Taney County Celebrates 10 Years with Grant for Tornado Relief

The Community Foundation of  Taney County celebrated its 10th anniversary by doing what community foundations do best – making grants to make life better for the residents where they live.

The banquet at Forsyth High School started off with CF of TC President Doug Jordan making a $5,000 grant to Pastor Tom Willcox and the Branson area COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) to provide relief services to residents still reeling from the Leap Day tornado.

Willcox, pastor at the Branson First Presbyterian Church who accepted on behalf of COAD, said about 200 residents who lived in weekly rental units have been faced with deposits for new rental housing, utility costs, transportation costs, and rental rates that have gone up as much as 35 percent earlier than the usual summer tourism season increases.

“The end result, as you all know, is there are folks who are hurting,” he said. “Can we keep people from losing their jobs this week, get them to work this week, help them eat this week.”

After the presentation, Jordan and first President Margie Berry  reviewed the history of what started as the Forsyth Community Foundation in 2002 and later expanded to cover all of Taney County. Jordan described the evolution of grantmaking funds for both Forsyth and Branson and the various ways people can give back to the area through their estate planning or streamlining their annual charitable giving with a Family and Community Fund.

Margie Berry underscored the growth with the impressive statistics of  where the foundation stands today – 51 funds with $3.87 million in assets; and 711 grants and distributions totaling $1.06 million, including $476,766 in scholarships.

“We have made a difference in 10 years,” said Berry, also a member of CFO’s Board of Directors.

With that, board member Bill Jones looked ahead to the next 10 years and beyond.

“What we need you to do is take this message and carry it to someone else,” Jones said. “Over the next 10 years, what can we do? What kind of impact can we have in our communities?”

The leaders ended with a challenge; one they seeded with $2,000 to match donations made to honor the Community Foundation of Taney County’s 10 years. CFO President Brian Fogle said the stories shared about several of the new funds and projects accomplished over the years further illustrate what community foundations do best.

“It’s the stories behind your $1 million in assets; the scholarship that helped a student go to school,” he said. “You are helping change lives with every dollar.”