News-Leader column focuses on Rural Schools Rendezvous in Fair Grove

This week’s Community Foundation of the Ozarks focuses on the the Rural Schools Partnership, an initiative of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks that seeks to build assets and endowments for rural districts, and promote the tenets of place-based education in classrooms across southern Missouri. On April 23, the pinnacle of the RSP’s year will happen in Fair Grove at the annual Rural Schools Rendezvous, which had previous been held in Thomasville, Mo. since 2010.

You can read the column, authored by Matt Lemmon, CFO’s Communications Specialist, here.

The CFO’s column runs weekly in rotation with other organizations on the News-Leader’s Community page, which is published daily. We appreciate this opportunity to share our work with News-Leader readers across the region.

Rural Schools Partnership profiled by the Council on Foundations

The Council on Foundations, the professional industry association for community and other types of foundations, selected the CFO’s Rural Schools Partnership program for one of 10 profiles to mark the 100th anniversary of the community foundation movement this year.

The profile is linked here: http://www.cof.org/blogs/re-philanthropy/2014-03-13/rallying-support-rural-schools.

The Rural Schools Partnership was founded in 2009 as a means to increase resources and assets in order to sustain rural education in the Ozarks, where schools are frequently the hub of community activities and involvement. Since then, the RSP has evolved into a number of program areas, including the Ozarks Teacher Corps scholarship program, the expansion of the Youth Empowerment Project to encourage young philanthropists, the Placeworks Art Outreach program and the development of school foundations across the region.

The nation’s first community foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914. Today, the CFO, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, is one of about 750 community foundations across the country. The CFO was ranked as the 65th largest in the most recent Columbus Survey.

Reeds Spring Education Foundation Earns $38,000 from Dixie Stampede

Reeds Spring Education Foundation Chair Terri Tucker-Wiest, Vice-Chair Amanda Rogers and Treasurer Jim Holt on Friday night were presented with a check for $38,000, proceeds of Reeds Spring Pack Night at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. The money will go into the foundation's scholarship and grantmaking fund.

Reeds Spring Education Foundation Chair Terri Tucker-Wiest, Vice-Chair Amanda Rogers and Treasurer Jim Holt were presented with a check for $38,000 on Friday night, proceeds of Reeds Spring Pack Night at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. The money will go into the foundation’s scholarship and grantmaking fund.

In what has become one of the Ozarks’ most successful fundraising partnerships, the Reeds Spring R-IV Education Foundation on Friday night received a check for $38,000 from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, proceeds of the foundation’s annual Reeds Spring Pack Night promotion.

The money will largely go to fund scholarships for 2014 graduates of Reeds Spring High School. Foundation Treasurer Jim Holt estimates that, over the first three years of the program, the foundation has awarded more than 60 scholarships. Many of these scholarships are matched by sponsors, including Dake-Wells Architets and Dixie Stampede, to create bigger awards.

This scholarship component plays into Dixie Stampede’s role in Pack Night. “It’s a large part of why we are able to have the event,” Holt said. “Dolly Parton is a strong supporter of education and giving kids the chance to pursue educational opportunities.”

This was the fourth year of the partnership between the Reeds Spring Education Foundation and Dixie Stampede, who in exchange for the foundation’s work selling tickets donates the night’s full proceeds, which have increased each year of the partnership. A guest speaker has become a part of the tradition as well. This year, former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi held a meet-and-greet prior to the show, and also shared some insight and anecdotes from his career with the Cardinals. He spoke about the persistence and team work required to make it as a college and then pro athlete, and shared some stories about the four-Hall of-Fame managers (Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa) he played for while with the Cardinals, and how their leadership shaped his career.