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Making a Difference in Seymour, Missouri Part 2

Mike Smith talks with members of the Greater Seymour Area Foundation.
For KSMU and Making a Difference Where You Live, I’m Mike Smith. Making a Difference is our quarterly series which introduces you to people in the Ozarks who are making their communities a better place. Today, we’re in Seymour Missouri talking with members of the Greater Seymour Area Foundation. The GSAF is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. We will also hear today from people who have benefited from programs funded by the GSAF.
Ron Giedd is a past President of the Greater Seymour Area Foundation Board of Governors. He helped start the GSAF in 1998. He says one of the challenges the board faced in the beginning was to raise enough seed money to qualify as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. “The requirement the CFO had on the GSAF was that we had to raise $30,000 in donations for the “unrestricted fund”, that’s the general fund which has no specific purpose other than giving back to the community through a granting process. We had to educate the public as to what the foundation is and asking for money without being able to say what we were going to do with it specifically. I had to educate myself on the terminology to use when asking for donations. For instance, I would ask to help support an endowment fund, until someone suggested I call it a permanent fund. That made all the difference in the world. In a year and a half, we had $30,000, and in fact Harry Cooper stepped in and gave us the final $10,000 and that put us way over to where we ended up with over $37,000. I remember accepting the check and turning to (then CFO President) Jan Horton and asking her if we could have an immediate $500 to give out as grants right away. She did, and we did, and it’s been non stop from then on”.
Today, GSAF total assets amount toover $800,000 and since 1998 the GSAF has distributed nearly $200,000 in grants and scholarships. We’re talking about funding for area schools, fire departments and senior centers.Support also comes in the form of hard back books. Kay Mattingly is a teacher with Seymour Head Start. She says the GSAF has funded the purchase of 180 books a year for Head Start pre school children, which allows us to provide a book to each child we have each and every month we have them”.
Mattingly says “If it wasn’t for the GSAF and the CFO, we would be struggling, it’s just a fact”.
The youngest member of the GSAF Board of Governors is 18 year old Rachel Hoagland, a resident of Seymour and 2nd semester freshman at Missouri State University. Hoagland says “I’m very serious about this, these are serious matters as to who we give money too and their needs”. Hoagland, who wants to be a teacher someday, takes great pride in her community and the efforts of the GSAF. “I feel to make a difference in society it has to begin with the individual. We can as teachers, as parents, help spread the word of how participation in helping ones community can make that positive difference. I think if we can make people more knowledgeable about the recourses out there, there is no stopping us”.
Funding for Making a Difference Where You Live comes from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. For information, www.cfozarks.org. For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith.