s report – the first to include the impact of the “Great Recession” – indicates that after several years of making headway on “red-flag” issues, improvements have slowed and/or lost ground as a result of the economic slowdown.
The goal of the bi-annual report is to create consensus around high-priority issues in Springfield-Greene County to use in developing resources and putting emphasis on community challenges. Examples of this include:
• The creation of Isabel’s House Crisis Nursery is a direct result of a community need that was identified in the Community Focus Report that became a priority for the Junior League of Springfield.
• The Grantmaker’s Challenge for Children was a five-year effort, facilitated by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, to build philanthropic resources for children’s issues emerging from Community Focus reports. When it ended in December 2010, about 35 grantmakers had invested about $22 million to support services that addressed “red-flag” issues affecting children’s services.
• The Community Foundation of the Ozarks created the “Red-Flag Response” challenge grants in 2009 to support non-profit agencies with matching-grant funds to help sustain their operations through the recession. Since 2009, these matching grants have raised more than $1.6 million for non-profit sustainability, with another $125,000 in competitive red-flag response matching grants available for FY12.
This year’s Community Focus release was held in conjunction with the Junior League’s Children’s Summit in the O’Reilly Family Event Center at Drury University. The Summit featured a panel of community leaders, including state Sen. Bob Dixon, Rep. Sara Lampe, Springfield City Manager Greg Burris, Greene County Commissioner Roseann Bentley, and News-Leader Executive Editor David Stoeffler.
The panel was moderated by Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Jim Anderson. The panel discussed the various ways the Community Focus has influenced Springfield-Greene County, and more specifically the impact of red-flag issues on our children.