On Monday, Nov. 29, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks crossed the $500 million threshold for total grants and distributions since its founding in 1973. The milestone came a day before Giving Tuesday, a special event that celebrates philanthropy both globally and locally.
The half-billion-dollar figure represents countless competitive grants, grants from donor-advised funds, scholarships for students to pursue higher education, and distributions made to nonprofit partners from their funds held at the CFO to advance their important work. The CFO’s first grant was made in 1975 for $10,000 to help fund the petting zoo at Dickerson Park Zoo.
“As I reflect on our 48-year history and the impact that $500 million has had, it comes with a reverence of those who founded the CFO in 1973, of the volunteers and staff who came before us, and the nonprofit agencies who do the work on the ground of educating, caring for and enriching our region,” said Brian Fogle, president. “Most of all, however, it comes with a gratitude of the thousands of donors who cared enough to share their resources selflessly to make for a better world.”
According to the most recent Columbus Survey of community foundations in the U.S., the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is the 69th largest in assets but the ninth busiest in transaction volume. The rankings reflect the neighborly generosity of the Ozarks as charitable resources continuously flow from donors to nonprofit entities through the CFO. In the CFO’s 2021 fiscal year, 93.5% of grants and distributions stayed in Missouri, highlighting the power of place-based philanthropy.
Founded in 1973, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is the region’s largest public charitable foundation serving a network of donors, 53 regional affiliate foundations and nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri through with assets of $394 million as of June 30.
One of the regional affiliates is the Houston Community Foundation. Its president is Ross Richardson and its board meets monthly at the Lone Star Plaza Annex on Main Street. Cabool also has a foundation.