The Community Foundation of the Ozarks recognized five individuals and five regional affiliate foundations for outstanding leadership and exceptional service to their communities during the Rural Philanthropy Summit on April 25. Along with the recognition, affiliate foundations received a total of $23,000 to supplement their annual grantmaking to the communities they serve. The awards mark 30 years of the CFO’s Affiliate Foundation program, which began in 1993 with the establishment of the Nixa Community Foundation.
Eric Gibson, president of the Community Foundation of West Plains Inc., received the Stanley Ball Leadership Award. Ball, who died in 2015, was the founding president of the Nixa Community Foundation. He embodied the strengths of business, civic and philanthropic leadership working together to enhance our communities. The award is presented by the CFO and Central Trust Company, which manages the Stanley & Elaine Ball Foundation. In Gibson’s honor, the Community Foundation of West Plains Inc. received a $2,000 grant.
Bonnie Prigge, board member of the Meramec Regional Community Foundation, received the Fred Lemons Achievement Award. The award is named for the late president of the Lockwood Community Foundation, who demonstrated remarkable leadership during his 15-year tenure until his death in 2014. Presented by the CFO and the Lemons family, the award includes a $1,000 grant to the Meramec Regional Community Foundation in Prigge’s honor.
Three regional affiliate leaders were honored with Board Members of Excellence awards for outstanding service to their communities:
Five of the CFO’s regional affiliate foundations were selected as Affiliates of the Year. The awards, with a total of $20,000 in grant prizes, recognize excellence in leadership among the 53-member affiliate network. The affiliates were selected using several criteria: asset growth; new funds established; overall grantmaking and new Legacy Society members for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. The selection was also based on examples of community leadership, collaboration and the promotion of planned giving.
For affiliates led by completely volunteer boards, the winners are:
For affiliates supported by staff, the winners are:
“For 30 years, our regional affiliate foundations have done so much to improve the quality of life in many communities across our wide service area,” said Alice Wingo, the CFO’s vice president of affiliates. “Our foundation leaders work hard to build long-term, sustainable resources that will benefit all sectors of a community. With exemplary foundations and leaders like the ones honored today, these 53 towns, counties and regions have bright futures ahead.”
The awards capped off the Rural Philanthropy Summit, presented by the CFO and Philanthropy Missouri at the Oasis Convention Center. The event is believed to be the first statewide gathering of philanthropists and foundations focused on the development of rural communities. In addition to the awards, the event featured keynote speeches by Tony Pipa of the Brookings Institution, Caitlin Cain of Rural LISC and Kim Davis of the Walton Family Foundation. Attendees also participated in breakout sessions on digital equity, taking advantage of federal grantmaking, transfer of wealth and planned giving, improving disability access, and collaborative-funding opportunities.
“As anyone who has lived in a small town or worked on a farm knows, we can do so much more and have such a greater impact when we work together,” said CFO President Brian Fogle. “We hope this summit will be a catalyst for cross-state conversations and collaborative action that will more effectively address the needs of rural Missouri.”
More from the Rural Philanthropy Summit