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Leadership Springfield’s Youth Civic Leadership Program engages a new generation

Musgrave Multi-year Impact Grants transform Springfield’s future

Annual Report FY23

Empowering Student Civic Engagement

A philanthropic community is one made up of engaged and caring residents who understand the roots of the issues affecting their community — and it’s important to start good civics habits early. As we look to the next 50 years of philanthropy in the Ozarks, programs like Leadership Springfield’s Youth Civic Leadership Access Institute, funded by a Musgrave Multi-Year Impact Grant, are essential philanthropic tools to building such a community.

This two-phase program, funded by a $62,000 grant from the Jeanette L. Musgrave Foundation in partnership with the CFO and US Bank Private Wealth Management, was built in partnership with Parkview High School and has the goal of creating a greater sense of civic awareness and community responsibility among its participants. In the first phase, a group of Parkview students attend a three-day seminar in which they recognize and discuss problems affecting their local community and learn how a citizen might go about addressing those issues. In the second, the group will take a trip to Washington to see how these principles apply on a federal level.

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Parkview High School students participating in Leadership Springfield’s Youth Civil Leadership Access Institute visited the U.S. Capitol and met Rep. Eric Burlison in November.

“The method we use is to go from micro to macro,” explains Carrie Richardson, executive director of Leadership Springfield. “We begin phase one by discussing individual experiences and problems, and what students can do on the individual level. Then we expand out to local community, city community, state and finally, in phase two, the nation. Obviously, we discuss voting and the impact of that, but also running for office, running for city council and raising support for change in your neighborhood.”

A big factor in engaging students is discussing barriers to voting. Richardson says that simple awareness is a key determiner of whether a young person registers to vote. “So many people aren’t aware of the impact of a vote, especially in local elections,” she says. “But if you begin by describing how their immediate communities and experiences are tied up in local politics, you can get them really excited to make those changes and be active.”

The first cohort of the Youth Civic Leadership Access Institute completed phase one in early August; phase two—the trip to Washington—occurred Nov. 5–10, during which the students toured the Capitol, learned the processes of federal statecraft and extrapolated the localized lessons from the first phase to the national level. Richardson says that “with a lot of students, there’s a need for dots to be connected, to be shown that their vote, their voice, their decisions, that these things have an impact on their lives.”

By Matthew Stewart, communications specialist at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Read more from Annual Report FY23 Learn More

Brighter Futures through Grantmaking

For the past three years, the Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation, in partnership with the CFO and U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management, has distributed nearly $1.2 million in multi-year, high-impact grants to agencies creating a better and more engaged life for youth in the Springfield area.

Change for Children 2021

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield

• Care to Learn

• The Kitchen Inc.

• OTC Foundation

• Ozarks Food Harvest

• Springfield Greene County Park Board – SPARC

• Springfield Regional Arts Council

• Ujima Language and Literacy

Foster Families 2022

• CASA of Southwest Missouri

• The Connecting Grounds

• Council of Churches of the Ozarks

• FosterAdopt Connect

• KVC Missouri (formerly Great Circle)

Student Citizenship 2023

• History Museum on the Square

• Leadership Springfield

• OTC Foundation

• Springfield Daily Citizen

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