The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded $20,000 to the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association to support kids in foster care in a 10-county region of central Missouri.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded $20,000 to the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association to support kids in foster care in a 10-county region of central Missouri. The program helps kids who are in foster care in Camden, Cole, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Phelps and Pulaski counties.

The grant was one of 13 Rural Vitality Grants totaling nearly $250,000 presented via Zoom on Aug. 6 to nonprofit organizations in central and southern Missouri. Each agency was selected because it supports health, education and economic self-sufficiency in rural communities in the CFO’s service area of central and southern Missouri. This area is served by several of the CFO’s 50 regional affiliate foundations - the Eldon Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Lake, the Meramec Regional Community Foundation and the St. James Area Community Foundation. CEO DeAnna Alonso said that while the decrease in hotline calls during the pandemic might seem like good news, child advocates fear that it relates more to the fact that kids are isolated from people who may flag situations, like educators.

“Our Family Resource Center has been trying to get out to the counties,” she said.

Community Engagement Specialist Eryn Pruitt said the Center can help with needs like a bed, backpack, or hygiene items that might help relatives take care of a child instead of entering the foster care system.

The Rural Vitality Grants are a companion program to the CFO’s Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program to support rural initiatives in partnership with The Commerce Trust Company. This is the second round of Rural Vitality Grants funded by an anonymous donor with a mission for supporting young people in communities with median incomes of 200 percent or less of the poverty rate.

“Grantmaking for rural communities continues to be a significant challenge and we are so grateful to this foundation for its willingness to let the CFO shepherd its resources using our experience working in rural Missouri and our network of 50 affiliate foundations,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. As a place-based regional charitable foundation, the CFO’s leadership work includes developing and administering grant opportunities for external funders and donors interested in fulfilling their missions in areas such as supporting rural communities. The CFO has a network of 50 affiliate foundations that are well positioned to understand local needs and priorities.