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CFO and Commerce Trust Fund Award $321,000 to Fight Rural Poverty And Fund Education Programs

Matt Campanelli

Imagine attending a school district with a total enrollment of 42 students and a playground that hasn’t seen much of an update since 1954. This is one of many examples of why organizations applied for a Coover Regional Grant through the  Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

CFO partnered with Commerce Trust Fund to award 21 organizations with the grants. Grants ranged from $4,000 to $19,000.

Grants were awarded for projects like renovating the ventilation hood in a school cafeteria kitchen to scholarships to help needy families send their kids to summer programs.

There were 101 proposals that totaled $1.2 million in funding.

Bridget Dierks, vice president of programs at CFO, said the grants will allow rural communities to address their unique problems.

“I’m from a small town. I’m from Cabool. And in a small community like Cabool a $20,000 grant like we often give from Coover, that has an amazing impact on these rural places,” Dierks said.

Jill Reynolds, Commerce Trust vice president, has worked at the bank just over 10 years. She says during her banking career she has worked with charitable trust funds but none like the Coover Foundation.

“This one is just so impactful, has been (impactful) and is going to be for a long, long time,” Reynolds said.

The grants are selected by a volunteer board committee representing regional communities.

The following organizations received a Coover Grant:

About Our Kids: $19,000 to support the purchase and installation of a ventilation hood in the main kitchen of the facility and to replace aging kitchen equipment and appliances;

Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks: $15,495 to support the Summer Program Scholarship Fund for needy families in Stone and Taney County;

Care to Learn: $19,000 support the Care to Learn Clothing Closet concept in the rural school districts of Ava, Greenfield, Marionville, and Monett;

CASA of South Central Missouri: $16,100 to support the purchase of e-tablets for CASA volunteers;

DOCO Inc., Sheltered Workshop: $19,000 to support the implementation of handicap accessibility in the Ava-based sheltered workshop for its disabled employees;

Eastern Jasper County Laubach Literacy Action/Carthage Family Literacy Council: $15,000 to support an early literacy program which counsels new parents on the benefits of reading to their child beginning at birth;

Hudson School District/Hudson PTO: $15,000 to support the purchase and installation of a new playground for the school and community;

Lake Area Big Brothers Big Sisters: $9,750 to support the organization’s school based mentoring program;

Oregon County Long Term Recovery Committee: $11,355 to support the work of the committee in its long-term efforts to return Thomasville and Oregon County residents to their homes after historic flooding in 2017;

Ozark Greenways: $19,000 to stabilize the Coates Branch stream bank and to continue the work of the Rail Trail Preservation Project;

Ozark Trails Council, Inc.: $15,325 to create a more welcoming, comfortable space for campers of all abilities and their families by providing a handicap accessible space;

Polk County Health Center: $19,000 to build a coordinated, community-wide effort to address issues related to opioid abuse and misuse in Polk County through prevention, intervention, and treatment;

Ripley County Caring Community Partnership: $8,365 to support programming, which assists individuals in preparing to take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and to attend online college courses;

St. James Caring Center: $19,000 to improve and increase frozen and shelf-stable food storage at their new senior center and food pantry facility;

The Community Partnership (Rolla): $10,310 for the Early Care and Education program, providing CPR and first aid certification classes, cots and cribs, first-aid kits, and other safety items for early childhood centers;

Whole Kids Outreach: $15,000 to support a nurse, which will provide approximately 350 home visits to 75 families with at-risk newborns living in six impoverished counties in southwest/south central Missouri;

Youth Volunteer Corps: $4,300 to launch the YVC – Joplin, which will plan, lead, and execute four weeks of community service projects in Joplin.

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