Rural Schools Partnership awards $70,000 in Coover Place-Based Grants

The Rural Schools Partnership, a program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, on April 23 awarded $70,000 to six projects that promote rural education across the Ozarks.

The grants, presented at the CFO’s annual Rural Education Rendezvous at Fair Grove High School on April 23, are funded through a long-standing partnership with the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Regional Grantmaking Program of The Commerce Trust Company.

The goal of this grant cycle is to promote the principles of place-based education, which encourages schools to be engaged with the rural communities they anchor.

The grants were awarded to:

  • Placeworks Art Outreach: $32,500 to provide free teaching artists who go to rural schools and work with teachers on integrating art into cross-curricular projects, as well as bring rural students to the Springfield Art Museum.
  • Laclede County R-1: $9,457 for a research project to tie local Conway history into a larger context of American history.
  • Dallas County R-II:  $10,000 to start the Mallory Conservation Club to heighten student awareness of natural resources.
  • Koshkonong School: $10,000 for a “Mystery Museum” project to help preserve Koshkonong’s history.
  • Willow Springs School District: $3,000 to create a “Bears Closet” program to offer hygiene products and clothing to students who earn “Bear Bucks” for classroom performance or good deeds.
  • Skyline R-II school:  $5,043 for its 1:1 Technology Initiative to provide more laptop computers for students for in-depth career exploration and also offer access to the community.

The program is made possible by the generosity of the late Mrs. Coover, a longtime Commerce Bank employee, who established the Foundation in honor of her husband. Since its inception in 1992, the Coover Charitable Grantmaking program has awarded about $3.57 million to communities and schools across central and southern Missouri.

“We are delighted that these grants can fill funding gaps for school districts so students can learn and engage with their communities,” said Jill Reynolds, vice president at The Commerce Trust Company and member of the CFO’s Board of Directors. “Making these connections between schools and communities achieves our goals for place-based education.”