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Bootheel Regional Community Foundation joins CFO affiliate network

Sept. 13, 2023

New affiliate serves six-county region in southeast Missouri

The Bootheel Regional Community Foundation has officially joined the Community Foundation of the Ozarks as its 54th regional affiliate foundation. The BRCF was announced today during an event at the Bootheel Regional Planning & Economic Development Commission.

The BRCF will serve as the charitable arm of the commission and will provide philanthropic resources to donors, nonprofits and communities in Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Scott and Stoddard counties. It joins the Cape Area Community Foundation, Ozark Foothills Regional Community Foundation, Perry County Community Foundation and Ste. Genevieve County Community Foundation as CFO affiliates serving communities in southeast Missouri.

The CFO will provide administration, fund management, grantmaking support and other services for the BRCF. Based in Springfield with offices in Cape Girardeau and West Plains, the CFO supports a network of more than 50 regional affiliates across central and southern Missouri.

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“Since our first affiliate was established 30 years ago, we’ve seen communities across central and southern Missouri grow stronger because they have a foundation,” said Brian Fogle, president and CEO of the CFO. “With the philanthropic resources provided by an affiliate foundation, the Bootheel can invest in itself and reap the rewards for generations to come.”

To meet one of the requirements for founding an affiliate of the CFO, Sam and June Hamra established a $30,000 community grantmaking endowment for the Bootheel last year. Born and raised in Steele, Sam Hamra founded Hamra Enterprises, which focuses on restaurant and real estate holdings in about a dozen states. He and June and their family also support philanthropic interests in Springfield and the region.

With the endowment established by the Hamras, the BRCF qualifies for a $30,000 matching grant from Missouri Foundation for Health. The grant will provide $6,000 for five years to support grantmaking to address issues related to public health, such as family income, education, jobs, neighborhoods and similar indicators.

Melissa Combs, director of economic development for Dunklin County, will serve as president of the founding board. The full board is composed of community members from each of the Bootheel Region’s counties, along with staff and board members of the planning commission:

  • Jayne Ellen Ray, owner of Prestige Enterprises in Mississippi County
  • Christi Pipkin, health department director for New Madrid County
  • Jana Carey Merideth, retired educator and community volunteer in Pemiscot County
  • Loyd Rice, manager of fiber services for GOSEMO in Scott County
  • Alisha Trammel, executive director of the Dexter Chamber of Commerce in Stoddard County
  • Jonathan Douglass, city manager of Sikeston and chair of the BRPC Board of Directors
  • Joel Evans, president of the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation and member of the BRPC Board of Directors
  • Jim Grebing, executive director of the BRPC

Katelyn Lambert, assistant director and finance manager for the BRPC, will serve as treasurer of the BRCF.

“We are excited about the potential of the Bootheel Regional Community Foundation to open more opportunities for the planning commission to improve the quality of life for families in the six counties and 62 communities we serve,” Grebing said. “As an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, we will have access to resources and support to offer a variety of charitable fund options that can serve our communities in new ways and help ensure a strong future for the Bootheel.”

Prior to the creation of the BRCF, charitable funds established with the CFO have supported several causes in the Bootheel:

  • Renovations to the historic water tower in Caruthersville
  • Scholarships for Kennett High School graduates
  • Scholarships for Oran High School graduates
  • Support for Holcomb R-III School District through the Holcomb Education Foundation

For more information or to donate to the BRCF, contact Jim Grebing at (573) 614-5178, ext. 109, or

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