Rural Schools Partnership Newsletter: October 19, 2009

Last Updated: October 19, 2009

 Rural Schools Partnership
October 19, 2009
Rural School Innovation Network Pilot Members Selected
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) is pleased to announce that 21 school districts have been selected to participate in CFO's Rural School Partnership Rural Schools Innovation Network. The Rural School Innovation Network (RSIN) is a program of the Washington, D.C.-based Rural School and Community Trust.
RSIN is a "dynamic network of rural school districts striving for excellence and improved student learning." The effort focuses on policy, research, community engagement and place-based education. The Missouri Ozarks cohort of 21 schools is involved in a two-year pilot project that allows school participation at no cost to the local school district. Funding for the effort has been provided by an anonymous New York foundation with an interest in rural education and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Philanthropy Initiative.
The following schools applied for acceptance into the program and were selected for participation: Alton, Aurora, Bolivar, Chadwick, Dora, Eminence, Fair Grove, Forsyth, Gainesville, Hermann, Lockwood, Logan-Rogersville, Mansfield, Monett, Ste. Genevieve Valle, Sherwood, Sparta, Verona, Warsaw, West Plains, and Willard.
Each school will participate in a variety of activities this school year including webinars and a Place-Based Education Conference scheduled for early May at the historic Thomasville High School. In addition, the participating school districts will have access to the Rural School and Community Trust's research database, written reports, and access to a number of rural education experts throughout the nation.
The Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities. Its mission is to help rural schools and communities get better together. The Trust is a key partner in the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Rural School Partnership. The Rural School Partnership is dedicated to strengthening rural schools by supporting resource development, collaboration, and place-based education.
New RSP Partner
Congratulations to Eminence R-1 for becoming the newest member of the Rural Schools Partnership. This district is also a member of the RSIN pilot project. Eminence is located in Shannon County, where they are exploring the feasibility of establishing a county-wide community foundation in conjunction with the Community Foundation of the Ozark.
Youth Empowerment Conference a Grand Success!
On Thursday, October 15, 2009 Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Drury University, hosted the 2009 Youth Philanthropy Conference of the Youth Empowerment Project. Nearly 200 students and sponsors from 27 southern Missouri schools attended the conference held at the Drury University Findlay Student Center.
Drury President Todd Parnell gave the welcome and spoke on the importance of philanthropy at Drury University. The keynote was given by Jennifer Moore, Senior News Producer at KSMU whose international experience as a journalist has given her a unique perspective and love for her Ozarks community. Dr. Gary Funk also spoke on youth-driven grant opportunities through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Rural Schools Partnership. Additionally, students participated in small-group discussions about the importance of philanthropy in local communities and the purpose of a Youth Empowerment grantmaking project.
The mission of the Youth Empowerment Project is to give youth the opportunity to positively impact their community. This is accomplished through education, service, grantmaking, and fundraising. Students involved in Youth Empowerment Project organizations raise funds through projects and events and then grant those funds to worthy youth-related causes in their community. A primary component of the Youth Empowerment Project is providing financial support to youth-created and youth-driven service projects in their respective communities.
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) supports asset development, community-based grant making, organizational collaboration, and leadership initiatives throughout southern Missouri. CFO is comprised of 41 affiliate community foundations and more than 1,600 charitable funds totaling approximately $135 million.
Grant Proposal Deadlines
Please note that deadlines are approaching for the Rural Schools Partnership's Student Conservation Grants Program and CONCO Community Arts Program. The deadline is November 16th for these two student-centered efforts. Please go to and click on Grants for more information. You can contact Dr. Julie Leeth at CFO as well: or 417-864-6199.
The Purpose of This Newsletter
The Rural Schools Partnership Weekly Newsletter represents our Foundation’s commitment to keeping you informed about this important new initiative. If you know of others who should receive the newsletter, please drop a note to Gary Funk, President and C.E.O., Community Foundation of the Ozarks, at
Gary Funk | President and C.E.O.
Community Foundation of the Ozarks
425 E. Trafficway
Springfield, MO 65806