Rural Schools Partnership Launched

Last Updated: September 02, 2009

Rural Schools Partnership
Community Foundation of the Ozarks
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) officially launched the Rural Schools Partnership on August 19, 2009. CFO presented an overview of the Rural Schools Partnership and recognized businesses and organizations, including the Rural Trust, that are partnering with CFO to make the program possible.
Schools play a critical role in the well-being of small communities and towns that serve as rural hubs, providing a focal point of activity, a sense of civic pride, and a reason for families to make their homes in these communities. Rural education is a linchpin issue for rural economic development.
Recognizing the overarching importance of schools to rural development, CFO’s board of directors has launched the Rural Schools Partnership, a comprehensive program to strengthen small school districts. The program resulted from a year-long planning process involving CFO’s regional committee, regional school leaders, affiliated foundation leadership, donors, and business people. The Rural Schools Partnership embraces three consensus-based strategies for strengthening rural schools: 
  • Develop alternative resources
  • Promote collaborations and partnerships
  • Support place-based education strategies 
Program features include: 
  • The Harry Cooper Supply Company Campaign for the Ozarks Phase II, $250,000 in challenge grants for educational endowment building. Twenty-five school districts and community foundations will have an opportunity to raise $20,000 for academic-oriented endowments and receive a $10,000 match through this effort.
  • Providing  professional development support for teachers and administrators through the Rural School and Community Trust’s Rural School Innovation Network.
  • The Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Regional Grantmaking Program of Commerce Trust will provide $150,000 per year in grantmaking support for cooperative ventures that enhance teaching and learning through innovative place-based education programs.
  • The Conco Community Arts Program will provide $10,000 for 8-12 student-led community arts projects.
  • The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and CFO’s Stewardship Ozarks Initiative will provide $10,000 for student-led conservation projects.
  • The Springfield Regional Arts Council will facilitate arts in the schools through the existing Greater Ozarks Arts Tour (GOAT) and Ozark Plateau Initiative programs. 
Community Foundation of the Ozarks hopes that the Rural Schools Partnership and its various programs will increase philanthropic support for rural education, encourage purposeful collaboration, and strengthen the bonds between school and community throughout the Ozarks.
Community Foundation of the Ozarks supports asset development, community-based grant making, organizational collaboration, and leadership initiatives throughout southern Missouri. CFO currently has $130 million in charitable assets, 41 affiliated community foundations, and 315 agency partners. In the 2009 fiscal year, CFO distributed $15.6 million in grants, including more than $6 million in targeted rural grantmaking. In addition, $3.8 million of the overall grants total went to education-related efforts.

Read more:
Rural Schools Partnership website:
Community Foundation of the Ozarks website:

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