With so much history at their figurative front door, the CCF also has worked to raise the cultural profile of the town’s assets, dating back to before the Civil War through the Phelps House, a historical mansion used for community events, to the Boots Court, a motor court that’s currently being restored and attracts travelers along Route 66.
“You don’t realize how many people come through here until you have a first-hand look,” says Board Member Danny Lambeth, who also volunteers with the Boots Court Foundation. “It’s phenomenal how often you see people from Australia, France, Ireland — just from all over the place.”
Leaders also see the CCF as a network: Both for people who want to support the community, but perhaps don’t know the best avenue, and for connecting needs with funding — even if the CCF isn’t the organization to complete the need.
“It’s been nice to be able to connect needs with other organizations,” says Board Member Kristi Montague, who also serves as a board member for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. “You’re aware of some needs. But the deeper you dive, you find deeper needs. And then you find other resources — if we weren’t able to grant everything, we’ve been able to give the heads-up to somebody else who’s met that need. That’s been really cool, too, because a lot of those opportunities I didn’t know were out there, and I’ve been here all my life. If I didn’t know, someone else doesn’t know, either.”
Ultimately, though, the board speaks of their role as connectors — involving many others in helping make success happen.
“The agencies that we support are the ones doing the work,” Lambeth says. “You look around the room, and fortunately or unfortunately, we maybe give out 20 grants or something like that per round. You’d like to give out 40 or 50. The people that get that money and then turn around and do the right thing by the rest of the people in the community are really the ones that are to be admired.”