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Leading Locally: Crawford County Foundation Inc.

Home to a famed Route 66 motel, Cuba is filled with history — of culture, tied to its spot on the Mother Road — and the surrounding area is awash with scenic beauty.

Affiliate foundations

Foundation serves by improving common good

Cuba — the city, not the country — is a colorful place and its history is easy to see. Known as the Route 66 Mural City, the community began adorning its downtown with murals that showcase its story — well known to locals — to thousands of Route 66 travelers who come through on the famed thoroughfare every year.

Supporting and enhancing that sense of place is part of the work of the Crawford County Foundation Inc. Founded in 2001 and an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the CCF has distributed more than $4.7 million in grants to the community and holds assets totaling $3,115,969 as of June 2023.

“Everybody wants their hometown to be something special,” says Tina McGinnis, a CCF board member. “We just want to make Cuba and the surrounding area the best place that they can be for the community.”

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Cuba's history is told via a series of murals throughout the town.

The CCF’s early work was tied to a specific need: childcare, an issue facing the greater Missouri Ozarks and beyond. It came to the forefront of mind for Cuba when a large employer noted a lack of options and called for change, resulting in the creation of All Aboard Learning Center.

“We raised about $850,000 and built a state-of-the-art childcare learning center for infants to before- and after-school care, which has been a tremendous asset for this rural area,” says Rachel Wallis Andreasson, secretary and treasurer of the CCF as well as its founding president. “We’ve been licensed since day one, accredited for over 15 years, and the whole focus is to ensure the children of our community are kindergarten ready.”

All Aboard opened in 2004 it is licensed to serve 100 kids. The childcare center is part of the foundation, but operates independently under a parent board. Its director attends CCF board meetings to share information and collaborate.

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All Aboard Learning Center has served local children for 20 years.

The childcare center is just one effort that the CCF has led to high-impact change. The foundation also helped the school build a new track and assisted a local resident in building a Vietnam memorial. It also gives scholarships to local students and distributes grants to support efforts throughout the county. More recently, Betty’s House opened in partnership with CCF to offer supplies for local foster families.

Impact 100 Crawford County is another example. Impact 100 is a group of women who want to give back to their community of Crawford County through nonprofit causes related to culture, education, the environment, family, and health and wellness. The first grants were distributed in 2017, and to date, Impact 100 has given back $234,000.

“Each member of Impact 100 donates $500 every year,” says Kathy Lasley, president of the CCF and co-founder of the women’s group. “We gave out $45,000 this year. The grants for 2023 were given to Life House Youth Center, All Aboard Learning Center, Crawford County Head Start, Holy Cross Catholic School, Cuba Cemetery and the Steelville Arts Council. The grants for 2022 were a total of $35,000 and given to Bourbon Community Center, Viva Cuba, Great Circle, Mission Gate, and Cuba Ministerial Alliance."

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In addition to Cuba, the CCF serves other nearby communities such as Steelville.

The support for Steelville Arts Council and Bourbon Community Center ties to the CCF's mission of serving the country, not just Cuba itself.

“These are super small communities,” Andreasson says of other places in Crawford County that the foundation serves. “I feel like when we originally were thinking about what we should call the foundation, and how do we look at it, it was trying to cast the net wider so we could all help each other.”

Looking forward: Growing awareness about Impact 100

In 2024, the primary goal of Impact 100 is to grow its memberships. “Our slogan is ’20 more in ‘24’,” says Lasley. “We started with 54 members and have continued to grow each year. In 2023 we had 80 members, thus the slogan ’20 more in 2024’. 

"Our goal is 100 members and $50,000 to donate back to the community of Crawford County. We have a wonderful group of women who want to see this organization succeed. We have a recruitment event in February, and we will be scheduling workshops soon for nonprofits, so they are made aware of Impact 100 and our grant application process.”

In their own words

Why do you serve?

“For me, it’s just growing up here and wanting to see this community continue to thrive for future generations. To be a part of a reputable and trustworthy foundation that positively impacts the community is meaningful.”

—Rachel Wallis Andreasson, CCF board secretary and treasurer

“Being involved in organizations like Crawford County Foundation and Impact 100 that want to give back to the community is a very rewarding experience.”

—Kathy Lasley, CCF board president

“I’ve resided in Cuba for close to 40 years; we raised our five children here and our grandchildren live here. I want to be involved in the community to make it a place that when reaching adulthood, people want to stay because they love the community and want to raise their family where they were raised."

—Tina McGinnis, CCF board member

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