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$120,000 in grants awarded Wednesday to Missouri nonprofits focused on underserved and underrepresented populations

Barbara Craker awaits her cue as a traditional dancer at a Native American powwow held at The Fairbanks in Springfield.
Jennifer Moore
Barbara Craker awaits her cue as a traditional dancer at a Native American powwow held at The Fairbanks in Springfield.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Grants are distributed by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks handed out $120,000 in grant money Wednesday to seven area nonprofits that work to improve the quality of life for underserved and underrepresented populations.

Grant recipients:

· American Indian Center in Springfield, $21,000 to support a full-time staff position and development of in-depth, Native American-friendly curriculum

· Imagine Technical Institute, $25,000 to support a vocational training program for individuals with disabilities in the Springfield/Branson area

· Lincoln School Project, $16,000 to support the renovation of the historic Lincoln School – a segregation-era one-room schoolhouse in West Plains

· Missouri State University, $20,000 for the Newcomer Family Welcome Program to support refugees and other newcomers to Springfield through quality English language instruction and advocacy for language and cultural diversity

· Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence, $6,000 to support diversity, equity and inclusion education for its staff, board, volunteers and community partners

· Ujima Language and Literacy, $24,000 to support a joint initiative with the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center to provide parental and community advocacy training.

· Unity of Springfield, $8,000 to support an inclusive crisis cold weather shelter

“These projects illustrate and celebrate the diversity of central and southern Missouri,” said Bridget Dierks, vice president of programs for the CFO, in a news release. “We’re grateful that these agencies are developing innovative solutions to include more people in our communities.”

About the Grants

The DEI Grants are funded by the CFO’s unrestricted assets and field-of-interest funds that support a board area of interest.

The grant committee’s members include Virginia Bailey, Heather Hardinger, Denise Lofton, Kathy Munzinger, Daniel Ogunyemi, Ana Ortiz, Summer Trottier and Brooke Widmar.

The Inclusion & Belonging Grant Program

Another CFO program -- the Inclusion & Belonging Grant Program -- supports smaller grant requests for projects that encourage diverse representation in community conversations, engagement and leadership across the region. CFO said about $34,000 remains available for requests of up to $3,000. Nonprofits can apply at The program is open throughout the year, with grants awarded on a rolling basis as funds are available.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.