Local connections were part of the mission of the Douglas County Community Foundation before it was even formed in 2003.
The DCCF began after the sale of the Greater Ozarks Information Network, the area’s original internet service provider.
“Four of us got together — I worked at the school as the computer coordinator — and wrote a grant to MORnet, with the University of Missouri - Columbia, and we received that grant for start-up fees and one-year salary for an administrator,” says Steve Sellers, a DCCF board member. “We were a dial-up network that slowly blossomed over six months into a profitable organization. That was the first and only internet service available.”
After about three or four years in service, the GOIN Advisory Board received an offer to purchase the company, which was sold and ultimately netted $94,000.
The search began for a 501(c)3 organization which could invest the money where it would do the most good for the community. Janice Lorrain, one of the GOIN board members, invited a representative from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to speak to the GOIN board. They decided to become an affiliate and the DCCF was born.
The GOIN board members became the charter board members of DCCF. Lorrain served as president for all but two of 20 years until her passing in 2022.
Over its 20 years of existence as an affiliate of the CFO, the DCCF has distributed more than $464,177 in grants to the community. The DCCF has grown into an organization that supports a wide range of initiatives and activities in the rural area.
It’s based in Ava, a town of about 3,000 residents and a landmark in the largely rural Douglas County.
“Douglas County is 800 square miles, and Ava is the only incorporated town in the county,” says Bill Henry, a DCCF board member.