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MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU LIVE: Tuesday June 18th, 2013
Feature opens with voice of Community Foundation of the Ozarks President and CEO Brian Fogle:
“They did it because they cared about the Ozarks, and they wanted to make a difference for future generations, and that’s what a community foundation is all about.” Fogle is remembering a group of visionaries whose actions in early 1970’s led to the formation of what is now known as the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. “When you think about that group that started the Community Foundation in 1973, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”
In early 1973, the late Anne Drummond, then a member of the SGF City Council, convinced fellow council member Jim Payne to join with her in convincing the Greene County Estate Planning Council of the need for collaborative, locally targeted charitable giving. Drummond envisioned a community foundation to facilitate permanent charitable endowments for Springfield’s future needs. Long story short, paperwork was filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, and on June 18th 1973, 40 years ago today, The Community Foundation of the Ozarks was born.
Fred Hall is a former President of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. He’s a SGF attorney practicing in estate planning and trust administration. In 1973, Hall was a member of the Greene County Estate Planning Council and became one of the 11 charter members of the Community Foundation of Greene County: “So we then put flesh on it when we incorporated, when we got our tax number, got an ID number and that sort of thing. I thought well, we’ll give it a shot and see what happens. At the time, we didn’t realize the significance of it.”
Today, the significance of creating the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and its phenomenal 40 year record of philanthropy, can be seen all across Southern Missouri, through the eyes of those in the communities served by the CFO ad its 44 affiliate foundations. Since 1975 when CFO’s first endowment fund was announced and its first grant issued, more than 2,500 charitable funds have been established with grants and distributions today totaling over 147 million dollars.
“It’s really amazing to see our growth, and it shows our commitment to giving back, that we’re not keeping these assets, and they are being disbursed where needed.” Says Suzy Gray, Chief Financial Officer with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Gray has the distinction of being the Foundation’s longest serving staff member. “I’ve been there 24 years.” From 1973 to 1988, the Community Foundation of Greene County, with an all-volunteer staff, established 30 charitable funds and had assets totaling 1.5 million dollars. Suzy Gray’s first day at work was April 3rd 1989. On that day, Gray became the foundation’s 2nd paid staff member. She was hired by the 1st paid employee, Jan Horton, who accepted the position as President in 1988. In July of 1989, the foundation’s name was changed to Community Foundation Inc.
Suzy Gray remembers: Jan and I did everything. We visited with donors, we did education. We worked with the financial information preparing reports and Board minutes, getting ready for meetings. The tasks were very interesting to me. I didn’t know what a community foundation was when I first started out. I think it took me about 9 months before I got it all figured out.” In helping Gray to get is all figured out, Gray herself gives credit to Dick Brodbeck and Hearld Ambler, 2 of the Foundation’s early volunteer members who as she puts it “ Gave us a solid foundation for our accounting, and helped in the transition from a volunteer to professional staff.”
In 1993, Community Foundation Inc., established its first of what is today, 44 affiliate foundations. The Nixa Community Foundation. In 1994, CFI became the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Jan Horton served as President until 2003 when Gary Funk began the 1st of a 7 year term. Brian Fogle was named President and CEO in 2010, and today, on the 40th anniversary of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Suzy Gray says the organization’s total assets are considerably larger than in 1973 with its first $1,500 in star up money. “Our total assets are now 226 million dollars.” 97 million of which is considered Regional Assets, from the 44 affiliates across southern Missouri.
For information about the Community Foundation of the Ozarks: cfozarks.org
For Making A Difference, on KSMU and ksmu.org, I’m Mike Smith.