Making a Difference

Every Other Month

Supported by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Making a Difference is a long-running series that draws upon the personal stories and voices of Ozarks residents to highlight key issues impacting our community. 

Past seasons have included stories on poverty relief, public education, mental illness and other topics important to our community. You can browse our Making a Difference archives below or at the CFO website.

Making a Difference 2020-2021: Connecting through Conversation

No one would disagree that these are tumultuous times for our country and our community. Current political and philosophical divisions have left many feeling unheard, disenfranchised and isolated. But we’re not alone, and now, perhaps more than ever, we need to find common ground and connect around the one thing we all share – our humanity. With this in mind, the theme of KSMU’s 2020-2021 Making a Difference series is “Connecting Through Conversation.”

Making a Difference: Connecting Through Conversation – a collaboration between the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and KSMU Public Radio – will feature a series of conversations between people in respectful relationships with opposing views. Why? Because we suspect conversations create a pathway to connection and may uncover more commonality than division. As a public media station, we know everyone has a story to tell and by sharing these stories, we all can contribute to an engaging and diverse cultural fabric where everyone's story matters.

Is there someone in your life that you feel doesn’t understand or empathize with your views or beliefs? Someone you admire or respect though you differ politically, racially, or philosophically? Have you felt that you are viewed as being less important to our community or society in general because you or your views are different from others? We'd like to hear from you.

KSMU Radio is looking for pairs of friends or family members who are willing to record themselves discussing an issue, view, or belief on which you disagree. We're interested in discovering how these conversations create a connection between people and offer a starting point for reconciliation.

Those interested in contributing to the Making a Difference: Connecting Through Conversation series can submit for consideration HERE

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

Ginger Ramirez was going through tough times, a few years ago. The 33 year old and her children live in Northwest Springfield, Zone 1, which has the city’s highest rate of poverty: “Oh absolutely, there was no hope.  I felt like I was deteriorating, that I was falling apart, and my whole world was crashing. I wasn’t able to work anymore because of child care expenses.  I was living off donating plasma every week, making $70.00 a week.  That was my income to raise children and make a living.”

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

"In a rural community, the hospital takes on a bigger role, than it does, I think, in larger cities. The hospital is kind of all encompassing, and is there to provide whatever help you need."

Every Child Promise / Community Partnership of the Ozarks

The Every Child Promise:  Our Community Promises to Empower Families, So That Every Child, Age Birth-Six, Has the Opportunity to Enter Schools, Ready to Learn. 

Jonathan Groves

This story has been updated to include the full 2017 CFR, which was made public Tuesday morning. 

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

In May of 2016, The Community Foundation of the Ozarks announced Marshfield, Salem, and Sarcoxie, as the first 3 Missouri communities to receive CFO’s first ever Economic Development Grants, through the Growth in the Rural Ozarks, grand program.  GRO, as it is known, is designed to promote job creation, entrepreneurship, and economic and workforce development in rural communities.  Growth in the Rural Ozarks is Co-Funded by CFO and USDA Rural Development, and ov

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Tuesday morning, May 9th at midnight, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, along with over 250 of its non profit partners across southern Missouri, will kick-off the 3rd annual GIVE OZARKS 24 hour on-line day of giving, www.giveozarks.org, and on today's Making a Difference; Stories of Hope and Help, 2 participants share their shared experience with GIVE OZARKS.  With us today is Mike Stevens, of Springfield Missouri's nonprofit Moxie Cinema, and Jarad Johnson, of Mostly Serious, which created Cause Momentum, the online giving plat

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Today on Making a Difference: Stories of Hope and Help, The Foresight and Philanthropy of Julia Dorothy Coover.

Over the past 15 years, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks has distributed more than 400 grants totaling nearly $5million from the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Commerce Bank/ Commerce Trust Company.  Mrs. Coover established this unrestricted fund, giving volunteer committees the ability to grant funds annually to needs she would have not been able to anticipate. 

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

“Sometimes you have to help the parents, to help the children.”                                                                                  

Karen Miller
Mike Smith / KSMU

Today on Making a Difference: Stories of Hope and Help, the Youth Empowerment Project, or YEP!       A youth oriented and directed program of The Community Foundation  of the Ozarks, and The Rural Schools Partnership, YEP’s mission is to  empower youth to Positively Impact Their Community Through Education, Service, Grant making, and Fundraising. 

Louise Knauer / Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Today on Making a Difference: Stories of Hope and Help, a conversation between 2 local doctors.  One is a recipient of a Community Foundation of the Ozarks/Smith-Glynn-Callaway Medical Foundation Scholarship, and recently was named to the Foundation's Board of Directors.  The other began his association with the CFO's SGCMF in 1957, and today too, serves on the Foundation's Board:  

Matt Lemmon / Community Foundation of the Ozarks

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks Celebrated its 43rd anniversary June 18th, and for this edition of Making a Difference; Stories of Hope and Help, the Foundation’s 1st  two paid employees are here to talk about their early days in the office.

Louise Knauer / Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Making a Difference; Stories of Hope and Help, is produced by Mike Smith on KSMU, with support from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Wendy Steele is Chief Executive of Generosity Matters, a professional consultancy working with clients on how to live a more generous life.  Steele also created Impact 100, which pools the resources of at least 100 women, and sometimes men, to make a transformational grant. 

Matt Lemmon / Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Making a Difference; Stories of Hope and Help, is produced in cooperation with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. 

Louise Knauer / Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Making A Difference; Stories of Hope and Help, is produced for KSMU by Mike Smith, with support from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. 

Stephanie Stenger Montgomery

Producer Mike Smith:  "Today, Lezah Stenger and her daughter Stephanie Stenger Montgomery reflect on the family's philanthropy through the Lezah Stenger Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.  Both ladies have literally led by example.   Stephanie is the current Board Chair of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, a post her mother held in 1996, and each has served the community as President of the Jr. League of Springfield.

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