Gary Funk

Gary Funk

Gary Funk has served as the director of the Rural Schools Collaborative since 2016. He was a founding board member, part of a group that came together in 2014 to plan and launch the organization.

Since its inception the RSC has grown to include ten regional hubs, more than twenty organizational partners, and a dedicated group of volunteer Advocates. Gary and his colleagues work together on mission-driven initiatives that include the Rural Teacher Corps, Place Network Schools, and Grants in Place, a cooperative venture that has awarded more than $400,000 to rural teachers for innovative place-based projects.

Gary is the former President of the Missouri-based Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and during his tenure 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 focused on 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.

Before his work with the Foundation, 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 his wife, Jana, live on a small solar-powered farmstead near Cambridge, Wisconsin. Together they garden, raise chickens, herd non-productive goats, and spoil barn cats. Their two children, Megan and Thomas, reside in Philadelphia and Wales, respectively.

Contact Gary by clicking here.

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