An announcement recently at Houston City Hall highlighted the creation of the largest endowment ever created locally. The Houston Community Foundation said the John and Naomi Montgomery Scholarship Fund is expected to provide about 4,000 annually in scholarships to Houston High School students. The foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. From left: Ron Reed, president, Houston Community Foundation; Brian Fogle, CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks; Dick Steckler, Edward Jones, Houston, who facilitated the Montgomery family in creation of the fund; Ross Richardson, member of the Houston Education Foundation and Houston Community Foundation; Joe Kammerer, central regional manager of Community Foundation of the Ozarks; and Joe Richardson, president of Houston Education Foundation. 

A $600,000 endowment, the biggest ever to benefit education locally, will provide new scholarship opportunities for Houston students.

The new John and Naomi Montgomery Scholarship is expected to begin accepting applications when Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ annual scholarship process opens in February. It is anticipated the scholarship will be open to Houston High School graduates pursuing technical or higher education and will be made on a renewable basis. The full details for the scholarship fund are being established.

The endowment from the late Houston couple will nearly double the current assets of the local foundation, which holds about $630,000 in 30 charitable funds.

“This is a very special and historic day for the Houston Community Foundation,” said Ron Reed, board chair for HCF. “This donation establishing the John and Naomi Montgomery Scholarship Fund will impact the students of Houston High School at a level that, to date, has never been achievable. Our gratitude to the family goes much deeper than just words can express.”

CFO scholarship funds are endowed, meaning the corpus of the fund remains intact while a certain percentage is available each year to distribute in scholarships. With investment growth, the fund could eventually support additional scholarships in years to come.

It is anticipated about $24,000 in scholarships will be available during the first distribution.

“The decision the family has made in leaving a legacy to Houston is the first of what will be hopefully many more in the future,” Reed said. “It’s important to note also that this gift is unending and will continue to grow forever.”

The scholarship fund was established by the couple’s niece, Pondalea Titterton, who worked with Susan Steckler at Edward Jones in Houston to fulfill the charitable bequest.

John Montgomery died in 2005 at age 84 and Naomi Montgomery died in 2017. She was 92.  They lived at Houston and Solo. A World War II veteran, he served in the Philippines from 1942 to 1945, when he returned to the Ozarks and worked as a carpenter. He and Naomi married in 1948 and did not have children. He constructed many homes in the Houston area.

Naomi Montgomery worked at Fort Leonard Wood for a brief period after graduating from Houston High School, but spent most of her career as a secretary/bookkeeper. The couple enjoyed gardening and Naomi was an avid quilter, sewer and baker.

“This example of generosity can be transformational for a community and students who want to pursue advanced education,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “We are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery for having the foresight to benefit generations of students to come.”

Fogle joining the local foundation in announcing the donation at Houston City Hall.

The CFO holds about 400 named scholarship funds that awarded about $1.5 million to some 1,000 students this year. The application period opens in February each year. For more information, visit:

The Houston Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, was established in 2006 with a renewed commitment last year to better impact lives in Houston. It is one of 49 affiliate foundations that serve the central and southern Missouri region. The board members are: Ron Reed, president; Ross Richardson, vice president; Kayla Sloan, secretary; Rob Harrington, treasurer; Omanez Fockler, Brad Gentry, Kristin Hart, Cynthia Ramsey, Jarid Scheets, Heather Sponsler and Parke Stevens Jr.

The HCF holds more than $630,000 in assets as of June 30, 2019. Since its founding, HCF has distributed nearly $350,000 back to the community. For more information, visit:



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