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

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.

The 2018–2019 grant round placed-based education projects opens Nov. 15, 2018, and ends March 8, 2019. Click here for more information or to begin the application process.

Placeworks Arts Outreach

Looking for new ways to engage your students in learning? Apply for Placeworks! This program provides an art residency in your classroom and/or a field trip at no cost to your school. Our trained teaching artists use the visual arts, theater, music and dance to teach skills like critical thinking and problem solving along with your curriculum. Visit our website to see past projects and testimonials from participants:

Deadline for Fall 2018 project applications is Aug. 31. Teachers can apply for field trips throughout the year. Contact Kate Baird with questions at (417) 837-5700.



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.

Ozarks Teacher Corps

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 charitable fund held by the CFO.

The program has been launched in 2010, with a cadre of 16 teaching candidates—8 juniors and 8 seniors. Since its inception, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has developed 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.


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