News & Updates

Endowments totaling $4 million support environmental sustainability

April 22, 2021

Anonymous gift will support four local agencies in perpetuity

An anonymous donation of $4 million to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks will strengthen the long-term stability of four Springfield-based environmental groups that promote outdoor recreation and preserve land and water resources for residents across the region.

The donation established significant endowments for the James River Basin Partnership, Ozark Greenways, TrailSpring and the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. These endowments will provide annual income for each organization while maintaining and increasing the principal, or corpus, amount for these organizations forever. The donation was announced Thursday, April 22, in honor of Earth Day 2021, the 51st anniversary of the day established in 1970 to recognize the modern environmental movement. Leaders from each of the organizations gathered at the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park to celebrate the endowments, made possible through a generous donor who does not wish to be identified.

“On this day when people across the country are taking part in efforts to respect and protect our natural environment, we are celebrating a gift that will advance the long-term sustainability of these four outstanding organizations through an additional source of funding,” CFO President Brian Fogle said.

The executive directors of the four agencies supported by the $4 million endowed gift were on hand for the announcement: Brenton Stock, James River Basin Partnership; Jessica Pearson, TrailSpring; Mike Kromrey, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks; and Mary Kromrey, Ozark Greenways.

Each year, a specific amount of funding will be available to each organization based on the annual spending policy approved by the CFO Board of Directors, which has been 4 percent in recent years.

A $1 million endowment, for example, would provide $40,000 a year to the organization, which has the flexibility to use the funding or continue to save it. As the endowed portion experiences investment growth over time, the annual amount will increase.

The donor selected the four organizations for these endowments based on the donor’s interest in conservation, the outdoors and the importance of our environment to our local quality of life. Each of the organizations is a nonprofit partner with the CFO, which serves a network of more than 600 nonprofit partners across the region.

James River Basin Partnership, founded in 1997, works to improve and protect the water quality of the springs, streams, rivers and lakes in the James River watershed, which consists of almost a million acres of land in portions of eight counties.

Ozark Greenways, formed in 1991, is the driving force behind a 140-plus mile planned system of multi-use trails that connect streams, parks, businesses and neighborhoods. It also currently holds over 1,000 acres of land in trust for conservation and preservation.

TrailSpring, founded in 2012, focuses on mountain-bike trails also used for hiking and running. In addition to Two Rivers Mountain Bike Park, its projects incorporate greenway and on-road connections to provide safe passage and alternative transportation for commuting, while connecting over 66 miles of trail between many Springfield parks.

Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, operating since 1984, has a mission to sustain and improve the water resources of Springfield and Greene County through education and effective management of the region’s watersheds.

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