Rural Schools Partnership Community Foundation of the Ozarks February 24, 2009 Slide 2 The Importance of Rural Schools: Public schools play a critical role in the well- being of small, rural communities. They provide a focal point of activity, a sense of civic pride, and a reason for families to stay in place. Schools are the glue that binds community; they provide a sense of purpose. Slide 3 Our Ozarks Region: The Community Foundation of the Ozarks 50- county service area is firmly grounded in the hills of the Missouri Ozarks, a unique cultural and geographical region. Predominantly rural, a significant portion of the Missouri Ozarks is designated by the United States Department of Agriculture as an area of persistent poverty. In fact, the Foundation currently works in nine of Missouris ten poorest counties, including Shannon County, annually listed as one of the poorest counties in the nation. Slide 4 Recognizing the overarching importance of schools to rural development, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks board of directors is launching the Rural Schools Partnership, a holistic program to strengthen small school districts. CFO Response: Slide 5 The proposed Rural Schools Partnership embraces three consensus-based strategies for strengthening rural schools: Develop alternative resources Build collaborations and partnerships Introduce place-based education strategies Slide 6 Program features: Resource Development Developing school foundations & charitable resources Technical support Administrative support Fund management Legal counsel Board development and donor education Planned giving programs Develop and manage scholarship programs Offering an endowment building challenge grant program Slide 7 Program Features: Collaborations and Partnerships Providing rural schools-oriented professional development support for teachers and administrators through the Rural School and Community Trusts Rural Schools Innovation Network Building meaningful relationships with local community foundations Slide 8 Program Features: Placed-Based Education Providing $150,000 per year in grantmaking support for cooperative ventures that enhance teaching and learning AND innovative place-based education programs Facilitating arts in the schools through the existing Greater Ozarks Arts Tour (GOAT) and Ozark Plateau Initiative programs. Encouraging and supporting the establishment of youth philanthropy/leadership programs in rural communities Offering conservation education/FFA projects grants in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Conservation Slide 9 Next Steps: 2009 Affiliate Conference Thursday, April 16 th, 10:00 2:00, Mansfield Community Center School and school foundation leaders meet Friday, April 17 th, 10:00 2:00, CFO offices CFO regional committee meets in spring to consider rural schools initiative proposal CFO board of directors act upon proposal in May 2009 meeting. Potential Launch on August 1, 2009. Slide 10 Your Input Questions? Comments? Suggestions?