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James Leon Combs visits Elevate Community's model home to discuss his sponsorship pledge.
Provided by Elevate Branson
James Leon Combs visits Elevate Community's model home to discuss his sponsorship pledge.

Philanthropist sponsors tiny home at Elevate Branson development

Posted online

An Ozarks philanthropist and retired businessperson joined the ranks of sponsors contributing to a tiny-home development in Branson.

James Leon Combs pledged $35,000 to sponsor a tiny home at Elevate Community, a 48-unit tiny-home development in progress just north of Elevate Branson's campus.

In addition to his philanthropy work including donations to the Skaggs Foundation, Combs is known for his ownership of the 3,000-acre Beaver Creek Elk and Cattle Ranch northeast of Branson, according to the release. He also previously was a Jostens franchisee and owned Sanford-Brown College in St. Louis before retiring, according to past reporting.

"All over the country, including the Branson area, there's a desperate need for affordable housing," Combs said in the release of sponsoring the Elevate Community home. "My late wife, Dot, always had a big heart for those who were struggling, so I wanted to give back and honor her memory with a tiny-home sponsorship."

Eight sponsors have signed on for the development, said Bryan Stallings, co-founder and executive director of Elevate Branson. He noted additional furniture and essentials package sponsors have brought the pledge total up to $293,000.

To date, the development has raised $3.7 million, Stallings said, noting the total project cost is $7 million-$8 million. Elevate Branson in May was approved for a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program.

Elevate Community's 24-home Phase I is slated to open by summer 2022, Stallings told Springfield Business Journal in May. The second phase, also 24 homes, is targeted for completion in spring 2023, he said at the time.

Elevate Community’s target audience is those with a fixed income living at or below the poverty line, according to past reporting.

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