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On this edition of Making a Difference Where You Live, we travel to Polk County to meet a group of givers from the Bolivar Area Community Foundation.
For KSMU and Making a Difference Where You Live, our quarterly series in which we introduce to you, Southern Missourians, who with help from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, are making their communities and better place. I'm Mike Smith.
Today we talk with a group of good citizens who serve on the board of the Bolivar Area Community Foundation, an affiliate of the CFO since early April 2003. This past July 17th at its most recent meeting, board member Neal DeShazo announced that "the latest financial statement shows as of July 1st 2007, the Bolivar Area Community Foundation has assets totaling over $975,000." Not bad for a group of givers in existence for just a little over 4 years, especially when you consider the tens of thousands of dollars the Bolivar Area Community Foundation has awarded in scholarships and grants to deserving Polk County individuals, organizations, programs and events during that same time period.
"We started out with 11 members with six of them coming from the Bolivar Chamber's Leadership Bolivar program" says Bolivar Area Community Foundation board director Don Wollard. "I was one of the six" he went on to say. Wollard is a Bolivar native who has been a town barber for over 45 years and sees a lot of potential in both the Bolivar area and the board. He says "it's hard when you start something new, but seeing what other communities have done (related to giving) I knew the doors would open in Bolivar as long as someone was willing to do the work and we surrounded ourselves on the board with the right people...and we have!"
For a time, BACF board membership was down to 9, but 2 new members joined the board at the July 17th meeting bringing membership back to the original total. Wollard says it hasn't been difficult keeping membership at full capacity even though (as this reporter noted) the runs a rather tight ship. "I tell them when they come on board that they have to be workers, or they have to give money or go get it. They've got to give, get, or work. It's not a rest home".
Don Wollard says he's "sold on the Bolivar community and like to keep a heartbeat of the community, but when we named the organization we were sure to name it the Bolivar AREA Community Foundation". Wollard tells KSMU the BACF board wanted to insure all communities in Polk County would be eligible to receive funding from the BACF and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
When asked how and individual or organization could find information about the BACF and perhaps receiving grants or other funds, Wollard said "I keep grant applications at all times, it's sort of a questionnaire on how to apply for a grant. We'll also have information in the Bolivar paper".
AT 4:30 this afternoon when community service series continues, we'll meet others in Polk County who are Making a Difference including Dorothy Callaway Isdell, who establishes the Derald Isdell Memorial Fund to benefit the Polk County Fair Association.
Dorothy says "The least I can do is support my community, and I've always felt that way. M y parents taught me that giving time for others is more important that doing it for one self."
Making a Difference Where You Live, is made possible by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. For More information, cfozarks.org. For KSMU, I'm Mike Smith.