With an expanded emphasis on racial equity in Springfield and inclusivity in rural communities, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is granting $88,250 to 16 agencies from its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund.
For several years, the CFO has awarded grants to support diversity and inclusion projects in Springfield and Greene County. For its 2020–21 grantmaking program, the CFO and its board decided to further focus on racial equity and increase funding for grantmaking opportunities in this focus area.
The goal of the Springfield-Greene Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program is to bring awareness of those issues to public light while improving the quality of life for underserved and underrepresented individuals.
“The CFO is proud to support the work of agencies committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in Springfield and across central and southern Missouri,” said Bridget Dierks, vice president of programs. “We continue to commit grant dollars to this work because it is vital to the future success of our communities.”
The following grants were announced during an online presentation on Friday, Dec. 11:
- The Doula Foundation: $11,500 to the Doula Foundation Racial Disparities in Childbirth Training and Prevention Initiative to support birth equity training and fund doula certification for two women of color.
- Hand in Hand Multicultural Center: $20,000 for the Turning Potential into Reality project to help the skilled and professional members of 30 immigrant families through the immigration process and into citizenship/employment status.
- The Library Foundation: $7,460 for the Mobile Empathy Lab, a partnership between Springfield-Greene County Library District and Missouri State University Libraries, which uses a virtual-reality experience to foster empathy toward marginalized individuals.
- Ozarks Public Broadcasting: $6,000 to the Ozarks Public Broadcasting DEI Internship Program, which will support paid internships for diverse individuals.
- Springfield Public Schools: $3,000 for the BASE (Business Associated Student Education) Project, which takes students into the community to learn how to succeed in life after high school.
- Student African American Brotherhood National Headquarters: $1,140 for the Behind the Mask program, which provides training opportunities for SAAB members at SPS, MSU, Ozarks Technical Community College and Evangel University.
- Ujima Language and Literacy: $12,000 for the Ujima Inclusion Excellence Fund Development Collaboration, which supports Ujima's inaugural fundraising event and development goals.
- United Way of the Ozarks: $18,900 for the United Academy for Inclusion and Belonging, a partnership with the Division for Diversity and Inclusion at MSU to provide training for its 21 nonprofit partners and the Springfield Police Department.
Launched in July, the Ozarks Inclusive Opportunity Grant Program supports small grant requests to ensure equitable participation and engagement in local communities across the CFO’s service region.
Agencies may apply at any time for up to $1,000 to support expenses related to ensuring diverse voices are represented in leadership roles and students are provided equitable opportunity for community engagement and leadership.
Grants have been awarded to:
- Drury University: $300 to provide masks and supplies for its Community Day at the History Museum on the Square.
- Jasper County CASA: $950 for its staff to attend the virtual National CASA Conference.
- Jefferson College Foundation: $1,000 for community diversity programs in Jefferson County
- Missouri M.A.D.E.: $1,000 for the Leader to Legislator program to recruit and train 25 nonwhite, LGBTQ+, poor and/or rural women for public service.
- Missouri State University: $1,000 for MSU’s Early College for regional Hispanic students
- Ozarks Regional YMCA: $1,000 for materials to support a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Y.
- Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education: $1,000 to train interpreters for Somali, Sudanese Arabic, Spanish, Burmese, Karen and Pacific Island languages in the Noel area.
- Superstars of Point Performing Arts: $1,000 to support cultural diversity and inclusion for special-needs students.
- Ujima Language and Literacy: $1,000 to increase its visibility in the community and recruit new families and volunteers to its literacy program.
The Ozarks Inclusive Opportunity Grant Program is ongoing, and additional donations to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund will allow for more funding opportunities. Agencies can begin the application process online. Donors can give to the fund at cfozarks.org/diversityfund.