Gary Funk is an ex-officio member of the Rural Schools Collaborative board of directors and currently serves as the organization's director. Gary is the former President of the Missouri-based Community Foundation of the Ozarks. In 2013 he and his wife, Jana, moved to a small farm near Cambridge, Wisconsin, where they have been engaged in conservation work and community philanthropy.
Funk began working with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in 1999, and during his tenure the Foundation experienced wonderful growth in total assets and annual grant making. Gary attributes this success to generous donors, committed board members, and a group of hard-working colleagues, who were second to none!
In addition, the Foundation became a rural philanthropy innovator with the establishment of more than 40 affiliated community foundations, a 400-agency nonprofit capacity building program, and the Stewardship Ozarks conservation initiative. In 2009 the Foundation launched the Rural Schools Partnership, an effort dedicated to school-centered philanthropy, place-based education, and the recruitment, preparation, and retention of outstanding rural teachers. This last element, the Ozarks Teacher Corps, has been featured by national media such as Education Week, National Public Radio, and USA Today.
Prior to his work with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Funk spent two decades in public and higher education as a teacher, professor, and administrator. While at Missouri State University, he co-founded the Southwestern Bell Literacy Center, the Storefront School for at-risk children, and the Center for Outstanding Schools. He has authored and co-authored several books and articles on educational issues.
Gary and Jana have two children, Megan and Thomas, who work in New Jersey and Ohio, respectively.