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News & Updates

CFO awards $121,000 for childcare and learning support

AUG. 7, 2020

Rice Family Foundation donates $20,000 to expand program

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is awarding $121,000 to seven Springfield nonprofit agencies to provide childcare and learning support for Springfield Public Schools students enrolled in this fall’s in-person option.

For the first quarter of school this fall, SPS offered parents the option to have children attend classes in person two days a week; about 75 percent of parents chose that option over the fully virtual second option. This grant program was developed to give parents who chose the in-person option support for the three days a week when kids won’t be in school.

The SPS In-Person Learning Support Program is funded by the CFO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund with additional support from the Rice Family Foundation.

“Gifts from Phoebe and Ed Rice, who started the Rice Family Foundation, along with other generous donors, will assist those who are working through this pandemic to support their families,” said Sally Hargis, vice president and chair of Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co. “We’re proud to be a part of this effort by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.”

The recipients announced today were selected based on their ability to serve students of lower-income families, essential workers, SPS employees, single parents and other vulnerable families. The applicants also had to demonstrate their understanding and willingness to follow similar safety and sanitation protocols as SPS will be following in the schools. All of the grantees are 501(c)3 or equivalent nonprofit, faith or community agencies; the CFO does not make grants directly to individuals.

  • Barnabas Foundation Inc.: $20,000 for the Barnabas Day Camp to support students with special needs, housed at Ridgecrest Baptist Church.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield: $19,000 for its In-Person Learning Support Program, with preference for students of low-income families and SPS staff.
  • Discovery Center of Springfield: $19,000 for its Learning Support Care Program, with a preference for students of SPS staff.
  • East Grand Community Services: $6,000 to expand its existing childcare services for low-income and at-risk students to include virtual learning, housed at East Grand Church of Christ.
  • Ozarks Regional YMCA: $19,000 for wraparound childcare and scholastic services at the Downtown Ward YMCA and the Pat Jones YMCA in southeast Springfield.
  • Ridgecrest Baptist Church: $19,000 for the Jaguar Learning Support Center in southwest Springfield.
  • Springfield Dream Center: $19,000 for the DC Virtual Learning Center in northwest Springfield.

The grant proposals were 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, along with Francine Pratt, Missy Riley and David Hall.

Parents interested in more information on any of these programs should contact the agencies directly.

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 $711,000 to support this grantmaking.

Since launching the fund, the CFO has granted more than $1.5 million through various discretionary programs. Total COVID-related grantmaking by the CFO, including grants from donor-advised and employee benevolence funds, is now more than $2.5 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 at Gifts can be made online.

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