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CFO awards grants for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion projects

Dec. 9, 2021

Projects focus on increasing civic participation and improving life for marginalized community members

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded five grants totaling $100,000 today to Springfield-Greene County nonprofits for projects focused on increasing civic participation and improving conditions for marginalized community members.

The grants were presented at Timmons Hall in Springfield with representatives from each nonprofit speaking about how the grants will be used.

The grants were awarded to:

  • A Girl Like Me Network: $12,000 for the Level Up Mentor Program to form positive self-esteem, teach basic life skills and empower youth.
  • Drury University: $21,000 for the Visible in a Digital World effort. This project, in partnership with Multicultural Business Association (formerly known as Minorities in Business), aims to empower women minority business owners in Springfield by focusing on training and resources that enhance their strategic marketing abilities.
  • The GLO Center: $21,000 for an expansion of the Ozarks Inclusion Project, which encourages and recognizes businesses that demonstrate nondiscrimination policies and workplace protections for staff and customers in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Missouri State University: $21,000 for the Bear Learning and Successful Transitions (BLAST) project. As a collaboration between MSU, Springfield Public Schools and EnCompass Academy, this program will develop inclusive experiences for K-12 students with disabilities that lead to successful transitions to post-secondary education and competitive employment.
  • Timmons Hall/Springfield-Greene County Park Board: $25,000 for the Meet n’ Greet History project, a program that teaches African American Studies through place-based learning at Silver Springs Park, Timmons Hall and Alberta Ellis’s family timeline. Ellis’ family owned a central Springfield hotel included in the “Green Book” travel guide as a safe place to stay for Black travelers on Route 66.

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“The CFO continues to increase its commitment to DEI grantmaking based on the quality of proposals and commitment among the nonprofit and educational communities to foster more welcoming, inclusive environments for Springfield-Greene County citizens,” said Bridget Dierks, CFO’s vice president of programs.

In addition to this grant cycle, the CFO also is accepting applications on a rolling basis for the Ozarks Inclusive Opportunity Grant Program to support smaller grant requests across the Ozarks. This year, funding requests of up to $2,000 will be considered for projects that encourage diverse representation in community conversations, engagement and leadership across the region.

Agencies can apply here for the Ozarks Inclusive Opportunity Grant Program. The program is open throughout the year, with grants awarded on a rolling basis as funds are available. Donors can help extend the program by giving to the CFO’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund.

The DEI and Inclusive Opportunity grants are funded by a combination of the CFO’s unrestricted assets and field-of-interest funds where donors support a broad area of interest. The DEI grant committee is chaired by CFO Board Member Abram McGull II and members include Heather Hardinger, Kathy Munzinger, Daniel Ogunyemi, Summer Trottier and Brooke Widmar.

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