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Council of Churches of the Ozarks

The CCO Story: From “What If?” to “Why Not?”

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The Council of Churches of the Ozarks (CCO) has served southwest Missouri for over 50 years. While the organization’s purpose has evolved, the mission remains the same: to help families move from scarcity to security. 

The desire to collaborate for the benefit of others is a regional trademark. Yet, this benefit is only accomplished when people connect ability with the work that must be done. Instead of accepting things as they are, it takes leaders to ask “What if?” in order to build the future. 

Rev. Dorsey Levell, CCO’s founder and CEO of 30 years, constantly reminded his team and community about the mission that accentuated CCO’s impact in responding to need. 

At the launch of the Levell Up Capital Campaign, named in honor of Dorsey Levell, CEO Jaimie Trussell shared the organization’s vision for one campus. Transitioning from multiple sites to one headquarters at 3055 E. Division St. will unite programs and better serve families. Trussell said, “The Council is here for people asking two questions. When people say, ‘I need help, where do I go?’ or ‘I want to help, where do I go?’ the answer is the same: Council of Churches.” 

Trussell continued, “When interacting with the Council, what we hope you see is a picture and echo of Christ, serving with compassion and loving without reservation.” 

Honorary Levell Up Campaign Chair Jack Stack added, “The organization that has been put together here is something that he (Dorsey) dreamed of his entire life. I really think this is a great stepping stone to advance the desires that he had for a long period of time.” 

Jim Anderson, CCO board member and Levell Up co-chair, said, “Some people see things the way they are and say ‘Why?’ Others see things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’ This is a why not kind of day, it seems to me. This capital campaign is truly transformative for the Council of Churches, for our region, for the thousands of families served by the Council’s various and diverse ministry projects and programs – they do it for the better and with care and compassion.” 

CCO’s programs operate in partnership with 72 member churches, affiliates and dedicated community partners, from individual volunteers to long-term stakeholders.  

Trussell said, “The common vision that woos all partners from all levels to the Council is the desire to serve our region with dignity. The underlying belief is that all people have strengths that can impact the world – if not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then the next day. There is always hope.” 

The organization’s greatest success is when clients and partners experience their own transformation through CCO partnership. While CCO’s story is a legacy-forward movement from “What If?” to “Why Not?” the organization aims for the same to take place in the lives of those served, from struggling families to children in foster care. That is a rich ROI. 

In discussing immediate needs, Trussell said, “In addition to Levell Up, the holidays are an incredible opportunity to link arms with CCO to serve families. From providing holiday meals and gifts to supporting our Coats for Kids partnership, we have outlets for many passions!” 

The Council of Churches is one 501(c)(3) with many programs:  

• Ambassadors for Children 

• Child Care Food Program 

• Connections Handyman Service 

• Crosslines Resource Center 

• Daybreak Adult Daycare 

• Ombudsman 

• Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

• Safe to Sleep 

• The One Stop 



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