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School Foundation Resource Initiative Launched

Education is the lifeblood of small communities, and rural citizens must do all they can to support their schools, teachers, and students.  Establishing an active and effective school foundation is an important step in ensuring rural school sustainability.  To this end, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural School Partnership and The Rural School and Community Trust’s Center for Midwestern Initiatives have collaborated on the development of a comprehensive rural school foundation toolkit.

The toolkit has three primary features:

  1. The film "Hats, Pies, and Fiddles" explores how three small-town school foundations engage students, teachers, and donors in creating a culture of school-centered philanthropy.  This ten-minute film was shot by Missouri filmmaker Brandon Goodwin and highlights efforts in Alton and Reeds Spring, Missouri, and Fox (Rural Special School), Arkansas. DVDs are available, and the film is featured online.

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    Missouri filmmaker Brandon Goodwin shoots Fox, Arkansas native Edsel Broyles for the film, "Hats, Pies, and Fiddles." Photo by Renee Carr.
  2. A booklet, Building Rural School Foundations: A blueprint for stronger rural communities, has been published and is available online and in print.  Produced by Missouri graphic artist and photographer Aaron Scott, the booklet provides action steps for establishing a rural school foundation as well as a donors’ guide on how to make charitable contributions.  In addition, school foundation success stories showcase the Ozarks’ communities of Conway, Bradleyville, Chadwick, and Hartville, along with Wessington Springs, South Dakota.
  3. A School Foundation Building website has been constructed in conjunction with the Center for Midwestern Initiatives.  The site includes the aforementioned film and booklet, and it provides current examples and stories of the good and important work being done by school foundations from throughout the Midwest.  The site’s blog provides readers with an opportunity to share their personal stories and submit materials to the site.

These efforts have been made possible by funding from the Philanthropy Initiative, a capacity building grant program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. 

For more information on how to initiate a school foundation conversation or on obtaining copies of these materials for presentations, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 417-848-9083.  In the Missouri Ozarks, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Julie Leeth at 417-864-6199.