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CFO announces $100,000 program to support SPS students and parents

July 23, 2020

Grants will support virtual learning and childcare solutions

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks will commit $100,000 of its COVID-19 Response and Recovery grantmaking for proposals to help students and parents with supportive virtual learning environments that will complement the return-to-school plan announced by Springfield Public Schools.

On July 23, SPS announced its plan to offer parents an in-school option two days a week based on a 50 percent classroom capacity. Working parents who choose that option over full-time virtual learning will need support the other three days each week for both childcare and facilitation for virtual learning.

The SPS In-Person Learning Support Program application process will be announced next week for nonprofit agencies interested and qualified to provide creative solutions for supportive virtual learning environments for students in Springfield Public Schools. To be eligible, applicants must be located within the SPS district boundaries and hold 501(c)3 or equivalent IRS status, such as faith or civic institutions. The CFO does not make grants directly to individuals under its IRS status. Click here for more information.

Additional criteria for the grant proposals will include:

  • Ability to provide services to low-income families to ensure equitable access to supportive virtual learning on non-classroom days;
  • Preference for serving kids of essential workers, including educators;
  • Ability to provide safe learning environments through strong sanitation and physical distancing protocols.

The grant proposals will be due by 5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 3, and the applicants will be notified by Friday, Aug. 7. The grant proposals will be evaluated by a committee chaired by Julie Leeth, Ed.D, the CFO’s coordinator of education projects and former SPS administrator and high-school principal.

“We recognize this is a very tight turnaround for grant proposals, but we also know that we are in a changing environment that demands adaptive solutions to major issues like finding a balance to educate kids in safe and supportive learning environments,” said Bridget Dierks, CFO Vice President of Programs.

“One of the advantages that philanthropy contributes to communities is the ability to provide flexible and responsive funding to meet emerging needs in this climate,” Dierks added.

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund was established in March with an initial $1 million commitment by the CFO and its 50 regional affiliate foundations, Missouri Foundation for Health and the Coover Charitable Foundation. Generous donors have since contributed more than $686,000 to support this grantmaking.

Since launching the fund, the CFO has granted more than $1.3 million through various programs. Total COVID-related grantmaking by the CFO, including grants from donor-advised and employee benevolence funds, is more than $2.3 million.

The CFO encourages all who are able to donate to a nonprofit in need or the CFO’s COVID-19 fund. Gifts can be made online.


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