Community Foundation of the Ozarks awards $80,000 in diversity and inclusion grants

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release) -- The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded seven grants totaling $80,000 for collaborative community projects through its 2019 Springfield-Greene County Diversity and Inclusion Program.

Introduced in 2018, the grant program provides funding for projects that impact and improve the quality of life for individuals who are underserved and/or underrepresented in the Springfield-Greene County community. The grants were presented at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library to the following organizations:

Community Partnership of the Ozarks: $15,060 for “Tough Talks to Credential Completion Project” to support bimonthly community forums that discuss issues relating to poverty and diversity. The project will also work to reduce inequities and provide better pathways for youth and adults to complete credentials, as well as expand the Brother to Brother program.
Hillcrest High School: $3,000 for “Vocational Preparation Community Outings, Learning Beyond the Classroom,” a partnership between Hillcrest’s Vocational Preparation Class and the Pre-Employment Transition Services at the University of Missouri’s College of Education. It is intended to provide meaningful job-skills training by taking students into the community to experience different job tasks.

Leadership Springfield: $10,086 for “Leadership Springfield Diversity and Inclusion Outreach” to support the inclusion of 20 members of the Leadership Springfield Access Class, split evenly between members of Minorities in Business and RosieSGF. This effort will work to bridge social capital and increase inclusion among community leaders.

The Library Foundation: $11,283 for “Serving Library Families Affected by ASD and DD Project” to make all 10 branches and the Mobile Library more welcoming and inclusive for people with autistic spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities by providing tools to support successful visits to library buildings, programs and services.

Missouri State University: $8,950 for “Springfield Community Diverse Professionals Recruitment and Retention Research Project Phase 1” to survey a representative sample of diverse professionals in order to understand what brought them to our city and what factors influence their staying or leaving. Partnerships for this project will include the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, City of Springfield, Minorities in Business, Springfield NAACP, MSU’s African American Men Collective, the GLO Center, ALAS and the Springfield Diverse Young Professionals Group.

PROMO Fund: $16,621 for “LGBTQ Civic Engagement & Leadership Project” to increase LGBTQ civic engagement through local leadership development, as well as connection to boards and commissions, to ensure decision-making bodies reflect the populations they represent in both knowledge and membership.

Student African American Brotherhood National Headquarters: $15,000 for “The Believe, Belong and Become Project” to foster community partnerships with stakeholders committed to improving retention and graduation rates of students of color (emphasis on boys) in order for them to gain successful entry into the 21st century workforce and be contributing citizens. This project will also involve supporting the due diligence of the planned move of the SAAB National Headquarters to Springfield from Toledo, Ohio, and involves MSU as a major partner.

These projects were selected from a total of 21 applications by a committee comprised of the following community representatives:

Abram McGull II, Chair
Juan Meraz
Kathy Munzinger
Margo Spilde
Summer Trottier
Tez Ward
Brooke Widmar

“We know from the 2019 Community Focus Report that while the diversity of our city is increasing, gaps in achievement and representation for certain populations continue to persist,” said Bridget Dierks, Vice President of Programs for the CFO. “By improving opportunities to succeed for more members of our community, we can improve our entire community.”

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a regional public charitable foundation established in 1973 that provides asset and resource development, grantmaking and public leadership through a network of donors, 49 affiliate foundations and some 600 nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri.