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CFO, Commerce Trust award $320K in grants

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Last edited 2:50 p.m., April 22, 2019

Partnering with Commerce Trust Co., Community Foundation of the Ozarks presented $320,000 in grants yesterday to 19 organizations focused on serving rural students and communities. 

This year’s recipients for the regional grants were selected from 100 applications totaling $1.5 million in funding requests, according to a news release. The awards were made to agencies working to address poverty, health, education and community development.

The largest award, at $45,000, went to the Springfield Art Museum for its arts programming that serves rural school districts in southwest Missouri, according to the release. The museum was one of three place-based education grants, which are awarded to a program that “connects classroom curriculum to a school’s community,” said CFO spokesman Aaron Scott.

The grants are made possible by the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation. Julia Dorothy Coover worked at Commerce Bank for 30 years and in 1992 established the trust to honor her husband’s memory, according to the release. The Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded roughly $5.7 million in grants.

This year’s Coover grant recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Aurora Project RISE, $20,000 to support the Reach Independence through Support and Education project to address poverty in Aurora;
  • Bonebrake-McMurtrey Foundation Ltd., $20,000 to support the replacement of the 1880s-era roof of the Bonebrake Center in Salem;
  • Building Bridges, $20,000 to partner with the Workforce Investment Board to address poverty in Joplin;
  • Children’s Learning Center, $12,111 to improve sensory play opportunities for students at the center in Camdenton;
  • Clinton School District/Henry Elementary, $14,885 to create a Makerspace Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math classroom;
  • Community Interagency Council, $20,000 to improve transportation to medical services for people in Howell County;
  • Dallas County Area YMCA, $12,986 to expand after-school and summer day camp services for older youth;
  • Gainesville School District, $20,000 to create a learning lab and media center for students;
  • Jesus Was Homeless, $19,095 to help the homeless and people living in poverty to acquire legal identification in Branson;
  • Ozark Action Inc., $20,000 to support dental-care programming through an early childhood health initiative in West Plains;
  • Salem Memorial District Hospital, $2,923 to support free preventative mammograms to women who meet low-income standards or are without health insurance in the Dent County region;
  • SeniorAge, $19,000 to start a satellite site in the Protem area of Taney County;
  • SoutheastHealth Foundation, $10,000 for the Reach Out and Read Project in Cape Girardeau, in which physicians give books to young patients and encourage parents to read to their children;
  • Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center, $12,000 to help install a lift near the main entrance that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Sustainable Communities and Small Farms Network, $15,000 to provide free meals and food supplies to low-income residents of Butler County at the organization’s community center in Harviell; and
  • West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, $20,000 to support the El Dorado Works Program, a neighborhood-based job readiness program for El Dorado Springs and Appleton City residents.

Recipients are selected by a volunteer board representing regional communities, chaired by Jill Reynolds of Commerce Trust along with members Rob Foster, Marshfield; Brian Hammons, Stockton; Jim Holt, Reeds Spring; Kathy Lasley, Cuba; Karen Miller, Ozark; Robin Morgan, West Plains; and Marvin Silliman, Lake Ozark.

The Coover Place-Based Education Grant recipients, in alphabetical order, are: 

  • Glenwood R-8 School District, $15,000 to partner with Teton Science Schools to provide place-based science education for West Plains-area students and teachers;
  • Springfield Art Museum/Placeworks, $45,000 to provide high-quality arts programming to rural schools in southwest Missouri; and
  • Willow Springs School District, $2,000 to support the Willow Springs 150th anniversary project.

The Coover Place-Based Education Grants are selected by a volunteer board chaired by Reynolds, along with members Judy Brunner, Lindsay Haymes, Matt Hudson and Heather Landwer.

“We are honored to continue Mrs. Coover’s legacy through these grant programs,” said Reynolds, Commerce Trust’s vice president, in the release. “Thanks to the foresight of her endowment nearly 30 years ago, more than 19 communities across central and southern Missouri will be positively impacted by these grants today.”


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