Skip to Main Content
CFO Stories

Leading Locally: Community Foundation of Rogersville

Rogersville, a town that crosses three county lines, dates to 1882 and came to be because of the railroad. It was named for Dr. Isaac Newton Rogers, who agreed to donate $50 to help survey and lay out lots for the town if his name was used for the settlement.

Affiliate foundations

Affiliate focuses on signature event to serve community

Sprawling across Greene, Christian and Webster county lines, Rogersville concurrently works to preserve its identity — which dates to the 1880s, and was launched by the railroad — while its growth brings it closer to Springfield with every passing year.

It’s a sense of community that led people like Jennifer Katzin, a lifelong local; Brian VanFosson, who has more than 25 years of connections with Rogersville; and Chuck Medley, who also has spent decades in the area, to work with other leaders to form the Community Foundation of Rogersville in 2015.

“I just feel like this is a great community, and I want to do everything I can to support it,” says Katzin.

While Rogersville has a number of touchpoints within the area, a major one is the school. Even the district’s name — Logan-Rogersville — speaks to unity, as it was formed in 1964 when the Logan and Rogersville districts consolidated.

“The school is the tie that binds the community together,” VanFosson says. “We’re so close to Springfield, that we rely on Springfield — for news, radio, paper, all the communication when it comes out of Springfield. The school is probably that one local tie that keeps the community tethered.”

The district and its students and staff, along with multiple other community organizations, have been beneficiaries of the CFR’s work. The affiliate holds more than 20 funds for a variety of local community endeavors, and its board focuses on a signature event: Rockin’ Rogersville, an annual music festival that has raised more than $250,000 since 2015 for community needs.

“At Rockin’ Rogersville, we do a presentation of our grants,” Katzin says. “They already have the grant, but that’s where we try to get out to the community, ‘This is what we’re doing with the funds we raise from the event.’”

Rockin’ Rogersville is an annual music festival that has raised more than $250,000 since 2015 for community needs.

Some examples include supporting the school’s backpack program, which provides food for students with food insecurity over weekends; purchasing body cameras for the local police department; and contributing funds to Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks to benefit Rogersville-area residents.

“People buy a ticket, they come out and they’re there for the day,” VanFosson says. “It’s all outside so we have a huge stage setup and a big digital board. They bring lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the lawn. It’s just a relaxing time to listen to music and have a good time.”

The event also offers opportunities to help local nonprofits beyond those that receive grant funding.

“Local groups come and serve, and help us with setup and cleanup, and we make a donation to their organization,” says Katzin. “We also have a group that helps with parking every year and we make a donation to their organization. It’s a good partnership because we’re getting help that we desperately need and they’re trying to raise money for their organizations.”

The effort of the event, however, extends beyond fundraising: It also brings the community together.

“With Rockin’ Rogersville there are two benefits,” says Medley. “It really gives Rogersville something to call their own, and raise funds to help the nonprofits in our area.”

Despite the intense planning it takes to make the event happen each year, the results have been worth it.

“I like being part of something that, kind of twofold, we are able to help members and the community, but also put on an event that draws the community together,” Katzin says.

Community Foundation of Rogersville's next goal: Always evaluating what’s best for the community

While Rockin’ Rogersville has been a success, board members are careful to evaluate their strategy regularly to ensure that the event is being planned in the most effective way possible.

An example is when they added a VIP experience that includes food, seating under tents and enhanced restrooms. Initially, the upgraded experience was for the event’s sponsors, but later expanded as a ticketed option.

“Our event has done very well,” says Katzin. “We’ve been able to add that back into our endowment to increase the amount that we’re able to do our grants with each year.”

In their own words

Why do you serve?

Cf rogersville 4x5 brian vanfosson

“I grew up Mountain Grove, and went to school at Missouri State. Having been here for 26 years, I feel like I am a part of the community, and a lot of shareholders of Citizens Bank of Rogersville are members of the community. It really is important to me to support this community and give back.”

—Brian VanFosson, CFR president

Cf rogersville 4x5 jennifer katzin

“Being here so long, you see the needs and know the people of the community. There are ways that I feel like as a foundation, we can support them. And by supporting nonprofit groups, we’re in turn supporting the people that live here.”

—Jennifer Katzin, CFR board member

Cf rogersville 4x5 chuck medley

Being part of the Community Foundation of Rogersville was a great way to lock arms with awesome people and give something to the community for perpetuity.”

—Chuck Medley, CFR board member

Support our mission by becoming a donor today.

Donate Now