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CASA launches $2.7M capital campaign to support new HQ

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Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri this morning unveiled a capital campaign designed to shore up funds for a new headquarters.

Officials said at a news conference the Springfield nonprofit has raised $2.1 million toward a $2.7 million campaign goal, with lead gifts from Dan and Kim Piddington, the Risdal Family Foundation, the Sunderland Foundation, members of the O'Reilly family and the Hulston Family Foundation. The donations support CASA’s work to provide volunteers to serve as the voices and advocates for children in foster care.

Prior to the morning announcement, CASA Executive Director Laura Farmer told Springfield Business Journal the nonprofit is under contract to purchase two buildings at Glenstone Avenue and Chestnut Expressway from Council of Churches of the Ozarks Inc. The buildings, which CCO is vacating for its own new headquarters announced last year, will be used for CASA's HQ and a clubhouse for children in foster care to have a safe space for activities with volunteers and family members.

"Our current focus is serving more children in Greene and Christian counties and filling gaps in services for our children through our new CASA headquarters and clubhouse," Farmer said.

Farmer said CASA penned a deal to buy both CCO buildings for roughly $1.1 million. The building at 627 N. Glenstone Ave., currently used for CCO offices, will house CASA's new headquarters. A building directly to the north, used for CCO's One Stop for Early Childhood program, will be converted into the CASA Clubhouse, she said. The deal is scheduled to close in August.

Esterly, Schneider & Associates Inc. is serving as the architect for renovations by general contractor Springfield Builders Inc., Farmer said.

The increased space – CASA currently operates in leased space at the National Avenue Office Park – also will mean additional employees for the nonprofit. Farmer said CASA, which currently has 12 employees, is looking to add another soon and at least two more immediately when the new headquarters opens. A future goal is to house at least 20 staff members in the new space.

"It is anticipated that we will continue to add staff positions, as funding allows, until we serve 100% of our local children in foster care," she said.

Farmer said there are nearly 1,000 children in foster care in Greene and Christian counties.

CASA in the last four years has tripled in size and now serves more than 400 children in foster care, officials said. The nonprofit last year was an honoree for SBJ’s Economic Impact Awards, for which the 1989-founded organization reported 2020 operating revenue of $656,133 and 244 volunteers.

CASA's capital campaign is being led by Chair Eric Gerke of Springfield First Community Bank and board President Kim Cash of Regent Bank.

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