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Winter Kinne plans to continue the legacy left by her predecessors and bring new ideas to the role of president/CEO of the CFO

Winter Kinne, president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks
Winter Kinne, president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Kinne took over the role from Brian Fogle who recently retired.

In this segment of KSMU's Making a Difference Series, Winter Kinne talked with Michele Skalicky about her new position as president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and about the nonprofit.

What is your vision for the future of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks?

"That is a great question that I have been getting a lot of lately, and just two days ago crossed the 90 days in the new role. So, as I was sharing with you just a few seconds ago, still drinking from a fire hose. I think that it's probably easiest encapsulated in something that came out of a board planning session that we had last summer before the search for a new president and CEO had even commenced. But I agree with it wholeheartedly and used it through the interview process is moving the Community Foundation from the transactional to the transformational at the end of the day. So we rank in the top ten of community foundations in the nation for the number of transactions that come through — so gifts and contributions that come through our door and then grants and distributions that go back out. And that's really important. Every single one of those checks or transactions represents philanthropy. But how, 50 years later into Community Foundation's journey, do we get even deeper than the transactional level? And how do we really help individuals, families, donors, nonprofits, communities go from transactional to transformational? So really building a plan with that in mind."

Have you got any specific ideas that you hope to implement at this time, or are you still kind of in the planning stages?

"We're still in the planning stages. So I've been saying right now is just my opportunity to ask a lot of questions at the Community Foundation. So the staff is probably getting tired of me and all the questions right now. So things that rattle around in my brain are things about impact investing and can we invite donors to be part of impact investing? That's not something we've done in the past. It's something we've talked about several times."


What is impact impact investing?

"It's really one step farther past what Community Foundation has done for years, which is called mission related investing, so when you have a a double bottom line or a win win for the community. So it's both good for our investment performance, but it's also good for the community at the end of the day. So we have given low interest loans to nonprofits all over southern Missouri for a decade plus when those are loans that a bank, a traditional financing situation would not be interested in. So again, similar to that, whether it be capital expenses or program-related expenses, but inviting individual donors and families to be a part of it so it's not just CFO's money that we're using to do it, but everybody could be co-investors in a way. So that's something I've thought about. We've kicked around the idea, again just in the last few weeks and months, of deepening family philanthropy. So how do you bring your children alongside what you're doing? You know, high net worth individuals have that opportunity through their investment houses. But it doesn't mean that folks who who wouldn't have access to that through their investment houses don't want that for their families and children as well. So is that something that we could get involved with — talking more about getting individual donors connected to our community grant making at the end of the day? So lots of lots of questions, lots of ideas floating around right now."


You've been with the CFO for nearly two decades and you're from the Ozarks. You grew up near Mount Vernon and attended Drury University. How do you think those things will help shape how you lead the CFO into the future?

"That's a great question. So I grew up a farm girl, a small horse farm, and there's something to having to get up 365 days a year and feed animals whether you like it or not. And I didn't like it all the time, particularly as a teenager, right? But there's something that creates that sort of selflessness, that there's all these other things that rely on you at the end of the day, so I feel like that is baked into the ethos of who I am. And I also think that Community Foundation serves such a wide area, 62 counties south of the Missouri River. So, just around the Springfield area. — you know. Springfield is not in this alone. The MSA, the counties around that come here, influence what happens in Springfield and vice versa. What happens in Springfield influences those counties. And so I do believe this is one of my strengths, is to be just as comfortable in Springfield as I am in Mount Vernon, Lawrence County, Howell County, Douglas County and all the areas in between as we think about how the region all fits together at the end of the day."


The last few months, Making a Difference has focused on the future of philanthropy. Just recently, the results of a study commissioned by the CFO came out that looked at the way young people give. Shaping Tomorrow, a Study of Young Donors is designed to help nonprofits understand how those under 40 give. Knowing the results of the study, and just from your own experience, how do you view the future of philanthropy?

"I still think it's really exciting. I mean, I think some folks — you'll hear people say like, 'well, those younger generations, they're not giving or that, you know...they're not giving as much as we were, you know, a decade ago or 20 years ago.' And that's not true. And that study showed that that's not true. They're just giving differently at the end of the day. So it's also a way for the Community Foundation and for nonprofits to get creative and make sure that we're utilizing technology, that we're also shaping, not to use the terminology from the survey, but shaping our message and the way that we engage folks for what makes sense for an under 40 crowd. They do want to be more involved. They do want to trust. We have more information at our fingertips than we've ever had as a population, right? And so that's also incumbent upon nonprofits and the philanthropy world, philanthropic world, to make sure that we're also putting out that information at the end of the day. So I think it's really exciting and a way to continue to dream with folks who in a generation that I think is very invested in their community at the end of the day, It maybe just looks a little bit different than it did 20 years ago."


It was recently announced that the Community Foundation of the Ozarks has purchased the Missouri State University Alumni Building downtown on Jefferson. What will that mean for the future of the CFO?

"Well, in the short term, it means a renovation project and a move for our organization probably over the next 12 months, as we all know how construction goes. So we'll see exactly how that works out, but it means that we have the space for all of our staff, all of our Springfield-based staff, to be under one roof again,. We can't all do that right now at our office, which, you know, one of the reasons that we come to work is for connection and collaboration. And so that happens better when we all have the ability to be together. It also means more space for donors, nonprofit partners, community partners. We've been limited of space to be able to host gatherings, community meetings, those kinds of things. So those are kind of the short term things that immediately helps alleviate for our organization. Long term, as I mentioned at the press conference last week, you know, CFO will probably never have to move again. This is a — it's a big building with lots of space to grow into. And it helps us reshape what we think about as community investment. So now it's not just dollars going back out into the community, but it's our physical space in downtown, in an iconic building for downtown. And hopefully our organization will be good landlords and a good centerpiece for downtown. So there's a there's a lot of symbolism in that, as well, for a community foundation that's been around 50 years and will be around long after any of us are on this Earth as well."


Overall, how is the health of the CFO and philanthropy here in the Ozarks, as well as in the other regions that you serve?

"So CFO's in a great financial situation — a lot of that, all of that, having to do with our board leadership and Brian Fogel, our predecessor, and really the two presidents before Brian as well with Gary Funk and Jan Horton as well. So I've got big shoes to fill and a lot to live up to in that way. Philanthropy — the last number of years have been hard on nonprofits with the pandemic. You know, that brought all sorts of challenges, which we don't need to rehash here, but it also raised the profile of nonprofits and how important they are to the community. And when something on that scale happens, how much we do depend on nonprofits at the end of the day. But then on the flip side, inflation has hurt giving, and less donors are giving, less individual families and households are giving than had happened previously, although that study would tell you that maybe they're still giving it's just not being counted in exactly the same way as it had been before. But we are still a community and region full of people who believe in helping each other and helping our own. So local philanthropy still leads here of wanting to make sure that it stays, so it's not hopeless. Certainly, fundraising has been harder for nonprofits in the last 12 to 18 months as a demand for their services has continued to increase. But I don't think it's a hopeless situation."

Funding for Making a Difference is provided by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

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.