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Dana and Christina Ford brought The Rebound Foundation nonprofit to Springfield in 2018.
Provided by The Rebound Foundation
Dana and Christina Ford brought The Rebound Foundation nonprofit to Springfield in 2018.

Nonprofit, child care facility plan to stay open after Dana Ford’s exit from the MSU Bears

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After the weekend announcement of Dana Ford’s departure from Missouri State University athletics, officials with two organizations led by his wife, Christina Ford, have shared their intentions to remain open.

Though it’s unknown whether the Fords plan to remain in the area or relocate, a plan that accounts for either has been in the works since the inception of The Rebound Foundation, a domestic violence advocacy and transitional housing nonprofit founded by the Fords, and Kids Inn Child Care Center LLC, a drop-in facility that Christina Ford opened nearly two years ago.

“I'm very honest with my director and my team on both of those, The Rebound Foundation and Kids Inn, with what that can look like,” Christina Ford said this month in SBJ’s No Ceiling podcast hosted by Executive Editor Christine Temple. “That was always built into the foundation of both to say ... whether we're physically here or not, those can continue to go on."

Both organizations posted to Facebook yesterday following the announcement from MSU Athletics Director Kyle Moats on Dana Ford’s exit at the end of the season, a year before his contract was set to expire.

“We, like so many in our community, are saddened to learn of the news of Coach Ford’s departure from MSU. The Ford family has made so many positive impacts on our community,” the post reads. “And while they, as a family, contemplate their future, the future of The Rebound Foundation as a Springfield fixture remains the same.

“The plan has always been to maintain a Rebound Foundation in Springfield, regardless of Coach Ford’s position or whether the Ford family resided in Springfield.”

A similar post was shared on the Kids Inn Child Care Center page.

“As the Ford family navigates this transition, we want to assure you that Kids Inn Child Care remains steadfast in our commitment to providing exceptional child care services. Our strong leadership team and dedicated employees will continue to uphold the mission that Christina Ford started – creating a safe and enjoyable experience for kids while offering parents peace of mind,” the post reads. “Even though Christina and her family will no longer be physically present in Springfield, her role as the owner of Kids Inn Child Care remains vital.”

The Rebound Foundation came to Springfield in 2018 with the Fords after Dana was hired as head coach of the Bears men’s basketball team. Later that year, the nonprofit opened its first transitional housing shelter for survivors. The nonprofit was first founded in 2015 while the pair was in Nashville, Tennessee, according to Christina Ford, who today serves the nonprofit as founder and director.

The Kids Inn Child Care Center, which has a drop-in care model, opened in July 2022.

Christina Ford was a guest on SBJ’s No Ceiling podcast, recorded in late February, and spoke about the challenges of putting down community roots while being a coach’s family. Buzz surrounding Dana Ford’s security in his position with the Bears was covered by area media outlets after Athletic Director Moats posted on X in mid-January about his concern with the coach’s performance.

“We are a coach's family – that's the reality of it,” Christina Ford said in the podcast. “We honestly never know how long that we're going to be somewhere, but I knew that this is what God had us to do.”

Ford said she felt drawn to opening a transitional housing shelter because of her own experience and her family’s experience with domestic violence. And as a mom of six, she also saw the need for flexible child care options.

“I've gone into both of those with that understanding that they can sustain in whatever way, whether we are in Springfield or wherever else, because like I said, we have roots here that we would always love to continue,” she said. “Your typical coach's family, they might not get into the community, and for reasons that are understandable, because you just don't know, but that's just not who we are, and we just have to stay true to who we are. No matter what, we want to continue to give. We care about the community that we live in. And so that wouldn't have changed anything when it comes to coaching.”

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