The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Company, presented grants totaling $320,000 this month. The grants were awarded to 16 organizations focused on serving rural areas across central and southern Missouri, as well as three projects dedicated to place-based education initiatives benefiting students in rural school districts. One of the place-based education grants was awarded to the small K-8 school district of Glenwood, which is under the leadership of superintendent Wayne Stewart and is the teaching home of Ozarks Teacher Corps alum Ashley Bradshaw. This $15,000 grant will support Glenwood's membership in the Place Network Schools, a nationwide initiative of the Teton Science Schools. Another outstanding project that received support was Placeworks, an exemplary place-based arts program that connects rural school districts with a wide variety of Ozarks artists. Under the direction of Springfield, Missouri artist-educator Kate Baird, artists work with students and teachers to produce creative and lasting public arts projects.
The 2019 Coover Regional Grant recipients were selected from among 100 proposals that totaled $1.5 million in requested funding. The awards, made Thursday, April 18, at Commerce Trust in Springfield, went to agencies working on poverty, health, education and community development issues. Representatives of the agencies receiving the grants made comments about the needs they are addressing in their communities.
These grants are made possible through the generosity of the late Julia Dorothy Coover, who worked for Commerce Bank for 30 years. She established the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in 1992 to honor her husband’s memory. Since then, the Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded about $5.7 million in grants across the Ozarks.
“We are honored to continue Mrs. Coover’s legacy through these grant programs,” said Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds. “Thanks to the foresight of her endowment nearly 30 years ago, more than 19 communities across central and southern Missouri will be positively impacted by these grants today.”
The 2019 Coover Regional grant recipients are:
- Aurora Project RISE — $20,000 to support the Reach Independence through Support and Education project to fight the cycle of poverty in Aurora
- Bonebrake-McMurtrey Foundation Ltd. — $20,000 to support the replacement of the 1880s-era roof of the Bonebrake Center in Salem
- Building Bridges — $20,000 to partner with the Workforce Investment Board to address poverty in Joplin
- Children’s Learning Center — $12,111 to improve sensory play opportunities for students at the center in Camdenton
- Clinton School District, Henry Elementary — $14,885 to create a Makerspace STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom
- Community Inter-agency Council — $20,000 to improve transportation to medical services for individuals in Howell County
- Dallas County Area YMCA — $12,986 to expand after-school and summer day camp services for older youth
- Gainesville School District — $20,000 to create a learning lab and media center area for students
- Jesus Was Homeless — $19,095 to support the Community Connections–Legal Identification effort to help homeless and impoverished individuals acquire legal identification in Branson
- Ozark Action Inc. — $20,000 to support dental-care programming through the Early Childhood Health Initiative in West Plains
- Salem Memorial District Hospital — $2,923 to support free preventative mammograms to individuals who are either low-income and/or without health insurance in the Dent County region
- SeniorAge — $19,000 to start a satellite site in the Protem area of rural Taney County
- SoutheastHEALTH Foundation — $10,000 for the Reach Out and Read Project in Cape Girardeau, which trains and supports physicians to give books to young patients and advice to parents about reading to their children
- Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center — $12,000 to support the installation of an ADA-compliant lift near the main entrance
- Sustainable Communities and Small Farms Network — $15,000 to expand efforts to provide free meals and food supplies to low-income residents of Butler County at the organization’s community center in Harviell
- West Central Missouri Community Action Agency — $20,000 to support the El Dorado Works! Program, a neighborhood-based job readiness program for El Dorado Springs and Appleton City residents
The grants are selected by a volunteer board committee representing regional communities, chaired by Jill Reynolds. Other members included: Rob Foster, Marshfield; Brian Hammons, Stockton; Jim Holt, Reeds Spring; Kathy Lasley, Cuba; Karen Miller, Ozark; Robin Morgan, West Plains; and Marvin Silliman, Lake Ozark.
The Coover Place-Based Education Grant recipients are:
- Springfield Art Museum/Placeworks — $45,000 to provide high-quality arts programming to rural schools in southwest Missouri
- Willow Springs School District — $2,000 to support the Willow Springs 150th Anniversary Project
- Glenwood R-8 School District — $15,000 to partner with Teton Science Schools to provide place-based science education for West Plains-area students and teachers
The Coover Place-Based Education Grants are selected by a volunteer board chaired by Jill Reynolds. Other members included Judy Brunner, Lindsay Haymes, Matt Hudson and Heather Landwer.
Thank you to our good partners, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, for sharing this press release with us. CFO is the national leader in rural philanthropy, and they anchor our Missouri Ozarks Hub.