CFO Stories

Musgrave Foundation & the CFO: One Year Later

Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation’s partnership with the CFO honors the private foundation’s past and envisions the future.

Leading Through Legacy

A New Chapter in a Long Legacy

When the CFO assumed the grantmaking role for the Musgrave Foundation following the death of its longtime leader last year, the goal was to uphold the spirit and intentions that led to more than $15 million in support for Springfield-Greene County nonprofits during its first 37 years.

Foundation Manager Jerry Redfern was known for his love of Christmas; one of the annual grant presentations always took place in December with carols, festive treats and a potential appearance from Santa Claus. So, with “it’s the thought that counts” in mind when the first grant round honoring Redfern had to take place virtually due to the pandemic, the event concluded with a slightly awkward Zoom choir singing his favorite carol, “Silent Night.”

More successful, perhaps, was fulfilling Jeannette L. Musgrave’s commitment to improving the lives of children with the first Musgrave multi-year “Change for Children” grants awarded in person on a lovely spring day at Jordan Valley Park. The Musgrave Foundation grantmaking committee focused on a new high-impact approach to large-scale issues by awarding grants of up to $50,000 with potential two-year renewals.

The 2020–21 Musgrave grantmaking committee was chaired by Rob Baird and included Thomas J. Carlson, Ferba Lofton, Peggy Riggs and Thomas Slaight.

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The eight agencies awarded the first Musgrave Multi-Year Impact grants, focused on “Change for Children” received a total of $250,000 from the Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation. If the agencies meet annual renewal guidelines, the grants ultimately will exceed $650,000.

“That’s what’s exciting about this period is we now have roughly just under $1 million a year to distribute and so the committee has tried to go back and re-capture that spirit and stewardship and tried to think how it can be spent in Springfield as it exists right now,” Baird said.

For Care to Learn, this opportunity meant starting a new chapter in Strafford to meet students’ health, hunger and hygiene needs.

“It means that we are now blanketing and covering every single student that’s enrolled in a public school district in Greene County,” said Jhasmine Watson, deputy director of Care to Learn. “That is 41,000 students that will now have access to have their emergent needs met.”

Brandy Harris, chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Club of Springfield, talked about how the multi-year grant will help her agency work on sustained support for their families.

“We know our impact will not just be a band-aid, but rather a holistic approach to addressing poverty and providing equitable access to opportunity long term,” she said.

By Louise Knauer · Originally published in the CFO’s Annual Report FY21.

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