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30-year-old nonprofit to dissolve

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Last edited 1:43 p.m., Sept. 9, 2019

A local nonprofit that’s operated for three decades is slated to dissolve by year’s end.

Senior Foundation of the Ozarks Executive Director Heather Johansen said the board made the decision Aug. 29.

Johansen, the nonprofit’s sole employee, pointed to a drop in participation at the nonprofit’s fundraisers. Its most recent example, its annual Fearless Aging Festival in May, experienced a 50% drop in participation, she said, noting the event raised $26,000.

“The nonprofit field is very crowded in this area,” Johansen said. “It’s a trend all over the country that donations are down for nonprofits.”

Senior Foundation of the Ozarks, which provides grants to SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging and other senior centers in 17 southwest Missouri counties, will transfer its assets to a fund administered by Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Johansen said. It will be called the Hearld Ambler Fund for Senior Centers, named after a former board member who was the 2016 recipient of CFO’s Humanitarian Award.

Senior Foundation of the Ozarks was founded in 1989 by Winston Bledsoe, who also started the local office on aging. At the time, fundraising restrictions made it difficult for local agencies to raise capital, Johansen said.

Senior Foundation’s operating budget is roughly $60,000, Johansen said, and the nonprofit expects to distribute $52,000 in grants this year. Next week, it will present a $25,000 grant to SeniorAge, she said.

As for her, Johansen said she’ll continue to work with the Senior Foundation as it transitions to a CFO-administered fund. After that, she’s unsure of her next career move.

“I’ll be Heather 2.0 in January 2020,” she said.

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