Community Foundations

Community Foundations

Local assets for local solutions

A rural community foundation is a place where caring people and needed organizations can come together. It builds both social and economic capital, and it nurtures the collaborative work of nonprofits, churches, schools, and local philanthropists. A community foundation essentially serves as a platform for the common good.

At its most practical, community foundation work includes asset development, community grantmaking, collaborative leadership and planned giving. At its most inspirational, a rural community foundation can transform a small town or region.

Consider the case of Seymour, Missouri, an Ozarks community with a population of just under 2,000 and a poverty rate of nearly 20%. Hardly a bastion of affluence, Seymour is a working class community with its own public school system, a locally-owned bank, and an interesting history as an old railroad stop. Ron Giedd (pictured above), a retired university professor, established the Greater Seymour Area Foundation (GASF) in 1998, and its success has been exemplary. Since it fledgling start, GSAF has amassed more than $1.6 million is total assets, established more than 40 funds, granted back nearly $550,000 to various public causes, and maintained a Youth Empowerment Project that has introduced civic leadership to scores of high school students.

Not all small communities will be as successful as Seymour, but the opportunities for resource development and meaningful collaboration are too good to pass up. To learn more about Seymour’s community foundation and view of short film on their story, click here.

If you would like more information on the community foundation “movement” or learn more about how rural community foundations can support public education, please contact us at info@ruralschoolscollaborative.org.

We are pleased to work with the following community foundations: