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CFO Initiates Mission Related Investment Program

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks Mission Related Investment Program produces a "Double Bottom Line" of returns. Mike Smith has more as Making A Difference Where You Live continues.

This "Making A Difference" feature includes interviews with Brian Fogle, President of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks; David Zechman, President and CEO of Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains; and Bill Wheeler, Co-Superintendent of Chadwick Schools. OMC and Chadwick Schools are the first recipients of low interest loans through the CFO Mission Related Investment Program:

The CFO Board of Directors in 2009 approved committing up to 2 percent of assets to community investment through low-interest loans when conventional financing sources are not available. This program represents the CFO’s commitment to the “double-bottom line” of investing in enterprises that produce both financial and social returns for Ozarks communities, instead of investing assets solely in financial markets. A component of this program is the Cultural Investment Fund, which will offer loans of $1,000 to $20,000 to non-profit groups to help cover the down-payment costs associated with booking major performers, shows or exhibits. The Cultural Investment Fund guidelines explain the program in more detail; interested non-profit groups can apply online.The dedication of a new 16-bed emergency department at the Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains also represents the first project completed under the CFO’s new Mission-Related Investment program focusing on the “double-bottom line” of investing in our own communities. The facility, which will open for patients at 7 a.m., Tuesday, July 20, offers improvements such as individual rooms for patient privacy that surround a nurse’s station with state-of-the-art patient tracking. Each patient room also has its own cardiac-monitoring system, access to portable imaging equipment, and EKG monitoring capabilities to speed up response time for potential cardiac patients. The previous facility had one EKG system that was shared among the treatment rooms and some of its 12 treatment rooms were separated only by curtains, which gave patients less privacy. Two of the rooms are larger for major trauma cases and another room is equipped as a haz-mat facility if decontamination is necessary. Two of the rooms also are designed as “negative pressure” spaces for infectious patients where the contaminated air is prevented from reaching other parts of the hospital. Construction of the new emergency room began more than five years ago. The shell of the building was completed in 2005, but challenging economic conditions and access to financial markets halted construction. In 2009, the CFO made its first mission-related investment – a $1 million low-interest loan. The hospital also received a $500,000 federal grant and the Ozarks Medical Center Foundation has raised $2 million toward its $3 million capital-campaign goal. Construction resumed last August; the Sunday, July 18, dedication took place two months ahead of the estimated completion date. OMC President and CEO David Zechman noted with pride that 87 percent of the contractors for the project were from the West Plains area.

Chadwick Schools’ new classroom/storm shelter building will be the CFO’s second completed Mission-Related Investment project when the facility opens this fall.With more than 4,000 square feet, the building will house two classrooms and a large entryway into the gym that can accommodate not only the entire student body, but also serve as a community storm shelter if an event is taking place when severe weather hits. The project came about after Chadwick received some federal grant money, but then lost a no-tax increase bond election in November 2008 by a couple of votes. CFO President Brian Fogle saw news reports about the election and thought the project would be a good candidate for the new MRI program, in which a portion of CFO assets are invested directly into communities through low-interest loans that create a “double-bottom line.”