Thank you for your interest in the Rural Schools Partnership’s grantmaking programs designed to enhance and sustain schools and communities across southern Missouri.

Please review the opportunities listed below to decide which grant program best fits your school’s goals, needs or specific project ideas.

The following information applies to all of the grant categories.

Grantees are reminded that final grant progress reports are required as a condition of the grant award. If a final report has not been submitted by the dates indicated with the grant awards, grantees will be eligible for up to two extensions based on circumstances. If the final report is not submitted by the extension deadline, the CFO will request the return of the total grant monies.

For more information or questions, please e-mail Julie Leeth, Rural Schools Coordinator, or call (417) 864-6199.

Successful grant recipients can access the form to file the required one-year progress report here:

Grant Progress Report (file online)

Grant Progress Report (Word doc)

Grant Opportunities

Placeworks Arts Outreach

Bring place-based, cross-curricular learning to your school with the new Placeworks program. Springfield artist Kate Baird, a former teaching artist at the Guggenheim Museum, or one of her crew of professional teaching artists will come to your classroom to blend visual arts training with other elements of your curriculum–math, science, social studies, language arts for multi-session programs. This program is free, and requires only time and space for the learning to happen… and to show of the kids’ art! Contact Julie Leeth with questions (417-864-6199). Read our brochure to learn more.

Deadline for Fall 2014 classroom visits is Aug. 23, 2014. Deadline for Spring 2015 classroom visits is Dec. 12, 2014.

Apply online at

Youth Philanthropy

CFO’s Philanthropy Initiative will provide start up grants to support the establishment of youth philanthropy/leadership programs in rural communities. This is an excellent way for a school to become a partner in the Rural Schools Partnership. For more information or questions, please contact Bridget Dierks, Program Director, or call (417) 864-6199.  This opportunity is available at any time.

The Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Place-Based Education Grantmaking Program of Commerce Trust

The Coover grantmaking program will provide grants this year in support for cooperative ventures that enhance teaching and learning through place-based education programs.

The grants are intended to foster the basic tenets of place-based education.  Please view our short video that explains the nature of the Coover grantmaking program.

Coover Grantmaking Program Primer from CB on Vimeo.

The Rural Schools Partnership encourages proposals that include local matches or other leveraged resources.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to qualified applicants.

Applicants who receive funding will be required to attend the 2015 Rural Schools Rendezvous on April 23, 2015 in Reeds Spring High School.

The deadline for the 2014-15 cycle of Coover Place-Based Education grants has passed. Look for information on 2016 Coover Place-Based grant later this year.

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Student Conservation Grants

Up to $10,000  is available for student-led conservation projects. The Student Conservation grants are funded through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural Schools Conservation Fund and the Rural Schools Conservation Fund. All grants will be awarded through Youth Empowerment Project chapters. Please speak with your district’s YEP sponsor, or call Bridget Dierks at (417) 864-6199, for more information.

The deadline for this opportunity has passed. Look for information on the 2015 conservation grants later this year.

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Ozarks Teacher Corps Program

Recruiting, preparing, and retaining outstanding teachers for rural communities

The Ozarks Teacher Corps will develop a cadre of talented teaching candidates who will explore rural education issues, serve as teacher interns in small schools, and commit to teaching in their respective home communities for at least three years.  The overarching purpose of the Ozarks Teacher Corps is to encourage extremely capable and passionate young people to become educators and return to their rural hometowns as teacher-leaders.  This program is made possible by the Chesley and Flora Lea Wallis Trust, a $1.7 million Community Foundation of the Ozarks charitable fund.

The program has been launched in 2010, with a cadre of 16 teaching candidates—8 juniors and 8 seniors.  A minimum of 8 new participants will be added each spring. Over time, the Ozarks Teacher Corps will develop a growing network of educator-activists who recognize the importance of rural education to a sustainable American society.  We also believe that this effort has outstanding potential to attract and leverage additional funders.

The Ozarks Teacher Corps will include the following procedural steps:

  • Sophomore-level teaching candidates at MSU, MSU-West Plains, OTC, Drury, or Evangel.
  • Applicants must be from a rural community in southwest Missouri. Applications are due March 8, 2013.
  • Applicants will fill out an application, write an essay on the value of rural schools, be recommended by their respective teacher education unit head, and obtain an endorsement/commitment from their hometown school’s superintendent.  The endorsement from the school superintendent will be a “good faith” commitment to hire the applicant upon graduation if an appropriate teaching position is available in the hometown district.

By applying, applicants agree to:

  • Attend selected seminars on rural education issues;
  • Graduate and become certified within a two-year period;
  • Serve as a teacher-intern in a small, rural school (preferably their hometown);
  • Take advantage of a provided membership with the national Rural School and Community Trust’s Rural School Innovation Network;
  • Attend the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ annual Rural Schools Partnership “Place-Based Education Conference”, which will be held in Spring 2013 in Thomasville, MO;
  • Agree to return to their hometown as a teacher for a minimum of three years.  If no appropriate position is available, recipients may fulfill their requirement by teaching in another rural Missouri Ozarks’ community.

Upon selection, participants will receive a $4,000 per year scholarship for their junior and senior years.  If recipients do not complete their teaching certification or program or honor their commitment to teach in their hometown (or other rural school), the scholarship will be revoked.

For more information on this program, and to find a link to apply online, click here.