Community Foundations

On Behalf of the Common Good

A rural community foundation is a place where caring people and needed organizations can come together. It is all about developing local assets for local solutions.

Ron Giedd, Founder, Greater Area Seymour Foundation

“At its most inspirational, a community foundation can transform a small town or community.”

Our Community Foundation Partners Respond to Covid-19

The Rural Schools Collaborative is committed to the concept of rural philanthropy, and the work of our community foundation partners clearly illustrates why this is so important to small towns and rural places. The importance of strong public foundations has never been greater than during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

We invite you to learn how Minnesota's West Central Initiative, Missouri's Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and the Galesburg Community Foundation have been responding to this public health challenge.

Seymour, Missouri: A Case Study

Dr. Ron Giedd likes to tell people how he and his wife, Joanne, moved to Seymour, Missouri, in 1992 after firing a dart at a United States map.

The story is pure malarkey, but coming from the usually disheveled and grinning Giedd, his eyes twinkling, you are almost ready to buy it. Giedd is one of our favorite things about Seymour, along with its wonderful local newspaper, the Webster County Citizen. He tries hard to be a “character,” but he is in reality an extremely intelligent and thoughtful retired physics professor from the University of Connecticut, who moved to this small Ozarks’ community of 2,000 because of nearby relatives.

Giedd and the Greater Area Seymour Foundation are an inspiration to every small community. That’s why Giedd, current GSAF President Janice Blankenship, and other board and community members are featured in a new video the CFO produced to show that, yes, philanthropy can be very successful even in small communities that don’t have a lot of wealthy family or institutional benefactors.

Read the Seymour Story.

Keeping the Beat for Rural Philanthropy in North Dakota

The North Dakota Community Foundation (NDCF) is a national leader in regional philanthropy, and the organization is committed to supporting public education throughout what is largely a rural state. As part of our partnership with our North Dakota Hub partners, the North Dakota Small Organized Schools, we interviewed Kevin Dvorak, NDCF President and CEO.

Read more of this instructive interview on the important role of a regional community foundation.

Taking the Long View: Minnesota's West Central Initiative

According to Wendy Merrick, WCI program director, west central Minnesota is served by 36 school districts. Fifteen of these school districts have established their own charitable fund with WCI, or are supported by a portion of a WCI "component fund." Quite a few other schools in the area have established their own school foundations as well.

The Lake Park Audubon Legacy Foundation is one of these forward-thinking, school-centered component funds. In cooperation with the Lake Park Audubon School and the local PTO, the LPA Legacy Foundation helps provide funds for projects and items that often don’t make it on this small school's budget. One grant helped purchase a new digital piano for the elementary school music department, replacing a nearly 15 year-old instrument.

Learn more on this good work.

RSC has been privileged to work with the following community foundations:

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.