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School Foundation Building

The Rural School and Community Trust’s Center for Midwestern Initiatives recognizes the vital role a thriving school foundation can play in the life of a rural community.  In partnership with a community foundation or as a stand-alone institution, school foundations provide much needed funding support, engage community members and relocated alumni with the school, and promote meaningful partnerships.

Alton, Missouri's School Foundation: Accomplishments and Goals

Alton, Missouri, a small town in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, is not famous for many things besides the beautiful views and the access points to the Eleven Point River. Despite the vast amount of history the town has a claim to, not many people have heard of or ever been to Alton, but this community is one of the many communities in Missouri dedicated to bettering the lives of the children and residents.

alton school_found_photoIn Alton, one of the groups of people who are working to make everyone’s lives a little better are the members of the Alton School Foundation. The members of the foundation are Windell Williams, Wylma Heiskell, Brenda Ledgerwood, Sharon Alexander, Amy White, Gayle Arasmith, Bob Clary, Paula Millers, and Chad Sisco. They work together to provide the students and teachers of Alton with the supplies they feel are necessary to be successful. Although the school provides most of the necessities, it is the goal of the Alton Foundation to provide them with the supplies they need that are not always provided by the school.

The Alton Foundation was formed six years ago, and, since then, they have worked hard to help the teachers and students in the area. Every year they try to complete one major project that will help the school.

Read more: Alton, Missouri's School Foundation: Accomplishments and Goals

Supporters Form Valley Springs Foundation

Eleven people have come together to form the Valley Springs Foundation, whose purpose is to provide financial resources and support to enrich and enhance the quality of education for all Valley Springs School students and enrich the quality of life in the Valley Springs community.

On Tuesday evening, April 24, the group met to officially constitute themselves as a board, approve bylaws, elect officers, set dates for future meetings, appoint members to a Fund Development Committee and a Communications Committee, and approve the signing of a fund document for Community Foundation of the Ozarks of Springfield, MO, to house and invest the funds generated by the newly formed foundation. The collaboration with Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) is enabled by the relationship between Rural Community Alliance and its Valley Springs chapter, the Rural School and Community Trust, and CFO.

Board members of the Valley Springs Foundation are Rodney Arnold, Betsy Cash, Karena DeYoung, Lavina Grandon, Sarah Hough, Rachel Norton, Wes Phifer, Sarita Sisco, Janet Thomason, Judy White, and Faye Yarbrough. Ex Officio members are Charles and Sandra Trammell.

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Arkansas Advocates Discuss Foundation Building

Arkansas Workshop_Sign_smallerImagine losing your town’s school when board members from the larger community in your consolidated school district simply decide through nefarious majority vote to close it.  Then consider the same school board won’t allow your town to use the building for a preschool or community center, due to the larger town’s fear that you and other local parents may rally and apply for Charter School status.  Sound like the plot of a Hollywood backwoods, mystery thriller—replete with villains, a forbidden inter-village love interest, broken hearts, and an ultimate hero?  No.  Welcome to rural Arkansas, where the state’s school consolidation policy forces small school districts with declining enrollments to bargain with the Devil in hopes of keeping community schools open, with the all-too-often dim hope of preventing young children from spending hours on a bus.  It is hard to say what former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who drove the consolidation issue, hoped to accomplish, but questions along that line will have to be referred to Fox News.  Anyway, castigating former governors and Presidential wannabes accomplishes little.

Instead, small towns in Arkansas are rolling up their sleeves and devising thoughtful strategies for survival and community improvement.  Small rural places need to develop social and economic capital through the development of a sturdy three-legged stool:  building strong schools, rethinking community and economic development, and devising strategies to maximize philanthropic support.  Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance (RCA) is committed to these three goals, and their recent workshop in Alpena on school and community foundation building served to further their work.

Read more: Arkansas Advocates Discuss Foundation Building