A local community organization hosted a meeting last week outlining estate planning and how to fund scholarships and grants that leave a lasting impact on Houston.

The Houston Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield — which is celebrating its 50th year — held the event at the First Baptist Church fellowship hall, where a meal was served. Sean Smith, a Houston attorney, outlined various documents related to estate planning, ranging from wills to beneficiary deeds to trusts. The latter are readily seen as the best tool for estate planning, and creation greatly helps survivors after the death of a loved one.

Alice Wingo

Alice Wingo, CFO vice president of affiliates, described how individuals can include Houston in their estate planning to benefit the community or even now by funding endowments that include opening up education scholarship opportunities and grants that benefit organizations in the community. Funds can be tailored to meet the requests of the donor. For example, one local grant helps elementary school teachers with supplies that otherwise wouldn’t be available in the classroom. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks offers a turn-key system that makes giving easy.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks began 50 years ago after community leaders learned that a sizable estate gift left Springfield because there wasn’t a place to accept it. Today, assets total more than $400 million. More than a half-billion dollars have been distributed to benefit the region.

Ross Richardson, president of the Houston Community Foundation, explained organizations locally have benefited from the generosity of others, and funds continue to be established to meet the requests of donors. Grantmaking and scholarships are among the highest profile roles foundations serve. The local foundation aids in distributing grants and scholarships that are made by donors who support them through their own funds. Through a single estate, a $5,000 renewable scholarship is presented annually to a Houston High School alumnus.

Funds are also tapped by the Houston Community Foundation that become available throughout the year from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. A recent one is a program that will provide children’s dental care.

Richardson said the Community Foundation of the Ozarks allows the local foundation to receive administrative support, investment options and educational opportunities. Members of the board are: Richardson, Jim McNiell, Dee Dee Dunn, Brad Gentry, David Keeney, David Adkison, Angie Quinlan, Parke Stevens Jr., Airka Barnett-Wiseman and Karen James. All are available to answer questions.

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