Community Foundation Gives $190,000 in Grants to 23 Groups

Pregnant women will receive prenatal vitamins, foster children will get new clothes, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters will be able to mentor at-risk-youth – all because of the latest round of grants from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Twenty-three nonprofit organizations were given nearly $190,000 Monday in the fall round of grants aimed at health and human services. The grants responded to recent reports – “Community Focus: A Report forSpringfieldandGreeneCounty,” released in September, and the “Community Health Report Card,” released in April. So far this year, Crosslines has given out 215 bottles of prenatal vitamins for pregnant and nursing women, and 1,010 bottles of vitamins for children ages 2-12.

“Numerous studies have shown that pregnant women have greater need for many vitamins and minerals, and some are difficult to get from foods alone…” said Shannon Crosby, a registered dietitian with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s Woman Infant and Children program, which refers pregnant women to the Crosslines program.

Children benefit from a daily vitamin because daily diets seldom provide all the nutrition necessary, said Dr. Jason Bergman, a resident at Cox Family Practice. But there is an even bigger benefit. “(It) engages the parents with the child’s health,” he said. Those outcomes not only meet the goals of Crosslines, a ministry of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks, they meet the goals of the Community Foundation’s grant awards.  “Hardworking agencies like Crosslines meet the needs that are identified in the Community Report Card,” said Randy Russell, the Community Foundation’s director of programs. “And this is one of the best examples that we have of how those things can be brought together.”

Crosslines had lost most if its financial support for the program, and the grant will get the group through the year, Crosslines director Pam Copling said.  The agency is still looking for continued support.

“When you have no fee for service at all, you just say a prayer and hope it will come in,’ said Copling. “You just have faith.”

            Fall grants ranged from $549 up to $30,000. The Community Foundation accepts grant applications three times a year. The Foundation is a collection of nearly 625 charitable funds with assets of $71 million. Last year the foundation awarded over $4.7 million in grants and distributions.

For more information, call the Community Foundation of the Ozarks at 864-6199.

-By Linda Leicht – Springfield News Leader - November 2, 2004

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