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Since May of 2001, the Finley River Community Foundation has distributed over $120,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in need in Christian county. Among them is the Christian County Family Violence Center. Mike Smith has the story.
Support For Making A Difference where You Live comes from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks whose mission, and that of its over 40 affiliates across southern Missouri, is to “Enhance the quality of life for our citizens now and for future generations by building community endowments, meeting needs through grant making, providing leadership and promoting collaboration on community issues”. The voice of Elise Crain, a founding member of the Finley River Community Foundation, is heard with a quote from Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that has”. Elise Crain is a lifelong citizen of Ozark Missouri. A Christian county girl who, along with a dozen other board members of the Finley River Community Foundation, volunteers time, energy, spirit, and a few dollars here and there to make their community a better place. Since its inception as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in May 2001, the FRCF has awarded over $120,000 in grants to Christian county organizations and individuals in need. Since 2002, the FRCF has awarded over $64,000 in continuing education scholarships to Ozark High school seniors.Elise Crain says her motivation to help the community comes from ideals she and her twin brother learned from their parents. “My father said we have a responsibility to the town where we live because it has provided a good living, food, shelter and an education for the family and he wanted to give back. My twin brother and I still feel that way. It’s important to us to be a part and continue to give back. One of my mentors was Anne Drummond, and she always said pass it on and pay it forward. Your heart is involved, your pocketbook is there, your brain is there, it’s your community. You’re responsible for making that community what it will be tomorrow. Today and Tomorrow is all we have”. Like Elise Crain, Karen Miller is a founding member of the FRCF. Miller also serves as the President of the FRCF. Miller says “It’s so gratifying to be able to assist a student with their future education. We have several scholarships now. I’m a retired teacher and it’s so good to see those kids and know you will make a difference in what they will become”. Anyone can become a philanthropist, it’s a big word. Everybody thinks a philanthropist is somebody with a lot of money to give away but none of us are in that boat. We just have a love for the area and a need to help solve problems in the area. We might get and give a little money as philanthropists, but what we give most is our time”.Janis Creek became a FRCF board member in the fall of 2001. Creek says “I have always been involved in some group or another that tried to give back to the community.For me it’s a unique way to give to the causes that matter. Without going in to a tearful thing here, I get a thrill to see these people (in need) when they receive these grants. Our grants cover it all. The FRCF has helped the Christian County Advisory Committee get basketball shoes for foster children when they couldn’t otherwise afford them. I’ve seen teenage boys almost cry when they get the shoes. We’ve helped girls get a prom dress when their foster parents couldn’t make it happen”. As I talk with Janis I tell he that I see tears in her eyes. She says “It’s a personal thing. I believe in volunteerism, I believe in the community. The Ozarks is a great place to live in and we need to pay back some of that”. One organization that receives funding from the Finley River Community Foundation is the Christian County Family Violence Center. Renette Wardlow is director of the shelter. She says the “FRCF is all about helping others. Weather it be the school, libraries, organizations such as ours, that’s what they are all about. It’s an honor to be a part of that and to receive funding from them. The FRCF helped in the repair of our building at the beginning of our operation and we were able to start serving women and children almost immediately. They help with propane and food. They have helped with indoor and outdoor concerns at the shelter. We are the first and only family violence shelter in Christian County and without the FRCF, the Nixa Community Foundation, area businesses and individuals we could not do what we do”.Support for Making A Difference Where You Live comes from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. cfozarks.org For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith.